It was harvest of arrests by the Oyo State command of the Nigeria Police Force, as no fewer than 19 suspected kidnappers were paraded in Ibadan for kidnapping, killings of prominent citizens and armed robbery offences.
Among those paraded were 10 suspects linked with the kidnapped of a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Adigun Agbaje, and that of an Ogbomoso Hotelier and a student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
The police apprehended suspected kidnappers and killers of an Ogbomoso hotelier, Mr Olugbenga Owolabi and a student of LAUTECH, Rachael Opadele, who were later killed by their abductors after collecting N5 million ransom.
NAN reports that the victims were kidnapped on July 29 at Aba area of Ogbomoso and were later killed by their abductors on Aug. 2 after payment of the N5 million ransom.
Briefing newsmen at the Police Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP. Adewale Osifeso, said that the suspects were arrested after kidnapping another victim, one Alhaji Waheed Hameed, a Cattle dealer on Sept.16.
Osifeso said the suspected kidnappers, who have been terrorising people of Ogbomoso, intercepted and attack Hameed at a desolate spot, while armed with AK-47 Riffles and other dangerous weapons and later whisked their victim away into a thick forest.
He said that the suspects later contacted the victim’s relative and demanded for N1 million ransom before he could be released.
The Police spokesperson said that when the command team got wind of the incident, it deployed all available resources in rescuing the victim unhurt with his abductors arrested.
“Sequel to this directive, operatives attached to the Monitoring Unit swung into action and in the process of combing the thick forest alongside local hunters and members of Vigilance group, they stumbled upon where the victim was held captive and rescued him unhurt.
“The victim during debriefing, narrated his ordeal in the hands of his abductors and explained that while the kidnappers were negotiating his ransom, they claimed responsibility for the death of an Ogbomosho hotelier, Mr. Gbenga Owolabi, threatening that he (the abductee) would suffer a similar fate should his ransom payment process get thwarted by involving the police.
“The victim also gave other useful information to the Police operatives and this led to the arrest of three members of the kidnapping syndicate,” Osifeso said.
Similarly, he said the command’s crack detectives arrested 10 suspected kidnappers linked with the kidnap of Agbaje.
Adigun, alongside others, were kidnapped on Oct. 28 by kidnappers, allegedly in military uniform that laid seige to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway around Dominion University.
He said that the victim was later released on Oct. 31 after ransom was allegedly paid, while a policeman lost his live during the incident.
Osifeso said that items recovered from the suspects included four AK-47 Rifles,75 K-47 live Aammunition, two pairs of military camouflage and N7.5 million cash.
He said the suspects had confessed to the crime, adding that manhunt for other members of the criminal syndicate continues.