One Tallest, the suspected ringleader of a kidnap gang operating in the Epe area of Lagos State, has been declared wanted by the police for allegedly orchestrating the abduction of a female police Sergeant, a lawyer and three others.
Tallest and his members reportedly kidnapped the cop in Mowo, a border community between Lagos and Ogun states, while the lawyer was seized in Igbodu, Epe, sometime in March, 2017.
They were said to have moved the two victims, whose identities have yet to be disclosed, to their camp around the creeks in Ketu-Epe and contacted their families on the telephone, demanding millions of naira in ransom.
PUNCH Metro learnt that after much negotiation, the lawyer’s family paid N5m while relatives of the Sergeant paid N200,000 before the duo were released last week.
However, four members of the gang were on a motorcycle last Thursday when operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, who were on patrol in the area, intercepted them.
A sum of N500,000 was said to have been recovered from the suspects –Aboi Feku, 23; Blessing Mimo, 20; and 26-year-old Samuel Yola – who were paraded on Wednesday at the state police command headquarters in Ikeja.
Other members of the gang at large were identified as Adam and Eke.
Feku, who hails from Ondo State, told our correspondent that his role was to cook for the gang, stating that he got a share of N250,000 from the N5.2m ransom.
The 23-year-old said, “Five persons were kidnapped altogether– three women and two men. The policewoman and the lawyer spent about a week in the camp. We collected N5m from the lawyer and my boss, Tallest, gave me N250,000. N200,000 was collected before the police Sergeant was released. I don’t know how much he collected from the three other persons.”
Mimo explained that he was not involved in the abduction, but admitted to have been given N100,000 from the ransom. He said he was a load carrier in a motor park in Epe, where he met Tallest, who introduced him to the gang.
He said, “One day, I met Tallest and asked him for money, and he gave me N500. He also gave me his phone number. A few days later, I called him and he directed me to the camp. That was how I became a member.
“It was Tallest, Adam and Eke who kidnapped the police Sergeant and the lawyer. Aboi (Feku) and I only helped them to cook food in the camp. They collected N5m from the lawyer and gave me N100,000. They said they abducted the lawyer inside a poultry farm. I didn’t get any share from the money collected from the police woman.”
However, Yola, who denied belonging to the gang, said he was a commercial motorcycle rider and was carrying Mimo, Fiku and one other suspect on the run to an area in Epe when the police stopped them.
The 26-year-old father of two children, who live in the Imota area of Lagos State, said, “From my park in Agbowa, I carry people to Ijebu Ode, Igbogbo, Sagamu (Ogun State) and Epe (Lagos State). It was only Aboi I know. I carried him sometime in February and he collected my phone number.
“Since then, he had been calling me whenever he wanted me to carry him anywhere. Last Thursday, around 6am, he called me to come and pick him at Ketu-Epe. I met him and his friend (Mimo) by the roadside. Another boy also joined us.
“We were going on the motorcycle when policemen stopped us. As they were searching them, the boy ran away. They found money on them and arrested all of us. I have never participated in any operation with them and I don’t know they are kidnappers. I don’t know anything about the kidnapping of the lawyer and the policewoman.”
Meanwhile, one Solomon Chukwudi, aka King Solomon, was also paraded for keeping kidnap victims in his house in Agbowa.
The 30-year-old horticulturist said his friends, who were still at large, introduced him to kidnapping when he told them that he needed N50,000 to start a business.
He said, “Two of my friends met with me in Ikeja, where I work and they said a man owed them some money. They said they wanted to kidnap the man and promised to give me N50,000. They brought the man into my house in Agbowa and asked me to monitor him. They said they would come to pick him the following day, but the man escaped. The man later led the police to arrest me.”
Briefing journalists on the arrests, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said the command would work with the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to prosecute the suspects within the ambit of the law.
He said, “We shall work with the government to ensure diligent prosecution of the suspects.
“We urge members of the public to continue to support us with credible information to work on with a view to addressing various security challenges in the state.”