By Evelyn Usman & Jefeerson Okeke
A driver with a construction company, who confessed to have masterminded the kidnap of his Philippino bosses last month in Ikorodu area of Lagos State, has disclosed that he got N400,000 out of the N4 million ransom paid.
Arrested alongside the driver, Adebanjo Yinka, was a 32-year-old herbalist in whose apartment the abducted Philippinos and two Indians were kept in Ogun State. Also arrested was a third suspect, Ogunjobi Seun.
The suspects, who confessed that they specialised in abducting expatriates, added that they collected N10 million as ransom for the release of two Indians recently.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, explained that the Indians— Jamie Larcar and Mario Maglundo— of Mateco Industry West Africa, were kidnapped on July 5.
Owoseni said: “The gang of kidnappers were tracked and one prominent member of the gang named Adebanjo Yinka in Ikotun area of Lagos was arrested. His confession led to the arrest of other gang members.”
Explaining how his Philippinos bosses were kidnapped, Adebanjo said: “I was attached to them by the company’s management. By virtue of the fact that I drive them around, I happened to know their movement.
“I provided the gang with information which they used. I got N400,000 as my share of the N4 million ransom.
“On that day, one of the kidnappers who pretended to be a member of a vigilante group, stopped our vehicle. They ordered me to alight from the vehicle and asked me to open the booth of the vehicle. At that point, they entered into the vehicle and zoomed off with my bosses.
“They took them to the house of this man (herbalist) in Ogun State, from where they were communicating with the company for ransom. He spent nine days with them after which he was released on August 4, after N4 million was paid.”
I got N200,000—Herbalist
On his part, the herbalist, Awokoya Ishau, said: “Yinka (driver) introduced me to the gang. He came to me two months ago to prepare protection charms for him. He said he often travels with his boss on a long distant journeys and as such would need protective charm against bullets.
“He came back few weeks later with other members of his gang to prepare same charms. Not too long, he called me on the phone that he was coming to my place with his gang and two visitors.
“Initially, I never knew that the two oyibos (foreigners) he claimed to be their visitors were kidnapped.
“On July 9, the gang came back with a bag containing some money. I don’t know the actual amount, but they gave me N200,000.”
Asked how he was arrested, he said Yinka led the Police to his house at Iperu-Remo, Ogun State.
The third suspect, Seun, said he was forced to join them because of his financial state.
Detectives from the Anti-Kidnapping unit of the Command, who effected the arrest, reportedly recovered charms, a locally-made pistol and a wooden box from them.