By Evelyn Usman
For the first time in the thirteen years of the existence of Saint Michael Anglican Church Primary School, located in Coker, Orile area of Lagos, the quiet atmosphere was in a disarray, following the mysterious disappearance of a set of twins from the school’s premises.
The twins, both females, are aged two years and eleven months old. They had come with their older siblings who are in primary 5 and 6 respectively, that fateful day. While their older siblings had gone into their classrooms waiting for the Assembly bell to be rung, two strangers walked into the school and kidnapped the twins, a discovery that shook the very foundation of the school.
However, providence seemed to be at play as the twins were later rescued from their abductors whose kidnap plan was botched .
In this interview with Crime Alert, the duo of Izuchukwu Eze and Ogbona Daniel, admitted to have carried out the foiled kidnap attempt. Izuchukwu who revealed that he masterminded the kidnap, added that he lured Daniel into the shady deal.
Izu as he is popularly known, stated that the foiled operation took both of them three months to plan, revealing that he intended to borrow a leaf from kidnappers in the eastern part of the country, as a means of survival.
Hear him: The plan
This whole thing was borne out of frustration. I learnt a trade in building and plumbing material. But somewhere along the line, my boss chased me away at Alaba and since I had no shelter to lay my head, I started sleeping in an abandoned 504 car in Karimu street, Coker. So one day, out of frustration, I approached my friend Daniel.
We both attend the same church. At first when I told him, he said he was not interested . But after convincing him, he gave in and suggested it would not be right to keep the children in anybody’s apartment as that could implicate us.
It took us three months to plan. During these months, we took surveillance of the school and realised that the school usually go for assemble by 7.45am. We also discovered that before then, the whole place is usually crowded because of the morning mass. What actually aided us was the number of the vicar of the church which I got from one of their fliers.
The plan was for us to hijack the morning service , since the school is located right inside the church. We were to pick a child each and thereafter meet at Alafia bus-stop from where we would board the next available bus to Okokomaiko, where we intended putting a call through to the vicar and thereafter , demand for a ransom of N1 million.
We even bought some clothes which the children would be changing into for the period of time they would be with us before we got the ransom. We intended keeping them in any uncompleted building or even the bush since there are thick bush in the area”
The duo of Izuchukwu and Daniel set out penultimate Wednesday for the school, from where they successfully picked the children, putting paid to plan one. But fate played a fast one on them as their mission was rendered unaccomplished.
On what led to their arrest, Izu continued, “ On the day in question, we both got to the school and met these two children. At first, we never knew they were twins. Daniel was the first person to pick one of them after given her biscuit. When he left, I held the other one by the hand and he followed willingly. The children did not put up any resistance neither were we stopped at the gate as the gate men were even less bothered about who went out and came in.
But on reaching Alafia bus-stop where we planned to meet, I did not see Daniel. I started searching for him but to no avail. I could not call him on the phone because I do not know the number of the new visa phone sim card we bought with which to contact the Vicar. I waited at the bus-stop for one and half hour and the next thing I saw was some OPC members approaching my direction.
They asked who the child was and I opened up. Immediately I told them the truth, they started beating me and they were at the verge of roasting me alive when some policemen came to my rescue.
It was while the policemen were with me that I saw Daniel with the child coming towards my direction , that was how the police arrested him also and rescued the children”.
Asked how they intended feeding the children, Izu replied, “Daniel was withN5000 while I was with N1,700. We intended to buy them food and also demand for money for recharge cards from their parents, out of which we would also use to feed them” said the Ndiagbo , Areri local government area of Enugu state born, who claimed his parents were in Kaduna .
I honestly regret my action. I just wanted to copy the Abia kidnappers and make some cash with which to start a new life, not knowing it takes much more that what I envisaged to go into kidnapping. I know my parents would be heart-broken if they get to hear about this. I want to use this medium to advise those who intend using kidnap as a quick means of making money to have a re-think, because they would definitely be arrested by the police as we were”
Corroborating his partner’s claim, 21-year-old Ogbonna Daniel who hails from Isikwuator area of Abia state, regretted giving in to his friend’s suggestion. Attributing the cause of their arrest to the handiwork of God, Daniel said, “ I believe it is because the school is situated right in the church. If not that God was at work, I wonder why I forgot that we were to meet at Alafia bus-stop. Rather, after I picked the child, I headed straight for Mile Two to wait for Izu. I was there for long and decided to go back and look for him when I was arrested,” he stated , shaking his head in self pity.
On her part, mother of the twins, Mrs Elizabeth Nnayelugo, who was over- joyous and still full of praises to God almighty for averting what she described as ‘calamity from her family’, narrated with disbelief, how she received the shocking news of the sudden disappearance of her children . “ On that day, when the headmistress called me on phone to ask if my twins were with me, I said no and she informed me they were looking for her.
Quickly I rushed to the school where I saw people gathered. I then rushed into one of the class rooms and started praying to God. I also, put calls across to some of my prayer partners in church. It was while I was praying that I heard that one of the twins had been found. Again, I rushed to Orile police station, where we were told to wait for twenty-four hours before lodging a report. But as God would have it, the other twin was found hours later.
This is indeed an act of providence at play and I give God all the glory”, she stated.
Headmistress of the school Mrs Nwalibe Nonye who was also present, said the kidnappers hijacked the morning mass to perpetrate the heinous crime. Asked whether there was no security measure put in place to check who comes to pick the pupils, she replied, “ there is. This is the first incident since we started this school thirteen years ago and we are going to improve on what is on ground, she assured.
The suspects, according to the Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr Adesanya Jinadu, would be charged to court. Informing that the incident was the second arrest in one week, Jinadu reiterated the command’s resolve to make the state uncomfortable for kidnappers.