A member of a gang of kidnappers arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command, on Tuesday, said they used different tricks, including posing as beggars, to distract their potential victims before kidnapping them.
Emeka Agbaji was nabbed with Emmanuel Omoseni and Michael Edom after abducting two friends – Samsudeen Olatunde and Daramola Bisoye- along Lekki-Epe Expressway, in Ajah
Agbaji, a 31-year- old man, said the first step in their modus operandi was to get their potential victim to relax.
According to him, the element of surprise always worked in their favour.
He explained that one of them disguised as a beggar on the day they were arrested after kidnapping the two friends.
Agbaji said the victims had parked their vehicle in order to urinate when the ‘beggar’ approached them and started asking for money. He added that the distraction aided the gang to abduct them.
He said, “The victims had alighted from a vehicle along the Lekki-Epe Expressway to urinate. One of our gang members, who disguised as a beggar, asked one of them to give him money. Out of sympathy, the driver gave him N100 and he prostrated in gratitude.
“As the driver wanted to enter the car, he (the beggar) started dragging the door with the driver. In the confusion, we came out with guns and kidnapped them.”
Police sources told PUNCH Metro that the gang had planned to carry out three or more operations in Lagos to raise substantial amount of money to relocate abroad
Our correspondent learnt that the victims were kidnapped shortly after dropping off a senior official of Epe Local Government.
Edom, a commercial bus driver, on his part, said he joined the gang because kidnapping was the most lucrative job to do.
“I do two jobs – driving a commercial bus and working as conductor. My routes are Ajah to Lakwe and Ajah to Obalende and CMS. Anytime I did conductor’s work, I used to get N1, 000 and above daily but driving gives me N3, 000 and above daily.
“Sometimes, I sell pure water and I get commission on each bag I sell. It was financial difficulty that made me to join the gang. There was nothing I had not tried to get reasonable money, yet I kept failing. So, I joined the gang of kidnappers.”
Edom told PUNCH Metro that he lived in an uncompleted building which also served as a place where their victims were kept.
“Some of us live in an uncompleted building at General Paint area because I do not pay rent and the owners of the uncompleted buildings pay us to scare away land speculators ,” he said.
But Omoseni, who claimed to be a nursery school teacher, said he joined the gang because he was owed two months’salary.
The Ondo State indigene said, “I teach at a nursery and primary school behind General Paint. I had not been paid two months’ salary. So, when my friend, Michael, approached me to join the gang, it was too tempting to reject.
“I ended up not getting a kobo after the botched operation. Although I escaped arrest initially, I was going to school in the morning when policemen arrested me. My only regret is that I did not get a kobo from the job and my wife is in the village with three of my children.”
Police sources told PUNCH Metro that Edom and six other members of the gang had on June 18, 2013 kidnapped the victims but were apprehended by the police.
One of the sources said, “The Area J Commander, ACP Felix Vwamhi, got information that the gang had a camp where they kept their victims in the jurisdiction. The Area J policemen teamed up with SARS detectives and investigation led us to an uncompleted building at a place popularly known as General Paint. We cordoned off the area.
“When the gang noticed that the police had surrounded them, they tried to escape by firing indiscriminately and the police returned the fire. In the process, two members of the gang were killed, including the leader, Apos.
“Apos’ second-in-command, Edom, was wounded while five others escaped. Their victims were rescued. Edom helped us to track down Omoseni and Agbaji.”
Culled from The Punch