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‘I only buy food for victims, recharge cards for negotiations’

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By Evelyn Usman

LAGOS—It was the end of the road for a six-man robbery gang that specialised in hijacking fuel-loaded tankers in Ogun State, following their arrest by operatives of the newly-established Zonal Intervention Squad, at the Zone 2 command, Onikan, Lagos.

However, during interrogation, the suspects confessed to have been responsible for series of kidnaps in the South-West.

A member of the gang, Lukeman Akiole, 32, disclosed that they usually kept their abducted victims in a bush along Benin-Ore Expressway.

Akiole, who was paraded alongside 12 other suspects that have been terrorising Lagos and Ogun states, by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in-charge of Zone 2, Abdulmajid Ali, blamed his indulgence on hardship.

He said: “I am not involved in the abduction. My job is to keep watch over the victims. At times, I run errands like buying food for abducted persons and also to buy recharge cards with which calls are made for negotiations. They kidnap people from Ondo, Ekiti, Ibadan and Ogun states.

“The last victim, a woman was abducted in Ondo State and I stayed with her in the bush for four days before ransom was paid. I got N120,000 from the ransom.

“At first, I did not know that my friends were into kidnapping. By the time I found out,  I couldn’t opt out because of hardship.”

On his part, his partner in crime, Olarewaju Gbadamosi, stated that he was not into kidnapping, but specialised in attacking truck drivers around Ogun after which he would hijack the product and sell same to owners of petrol stations.

He, however, lamented that their receivers usually paid piecemeal, thereby making the money useless for them. He disclosed that the content of the last truck that was hijacked was sold for N2 million.

A mother of four alleged to be one of the gang’s receivers was also arrested.

Explaining how the arrest was made, the AIG said: “We got a tip-off that members of a syndicate that specialised in hijacking trucks at gunpoint along major expressways were meeting in a hotel at Ore, Ondo State .

“A team of operatives was detailed for the operation during which six of them were arrested with the recovery of two locally-made shotguns and one dummy gun. They will soon be charged to court.”

 

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