By Ifeanyi Okolie
A notorious KidnappingÂ Segun Akinsola (24)Â met his waterloo recently in Lagos when detectives attached to the State Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB) arrested him for allegedlyÂ spearheadingÂ the abduction of a 14-year-old boy atÂ Ikotun.
The same suspect had early this year, with one Lekan Faniran, kidnappedÂ a six- year-Â old boy from his churchÂ atÂ Christ EmbassyÂ inÂ Ago Palace way but he was arrested and laterÂ released on bail.
However after his release, he (Akinshola)Â recruitedÂ two more persons which includedÂ Lekan Salawu,( 26), Taiwo Ashiru (26 ) into the gang.
Sources at theÂ Criminal Investigations Bureau revealedÂ that theÂ gangâ€˜s target were mainly defenceless children.
It wasÂ also gathered thatÂ Salawu who resides at Ikotun had spotted the 14-year-old boy (whose identity was not disclosedÂ for security reasons) and after proper checks, contacted Akinshola the gang leader.
Akinshola,Â a 200 level Business Administration student of Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State told inquisitive reporter, â€œ IÂ reside atÂ Ifageyemi street in ShanginshaÂ but I raced to Ikotun whenÂ Salawu alerted me about the boy and we leant that his father was very rich.Â When I got to Ikotun,Â I went to the boys house, met him and some of his friends and I became friendly with him.
He gave me hisÂ phone numbersÂ and I gave him mine and weÂ communicated on phone.Â After one month, he called to informÂ me that he wanted to buy a poppy dog and he wants me to lead him to where he could get it. Firstly,Â I took him to a place at Ikotun Bus-stop but we couldnâ€™t buy it there, then I alertedÂ other members of the gang to get ready that I was bringing the boy.
So, I asked him to follow me to Igando where we could also get poppies. With proper arrangement on ground,Â we abducted him and hid him atÂ Fanirans house.
â€œAfter we had successfully kidnapped him, I called Taiwo to watch over him and we instructed him to always feed him whileÂ we negotiate with his father.
Later,Â I went to the boy and told him I wasnâ€™t betraying our friendship butÂ Â I wasÂ only doing thisÂ because I want to get some moneyÂ from his father.Â I told himÂ to cooperate with us whichÂ he accepted and gave us his father`sÂ phone number,
â€œWhenÂ weÂ contacted his father, we told him first that his son was with us andÂ he asked to speak with him which he did, after they talked, we threatened to kill the son if he doesnâ€™t cooperate with us, he asked us what we wanted and we requested for 15 million naira. He pleaded with us to release his son that he doesnâ€™t have such an amount of money. After series of negotiationsÂ we agreed on N500.000 .
â€œThe first time he asked us to come get the money at the spot we agreed, when we got there to collect the money,Â we suspectedÂ police presence and we leftÂ with out collecting the money.
One week later which made it two weeks the boy was in our custody, his father called us this time they dropped the money and we took it safelyÂ and we dropped the boy offÂ underÂ the bridgeÂ in Ogudu.â€
Explaining howÂ he was arrestedÂ AkinsholaÂ saidÂ some police men who knew him invited him to the state police command at IkejaÂ â€œ IÂ got a call from some police men who knew me after my first stay at the CIB,Â I went there with Faniran.Â Â When we got there, they brought out Taiwo and asked him if he could identify us.Â Â That was how theyÂ arrested meâ€.
Narrating how he was arrested Taiwo AshiruÂ whoÂ watched over the boy at theirÂ hideoutÂ said the only money he got from the deal was just N40,000. â€œÂ I was at my house at Bashorun street in Ajose, Ikorodu when I received aÂ call from a woman who told me that she knew me. After she convinced me, weÂ became friends and were going out.
After a little while, we met at anÂ eatery inÂ Ikorodu area.Â Â While at the eatery,Â theÂ police swooped on us andÂ they arrestedÂ me and tookÂ me to their station.Â Â They tortured me forÂ three days and they also brought out all my telephone conversations and I confessed all I knew about the kidnap. I think some thing went wrong some where.
The mistake was from Akinshola.Â Â After they collected the ransom, they called me with the boy`s phone and they asked meÂ to drop off the boy. When the boy`s parents found him, they went through his phone and saw myÂ phone number and they went to the network providers and they got my details from them and after that, they planted a woman undercover who later became my friend.â€
The Lagos StateÂ Police Command Public Relations Officers (SP )Frank Mba who paraded theÂ suspectsÂ before newsmenÂ said theÂ boyâ€™s parentsÂ Â contacted the police when he received a call from the bandits who reportedly requested a sum N15 million naira.
â€œWhen the Commissioner of Police heard of it, he orderedÂ full investigations into the case and the parents were advised to continue with the negotiations while the police track down the suspects.
Mba who refused to give official account on how the police arrested the banditsÂ for security reasonsÂ said , â€œParents should not allow their children to stray unguided, and they should teach their children to be careful with strangers. It is also very important for parents to conduct background check on their workers, because such workers can pass on useful information to kidnappers.â€