Contrary to earlier claims that the three abducted schoolgirls of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary (BMJS) were released without ransom, THISDAY yesterday gathered that N5.4million was actually paid.
This disclosure was made by the mastermind of the kidnap, 38-year-old Felix Silva, who was arrested and yesterday paraded by the Lagos State Police Command.
The gang had initially demanded N100million for the three girls, but later reduced the ransom to N20million and even later N5.6million.
Apparently, they later settled for N5.4million and were waiting to collect a balance of N200,000 before they were arrested by the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (SIRT).
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni the swung into action and had carried the girls from the bridge at Ikorodu where the kidnappers had dumped them six days later. And
The gang led by Silva and 37-year-old Emmanuel Arigidi, who has since been arrested, had abducted
three girls, Olusa Oluwatimilehin, Popo-Olaniyan Tofunmi and Akinayo Deborah, on March 3, 2016.
Although some of his gang members have been arrested months ago, Silva still remained elusive until he was finally nabbed after he engineered the kinship of a Chinese expatriate in Ajah.
In his confessional statement, the suspect said they got the sum of N5.4 m as ransom for the release of the girls.
He said, “They promised to pay N5.6m but eventually paid N5.4m. We were expecting them to pay the balance of N200,000 but they didn’t. I got N300,000 as my own share of the money
“The first attempt we made. The girl we got escaped from us so we left. But we were successful the second time. We bore a hole through one of the school fence. We went back the same way we came.
“When they did not see me, the police arrested my wife, my two kids, my father and mother. I ran away when the heat became so hot.”
On the arrest of the mastermind behind the kidnap of the three schoolgirls, Owoseni said the suspect is the leader of an armed-robbery-cum-kidnapping syndicate.
He said the Edo State indigene headed the armed robbery and kidnapping operations in Ikorodu, Epe and Ogun State and Ibafo axis until he was arrested last week.
He said, “This man was also responsible for the kidnap of the rescued Chinese man within the Ajah axis three weeks ago.
“I can assure you that he will be arraigned before a court of Law. The command will not rest on its oars; it will continue to utilise every strategy to fight criminality in the state.”