IG deploys special intelligence response team Kidnappers make contact, demand ransom Ambode orders prompt arrest of culprits
Barely five months after four landlords and a gym instructor were kidnapped at Isheri Estate at Opic area of Lagos State, a repeat incident occurred in the wee hours of yesterday.
A 20-man heavily armed gang had stormed Road 18, off Olusegun Tawoju Avenue, at Isheri North Estate, GRA, Lagos and abducted the secretary of the estate, one Dr. Dayo Adekoya.
The incident, which happened at about 1a.m., saw the family and neighbours not just traumatised, but also left three persons dead and two others injured.
While the two injured persons have since been taken to the hospital, THISDAY gathered that the kidnappers have established contact and are demanding for an undisclosed sum as ransom.
When THISDAY visited the residence, it was gathered that the gang had scaled the perimeter fence with a ladder and when they gained access into the compound, first destabilised the security guard.
However, attempts to gain access into the house initially proved abortive as the man had installed bulletproof doors.
When attempts to shoot the door down failed, the kidnappers went round the house and broke the windows to gain access.
The kidnappers then went upstairs to the bedroom and kidnapped Adekoya.
It was after kidnapping him that they attempted to abduct some other landlords in the area but were rebuffed by the police and local vigilante from the O’dua People’s Congress (OPC).
According to reports, they had taken Adekoya to knock on the doors of other landlords, in an attempt to use him as a decoy to lure them out, but the landlords who had heard the shots refused to open.
It was at that point that the police operatives stormed the estate and engaged the kidnappers, who had accessed the community through the swampy canal behind the street, in a gun duel that lasted for about four hours.
However, despite police presence, the kidnappers succeeded in dragging Adekoya towards the creeks and made away with him in their dug out boats.
But the police who had no swamp buggies but patrol vehicles, watched helplessly as the kidnappers fled with their victim.
Meanwhile, during the gunfire, two of the local security vigilante were gunned down and also a carpenter, popularly addressed as Ibadan.
At the scene of the incident, expended pellets were scattered around, just as the windows of the house was shattered by the bullets.
On ground were the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Fatai Owoseni; the Commander 9 Brigade Brigadier General Elias Attu and the Commander, Rapid Response Squad, ACP Olatunji Disu, as well as the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team.
Some of the residents of the estate who spoke with THISDAYon account of anonymity, called on the Nigerian Navy and Marine Police, to partner the state Inland Water Authority to establish an operation solely on inland water security.
Also, Owoseni who had earlier confirmed the story for THISDAY early in the morning, said it was the combative efforts of the police that repelled the gang and prevented them from kidnapping more persons.
He said: “The militants came in through the swampy canal. The timely arrival of the police prevented them from getting more victims because they were using Adekoya to go to people’s houses.
“But that was the time we came in and we prevented them. They ran towards the swamp and as they were running, they were firing and the bullets hit some of the local guards.”.
Already, the operatives of the 9 Brigade have deployed drones to the creeks to comb the area in search of possible clues.
The Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, has deployed his Special Intelligence Team (IRT), led by ACP Abba Kyari to Lagos to assist in investigation.
However, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode directed the state police command to ensure prompt arrest of kidnappers.
A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said Ambode has already directed the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, to move decisively and promptly to arrest the kidnappers.
Ambode, according to the statement, specifically commiserated with the families of the security guards that lost their lives to the unfortunate incident, and assured that government is on top of the situation and working with security agencies to ensure early release of the victim.
Ayorinde said: “A while ago, the CP of Lagos Command of the Nigerian Police, confirmed that police has commenced investigation as well as put in place necessary rescue operation to ensure the release of the victim.
“While the state government commiserates with the families of the three dead estate security guards, it will leave no stone unturned to ensure that lives and property of residents in the state are protected.”
Last week, Ambode had demonstrated his seriousness and determination to eradicate the menace of kidnapping when he signed into law the anti-kidnapping bill recently passed by the state House of Assembly.
The law imposes a penalty of life imprisonment on kidnapping for ransom and death penalty in the event of death of a kidnapped victim.