We are fake herbalists, not kidnappers —Suspects caught in hideout with victim

TWO suspected kidnappers, Idowu Mufutau and Wale Ige, who were paraded by the Ogun State Police Command last weekend, have denied being kidnappers, saying that were only fake herbalists luring victims through the internet.

The Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Mr Ahmed Ilyasu, had said that the two suspects were nabbed in their hideout at Ijebu Igbo in Ogun State, by operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) in Ogun State Police Command, while a victim was rescued.

Speaking on the suspects’ arrest at a press briefing held at the command headquarters at Eleweran, Abeokuta, last Friday, the commissioner stated that the FSARS team attached to Ijebu Ode received information on August 31 at about 10:00a.m about an existing kidnappers’ den.

Acting on the information, Ilyasu said his men stormed the hideout where two suspects were arrested. He added that a victim, one Mr Anoma Banji, was rescued by the police.

Reiterating the command’s determination to make the state safe by providing adequate security for lives and property, Ilyasu warned that he would not tolerate any act of hooliganism or crime that would jeopardise peace in Ogun State.

But the suspects, in an interview with Crime Reports, denied being kidnappers, saying that the victim came to them to get charms to obtain money from his church members.

Narrating how he became a victim to the suspects, Mr Banji said that all he could recall was the phone conversation he had with someone who he later knew to be an agent of the syndicate.

According to him, “someone sent me a message on Eskimi, saying ‘hi.’ Then he sent a friend request to me, followed by a phone number which he said I should call.

“Curious to know the identity of the person, I called the number and the voice at the other end said I should come to Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State. They said they have solutions to human’s problems, though I never told them I had one.

“From that moment, I lost reasoning. I left Ibadan in Oyo State where I reside for Ijebu Igbo without telling my wife. They gave me directions and I was picked with an okada. They took me to a secluded place. They asked me to remove my dress and took me to a room which was dark.

“About a minute after I entered, I started hearing gunshots and began to shiver, wondering what I was doing in a strange place. After some minutes, the police opened the door and saw me naked. They asked me to put on my shorts. That is all I know.

“I am surprised that the man is saying I wanted to do juju. I am not a pastor, not to talk of having a church. The police can investigate this. I believe they are trying to make up stories to exonerate themselves. I suspect that they wanted to use me for ritual. I never knew them before.”

One of the suspects, Mufutau (30), who said he is an indigene of Ijebu Igbo, confessed to being a fake herbalist. “I am a fraudster who acts as an assistant to one of us, Ige, who acts as an elderly herbalist. I was the one who usually prepared ‘concoction’ for our clients/victims.

“One Dekunle, who works as a ‘catcher’, uses Eskimi to get victims and it was through it that we got the victim that landed us in police net. The man came for charms that he would be using in his church. He brought a bottle of schnapps and a loaf of bread,” he told Crime Reports, adding that he and other members formed the syndicate about three months ago.

The second suspect, Ige, also confessed that he was the one acting as herbalist in the syndicate. “The victim said he has a big church where there are many big men. He said he wanted a charm called Olugbohun which he could use to get money from members without them asking questions. We collected N5,000, a bottle of schnapps and a loaf of bread from him. We were still on it when the police came to arrest us,” Ige said.

The Commissioner of Police said that they would be arraigned in court after the completion of investigations.