BUT for the eagle-eyed policemen from Sanyo Division in Oyo State Police Command, a Lebanese with a company in Ibadan, the state capital, would have become a victim of kidnappers and, at best, coughed up some money as ransom.
This disclosure was made by the state Commissioner of Police, Sam Adegbuyi, on September 6 while briefing journalists on the arrest of four suspected kidnappers, three of whom came from Benin, Edo State, to carry out kidnapping. He gave the names of the suspects as Sunday Udoh, Ogiemudia Ehosa, Paul Osarenkhoe and Yakubu Jimoh.
The police commissioner said that the policemen were on a stop-and-search duty on August 29 when they discovered guns with three of the suspects. On interrogation, the suspects reportedly confessed that they were on their way to kidnap a victim at Jericho area of Ibadan. He added that further investigation by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad led to the arrest of the fourth suspect.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects included a locally made pistol, a locally-made cut-to-size single barrel gun, 20 live cartridges, a camera and a bag containing criminal charms.
Speaking with Crime Reports, Sunday, on whose instance others came to Ibadan, said: “I was working for a Lebanese company as a welder in Ibadan and was being paid N18,000 monthly. But I lost the job after I was dismissed over allegation of stealing money which I knew nothing about. I became jobless so I started thinking of what I could do. I left for Benin, Edo State and started working as a casual worker with a road construction company. That was where I knew Ehosa.
“I explained my predicament to him and he promised to help me. We lost touch when I returned to Ibadan after the construction work dropped. But Ehosa called me about two months ago, saying that he was still interested in helping me out on the story I told him.
“He said I should look for my boss for us to kidnap him. When he arrived in Ibadan, I joined him and his friends who came with him. I was taking them to a beer parlour where we could relax when we were stopped by the police. It was during a search on us that they found a gun with one of Ehosa’s friends.”
Ehosa also told Crime Reports: “I knew Sunday in Benin. He told me about his experience in the hands of his boss, so I suggested that we should pick the man and make him pay the money he was owing him. I told another friend, Lucky and he agreed to join us, saying we should kidnap Sunday’s boss so that we would collect the money he was owing our friend.
“He said Sunday would give us from the ransom that we would collect so that we would use it to start our own businesses. He was the one who brought the gun found with us. I had been involved in kidnapping with Lucky before in Benin. I was given N100,000 as my share.”
On his part, Osarenkhoe denied knowing about the kidnap plan, saying “I was only in Ibadan to see Sunday. I knew him long ago in Benin. He was owing me N30,000 so I came to collect the money.”
Jimoh from Idi Iroko, Ogun State, also claimed he was on a business trip. According to him, “Lucky is my customer who used to buy rice from me. He was owing me N2.7 million. When I called him, he asked me to come to Benin but when I got there, he said he had yet to put the money together, asking me to follow him to Ibadan where he would get it from his brother.
“As we were going to his brother’s house, police stopped us and when they searched the bag Lucky gave Ehosa, they saw a gun in it. Lucky evaded arrest because he rode on a bike when the tricycle conveying us could only accommodate three of us.”
The police commissioner said that efforts were being made to arrest the fleeing suspect while those in police custody would be arraigned in court after the completion of investigations.