By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—Residents of Egan community, in Igando, a Lagos suburb, were weekend was thrown into shock, following the arrest of a popular chief priestess and custodian of an Ifa shrine in the community, who had allegedly been operating a kidnap den in her apartment located at 15 Irepodun Street.
The 60-year-old Ifa priestess, Aminat Karimu Ajibola, was alleged to have been operating the kidnappers’ den with her two sons, Akeem Bashiru, (32) and Ojo Solomon, (26), until they were arrested by a combined team of policemen attached to the Igando Division and those from the Intelligence Unit of the Lagos State Police Command.
Their modus oparandi as gathered, included posing as an employment agency on social media. They post information on employment with juicy pay package, leaving their telephone numbers and address for prospective applicants to contact them.
At other times, they posed as gays, seeking for their likes on social media platforms.
However, when the unsuspecting applicants reached them, the syndicate would abduct them and keep them in their den, from where relatives were contacted for ransom.
Rescued from the den were three persons including one Ekwegbalu Augustine who was lured from Anambra State with the promise of a job placement in an oil company in Lagos.
The suspects met their dead end, after they contacted family members of one of their victims, Osahon Obaze, demanding for N3 milion ransom for his release.
Obaze left his sister’s house days earlier, informing her that he was going for a job interview only to be abducted.
During the bargain, the suspects settled for N1.5 million ransom for Obaze’s release, with a stern warning that the Police should not be involved.
Explaining how they were arrested, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti, said: “One Ms. Bridget Obaze, approached the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Igando Police Station, Taiwo Kasumu, at about 4a.m. on September 7, 2018 and complained that her brother, Osahon Obaze, had been missing for days and that the kidnappers were threatening to kill him unless she paid a N1.5 million.
She noted that they warned her not to involve the police else her brother would be killed.
“The DPO immediately contacted the Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal, who reinforced his team with men drafted from the Intelligence Unit of the Command and together, they left in search of the victim.
Same day, at about 11am, through discreet investigation, the following suspects were arrested at 15 Irepodun street, Egan, Igando: Aminat Kareem Ajibola, a Chief Priestess and custodian of an Ifa shrine, her two sons, Akeem Bashiru and Ojo Solomon.
Also rescued during the operation, were two other victims found in the apartment: Fadugbagbe Akindele, a male, of 7 Peace Crescent Salolo, Meiran, Lagos and one Ekwegbalu Augustine who was lured all the way from Anambra State with the promise of a job placement in an oil company.
“They had been held for weeks by the kidnappers pending payment of ransom by their families. All those rescued had been identified and reunited with their relations.
“The CP Lagos hopes that by this feat and several others in the past, criminals ought to have seen how futile it is to carry out their trade in any part of the state no matter how far the area may be.
“He, therefore, warns that criminal elements in the state should either repent or be busted as Lagos is no hibernation ground for criminals.
“He thanks the good people of Lagos State for their cooperation by way of giving the police credible and timely information”, Oti stated.
Lure victims through gay relationship, employment
One of the suspects, Ojo, disclosed during interrogation that their victims were lured through gay relationship and employment promise.
According to the youngest member of the family “We were able to lure victims with the promise of getting them employment and to some, gay relationship. Our mother empowered us spiritually. She used juju (charms) to intimidate and instill fear in our victims”.