Metro

March 22, 2024

Police arrest 2 undergraduates for faking their kidnap

Stray bullet kills policeman in Jos

File image.

By Efe Onodjae

LAGOS—The Lagos State Police Command has arrested two undergraduate friends, who faked their kidnap to extort their parents.

The suspects are 21-year-old Balogun Ayodele, a 200-level student at Lagos State University of Education, Ijanikin, and Okuomo Dennis, also 21 years old and a student at the National Institute of Information Technology, Lagos.

The Police said the suspects came out of hiding after staying in the bush for a week without payment of ransom by their parents.

Vanguard gathered that Dennis mooted the idea of staging Ayodele’s kidnap in order to extort his father, who is a driver at an unnamed company.

On February 2, 2024, Ayodele reportedly disappeared from home and thereafter used his phone to send his father a text demanding $20,000 ransom for his release.

The instruction was that payment should be made to a Bitcoin wallet address sent.

His devastated father was said to have approached management of his company for assistance but the latter insisted that the matter should be reported to the Police.

Meanwhile, Ayodele, according to spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hudenyin, was kept in one of the rooms in Dennis’ father’s hotel.

He said: “Dennis’ father is a hotelier and has a room permanently reserved for his son, Dennis. That was where Ayodele hid. He successfully avoided detection since nobody checks in there. When the ransom wasn’t forthcoming, they decided to take Ayodele to a nearby bush, stripped him naked, and took pictures of him lying on the ground. They sent the pictures to his father, threatening harm if the money wasn’t paid.

“Later, they sent messages to Ayodele’s father mentioning names of other members of his family, which further escalated the fear. When Ayodele’s father reached out to his son’s friend, Dennis, he denied knowing anything about his friend’s disappearance.

“Since this approach wasn’t working, on March 11, 2024, Dennis decided to fake his own disappearance, with the hope that his father would pay. They made it look like the same kidnappers, who abducted Ayodele came for Dennis.

“The two families were desperate. The students repeated the same tactic, taking pictures of Dennis naked and demanding $80,000 initially. But when there was no response, they increased it to $100,000. By then, Dennis couldn’t stay in his father’s hotel anymore. He and Ayodele stayed in a nearby bush for five days.

“However, two days after they went to the bush, they tried another ploy. They went to Ayodele’s father’s company, took pictures of the building and sent them to Ayodele’s father, threatening to come and get him. Ayodele’s father was terrified and reported the matter to the company’s management, which issued an alert to all staff.

“Meanwhile, all this information was provided to the Lagos State Police Command, thereby prompting diligent investigation.

“They decided to come out of hiding on March 16, 2024, when they could not get any money. They went back to Dennis’ father’s hotel and claimed they had escaped from the kidnappers’ den. They quickly called Ayodele’s father, who rushed there immediately.

“Ayodele was taken to the hospital for treatment as his father believed he was kidnapped. They were arrested after they turned themselves in. During investigation, they confessed to the crime.”