Femi Ogbonnikan reports on how operatives of the LagosÂ State Police Commandâ€™s Rapid Response Squad apprehended three suspected kidnappers who after collecting a N3 million ransom from theirÂ female victim in Ibadan, bolted away withÂ her SUV
With the complement of effective high-tech devices at their disposal,Â operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command recently arrested three suspected kidnappers who had their base in Ibadan, but were picked up in Lagos through the deployment of tracking devices, after collecting a N3 million ransom from their female victim.
THISDAY gathered that the three kidnappers, Adekunle Funsho (31), Charles Ezeilo (32) and Obioha NnajiÂ were apprehended at a hideout in Abule-Egba, Lagos, after kidnapping a lady in Ibadan, before collecting a N3 million ransom.
It was learnt that the kidnappers had, after collecting the ransom,Â fled to Lagos, in a bid to cover their track. It was further gatheredÂ that the police in Ibadan after discovering that the kidnappers were heading to Lagos with the victimâ€™s Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), had radioed Lagos forÂ assistance.
RRS operatives, upon receiving the radio signal, trailed the stolenÂ vehicle to Fela Shrine by Alausa, Ikeja, from where the allegedÂ suspects further moved the vehicle to a compound somewhere in Abule-Egba, an outskirt of Lagos.
An officer within the RRS Headquarters hinted that when the officers swung into action, they arrested a suspect afterÂ which they recovered the SUV, 2005 model with theÂ registration number LND 954 EE (Lagos) at their Abule-Egba hideout.
The arrest of the first suspect, it was said, led to the picking up ofÂ another suspect in Fela’s Shrine in Ikeja, while another suspectÂ simply identified as Theophilus is now on the run.
According to one of the suspects, Adekunle Funsho, a fashion designer who owns a shop in Felele Area of the ancient city of Ibadan, where itÂ was believed the kidnap took place, said Theophilus gave him theÂ vehicle to get a buyer for it.
â€œI hail from Ibadan, Oyo State capital. It began that Theophilus handed over the SUV to me in Ibadan, and asked me to look for aÂ buyer for it. Theophilus is my very good friend. We have been good friends for over five years now. Whenever he has vehicles in his possession to sell he usually contacts me and I get buyers for them. I suspect they are all stolen vehicles but greed lured me into it.Â So, I brought the SUV to Lagos because I know that I would get a buyer quickly for it. The instruction from him was that I should sell the SUV at a sum ofÂ N800, 000.
â€œI got a buyer in Ondo State. He had once bought a car fromÂ me. It was a fairly used, clean Toyota Corolla Saloon car. He bought itÂ at a sum of N550, 000. I took the car to him along the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, where he paid me before going away with the car. Usually, that is how we do. We meet at undisclosed locations to dispose of vehicles, in order to cover our tracks.Â
â€œCharles is my friend of over five years. We met at a Parish of TheÂ Redeemed Christian Church, located in Ogba,Â where I was a chorister. I gave him the SUV to help me keep in his warehouse shop, until when I could get a buyer for it. He took the SUV from me atÂ Fela Shrine to his house somewhere in Abule-Egba,” said the fashion designer.
Investigations by THISDAY revealed that, upon getting windÂ that the three suspects had escaped and were heading towards Lagos, itÂ was gathered that the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Adekunle Odude, hadÂ to call his Lagos State colleague, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, who had to callÂ the RRS Commander, Mr. Olatunji Disu, an Assistant Commissioner ofÂ Police (ACP), to deploy his officers and men, backed with the trackingÂ devices, to go after the fleeing suspects. True to type, it was gathered, luck ran out on the subjects, as they were all picked up at different locations in Lagos. The RRS tracking devices, it was said, trailed the SUV to Fela’s Shrine at Alausa, Ikeja, where a lone occupant, Charles, later identified to be one of the three subjects responsible for the kidnap of the lady was apprehended.
However, it was learnt that the matter, on the directives of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Owoseni, had been taken over by theÂ operatives attached to the Oyo State anti-kidnapping team forÂ further investigations. The transfer of the trio, it was said, was to answer for the crime where it was committed.Â
Preliminary investigations gathered from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) of the Oyo State Police Command, Iyanganku, Ibadan, showed that the three suspects have been responsible for various kidnap cases in the ancient city and its environs.Â