By Evelyn Usman
A man, Joseph Agugom, and his brother, Paul Agugom, narrowly escaped being set blaze by an irate mob at Lawanson area of Lagos, over allegation that they kidnapped a woman and her child for ritual purpose.
The duo were accosted by some curious persons, who sighted a woman whose hands were tied struggling to free herself inside their Honda CRV car, with number plates FST 587 BU, at about 12.45p.m.
Upon enquiry, the bound woman, later identified to be Justina Emmanuel, disclosed that one of the men, Joseph, whom she claimed to be her husband, kidnapped her and her baby for money rituals.
She further alleged that her husband had earlier used her two children for rituals.
The mob descended on the men and were on the verge of setting them ablaze when policemen from Itire Division, led by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Odey Ogah, stormed the scene.
She’s mentally unstable—Husband
However, at the station, Joseph disclosed that his wife had a mental disorder. He told policemen that he and his brother were taking her to the hospital when they were accosted.
He said: “My brother and I were transporting her to the hospital when she raised the alarm that we were ritualists. When we tried to explain to the mob, nobody believed.
“We would have been killed had the Police not arrived when they did. Nobody would have known we were innocent.”
Contacted, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Elkana Bala, said family members of the suspects and the woman had confirmed that the woman had mental illness.
He further stated that the children whom the woman claimed were kidnapped by her husband were hale and hearty.
According to Bala, “one Honda CRV car with number plates LAGOS FST 587 BU, two phones and one bag containing two flasks, three pieces of rope, one black para-military belt and one green beret were recovered at the scene.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim is married to one of the suspects, Joseph Agugom, and the child belongs to both of them.
“It was also revealed that she is suffering from mental illness and she is being transported to hospital, when she raised the alarm and some members of the public stopped the car and descended on the suspects.
“Members of both the suspects and victims family came to the station and made statements to the effect that the victim is suffering from mental illness and was actually being transported to hospital.
“The other two children of the victim are with her husband. They were brought to the station, contrary to the allegations by the victim that they were killed by the husband for money ritual.
“The victim was taken to hospital by the Police for medical examination. The Command has launched a manhunt for those who participated in the mob action with a view to bringing them to justice.
“Members of the public have the power to arrest anybody suspected of a crime, but the law provides that such persons arrested should be handed over to the Police immediately.
“It is only investigation that can determine the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations. And our laws presume the accused person to be innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.”