By James Ogunnaike
The Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Police on Friday paraded a seven man syndicate that specialized in kidnapping in Sagamu area of the state.
Parading the suspect in Sagamu, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi said the kidnap syndicate made up of members of the same family.
According to Oyeyemi, five of the syndicate, Oweniwe Okpara and three of his children namely; Samson Okpara, Bright Okpara and Eze Okpara as well as one Christian Ishaha and Emmanuel Joseph were arrested in Sagamu, while three others of his children; Godwin Okpara, Godspower Okpara and Mathew Okpara were arrested in Delta State.
The father, Okpara was said to have been a farmer on farmland at the Aiyepe-Ijebu road which was being used as the kidnapping ground where the trio of Godwin, Godspower and Mathew, who were the armed squad of the syndicate usually dumped their victims.
Oyeyemi appreciated the cooperation of the Sagamu security operatives under the Palace of the Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi for supporting the police in the efforts at arresting the kidnapping syndicate.
Oyeyemi said, “In compliance with the CP’s directive, the DPO of Sagamu division CSP Okiki Agunbiade and his crack detectives with the support of Sagamu security council under Akarigbo of Remo land embarked on intelligence and technical based investigation, which led to the arrest of one Oweniwe Okpara from Delta state and three of his children namely; Samson Okpara, Bright Okpara and Eze Okpara as well as one Christian Ishaha who accommodated them.
“They were all arrested in Ajaka area of Sagamu for their roles in the kidnap of 8 persons at different times in Sagamu and other areas.
“In the course of investigation, it was discovered that three other members of the family constituting the criminal gang namely; Godwin Okpara, Godspower Okpara and Mathew Okpara are the armed squad of the syndicate, while Samson, Bright and Eze Okpara were the one spying on their targeted victims.
“One Emmanuel Joseph, a native of Ebele in Edo State was later recruited into the fold, having confronted their sister, Eze Okpara to tell him the source of money they used to count every day. They subsequently opened up to him that they are into kidnapping business and he also joined them.
“Having heard about the arrest of their father and their three siblings, Godwin, Godspower and Mathew Okpara took to flight and ran to Delta state with their operational car and their arms where they were subsequently apprehended by the Delta state police command after carrying out another kidnapping there”.
“Their camp located at a forest in Ayepe-Ijebu where their father used to farm before converting it to a camp was located by policemen led by the DPO Sagamu and subsequently destroyed. Items recovered at the camp include; three expended cartridges, cooking gas, tarpaulin, cooking utensils, women bags and twine.”
Narrating his ordeal, one of the victims, a 53-year electronics dealer, Okechukwu Onwubiko, who was kidnapped on the 4th of June, 2020, disclosed that he regained his freedom from the Okpara kidnapping syndicate’s den seven days after his family had paid N5 million ransom.
Also kidnapped was a RCCG Pastor, Omotayo Sobowale, who runs a POS business, he said was kidnapped on the 16th of June, 2020.
He said, he was shown leniency when he told them he is a pastor but had to part away with N1 million before he could regain his freedom after 24 hours.
He identified one of the suspects to have come looking for a job in his company.
Other people kidnapped by the syndicate were Lamidi Akeem, Olufunke Areoye, who was kidnapped on the 3rd of November, 2020, Adijat Adeleye was equally kidnapped on the 11th of November, 2020, Ashaye Olayinka on the 12th of November and Demilade Sonuga.
Oyeyemi who said the State Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, was satisfied with the apprehension of the syndicate, called for the cooperation of the public in providing adequate security in the state.