Kidnappers in Lagos Devise New Ways to Abduct Victims, Including Approaching Them in Police Uniforms
ON Saturday, September 21 when Mrs Adebusola Odunaya stepped out of her house, it was with the hope of getting to Idumota where she had intended to purchase a stock of noodles and some other items for her business. But little did she know that the journey that usually takes her a few hours would turn to six days of anguish in an unknown destination in the jungle, along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Thank God she survived to narrate her story.
Mrs Odunaya, Women leader of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Cornerstone Parish, Lagos, recounted how her journey began on that day. According to her, when she got to Ishaga area, there was no vehicle going to Idumota, so she decided to go to Agege, and still there was no vehicle going to Idumota directly. She had to board a Molue bus going to Oshodi where she had expected to get a direct bus to her destination. As fate would have it, a smaller danfo bus conductor began calling Idumota, which made her quickly alight from the Molue, thinking that her journey would be faster with the direct bus.
She however recalled that they were only three women in the bus, including the driver when she boarded. As soon as she joined them, the women asked the driver to move so that they can carry other passengers along. And as they were expecting the driver to move, the conductor came along and touched her with a handkerchief and she passed out instantly, just to wake up later in a bush along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. She discovered that her hair been shaven and has also been dispossessed of the N500,000 she intended to use for the purchase of goods in Idumota.
If Odunaya’s story was harrowing and shocking, Alhaji Alaka Kamaldeen’s story could pass for a typical blockbuster Nollywood horror movie. According to the 46-year-old contractor, based in Ikorodu, Lagos, he was standing in front of his office on August 24, when an Audi car with four passengers suddenly pulled close to him, armed with guns. And without saying a word they pounced on him, slapped him repeatedly before dragging him into the car.
According to him, one of the men wore a bulletproof vest in the manner of the police, which initially made him to think that they were security operatives. It wasn’t until they got to Itokin junction that he began to suspect that something was fishy. Instead of heading to the police station, they veered off the road into the bush. It then dawned on him that he had been kidnapped. He began to scream as they were approaching the seaside, and as the car tried to speed by, it sank into the sand, making it difficult for them to move. Kamaldeen began to scream for help as people began to gather, but instead of that scaring the abductors away; they began to shoot sporadically into the air to disperse the crowd. They came down and pushed the car and drove close to a creek and began calling a contact for a boat. As they waited for the boat, Kamaldeen’s captors descendend on him before dousing him with fuel, and they threatened to lynch him. Not long afterward a speedboat arrived, even as the abductors removed the plate number of the car.
According to Kamaldeen, there were about ten 100-litre jerry cans, possibly containing fuel for the eight hours journey that would take them to Warri, Delta State. He, recounted in full details, how he was kidnapped since he was not blindfolded. He told the press how at intervals, they encountered what looked like checkpoints manned by other kidnappers in the creeks. At each of these checkpoints, he noted that the kidnappers would be asked to identify themselves and the captors would raise their hands in response.
While narrating his ordeal Kamaldeen gave a vivid description of the camp. He said the camp was surrounded by many huts, with many people held hostage. In his words “I was brought before the head of the kidnappers, who was dressed in a suit, He was unimpressed when he discovered that I was neither a captain of industry nor a politician but just an ordinary citizen. I was then taken to a section of the camp suitable for my station in life and passed the night on a bed made of logs and wood”, he said.
Kamaldeen, whose family was contacted and asked to pay the ransom of N150million, was later released upon parting with N5million amidst pleas with the kidnappers.
Meanwhile, the police recently smashed a kidnap syndicate of eight, which include a woman believed to be responsible for the death of a businessman, Mr. Odidi Nweze in FESTAC. The commissioner of Police, Mr. Manko however said that the modus operandi of the syndicate was to kidnap their victims and take them to FESTAC. He however expressed his concern over the number of victims who had been taken to FESTAC.
According to him, kidnapping that had been recorded in the recent times had their victims drugged and taken to FESTAC. Their kingpin, Kelvin Emenike, who was lured to Lagos by the Police in the pretence of having a business proposal for him, was the first to be arrested.
Emenike gave vivid details of how they operate, stating that they usually go on motorcycles and trail people in flashy cars and attack them. After kidnapping them, they would call the family for ransom.
Kidnapping is no longer news in Nigeria, but because of its commercial disposition in Nigeria, Lagos needs to be protected. Both the federal and the state governments need to join hands to fight this criminality, which is becoming viral, Niyi Adebisi, a legal practitioner noted.