The suspects were Felix Ikuomola, Gbenga Popoola, Sunday Akibi and Azeez
Olowu. In their confessional statement, they alleged that a certain
man, known to them as Baba Agbodi (Adekoya) was the one who gave them
the contract and also provided all necessary details and logistics.
On the circumstances surrounding his arrest,
gathered that Adekoya, on realising that his game was up, left town
with an excuse that he went to visit his sick mother. Two weeks later,
he returned in the hope that police had stopped searching for him.
mentioned him during their confession, no policeman would dare enter his
shrine. He was later arrested inside his shrine while attending to his
Face-to-face with his accusers, Adekoya claimed that the only reason he
allowed them to go ahead with the kidnapping was because Prince Jacob
Araba, who is known as a generous philanthropist, bought cars for the
community leaders and exempted him.
“I am the son of the former baale (traditional ruler) in our community
and a renowned herbalist. I deserve all the respect I should get in this
community. So, I felt bad that Prince Araba shared cars and did not
give me. I was happy when these boys consulted me. I did not give them
the contract, I only consented to the kidnap.”
He admitted that the gang met with him twice in his office.
“I have known Gbenga for a long time. We met when his mother brought his
pregnant wife to me for prayers. I told them what to do and they failed
to abide by my instruction. The baby died at birth.
“So, I was not surprised when he came with four other young men to seek my consent.
I only told them that it was a good idea and advised them that it would
be better to kidnap his brother, Muwalu. The person that I have issues
with is the brother of Prince
Araba; he is the one who advised Prince Araba not to include my name in
the list of those who he bought cars for. Muwalu is a wicked, greedy man
and I know that Prince Araba will pay anything to save his brother. My only crime here is that I did not report to the police, but it was their idea,”
However, members of the gang, who are still in police custody, insist
that he was the mastermind of the abduction.Daring him to refute their
claim, Azeez said that during the meeting, when they raised the issue
of police, he assured that he would exonerate them.
“He is lying. I dare him to refute his statement during our last meeting
that if we were arrested, he would stand and ask for our release. He
said that policemen fear him. This was why, as soon as we were arrested,
we mentioned his name. I am shocked that he could deny us even while
On what really transpired, Azeez alleged that Oju called them that
there was a need to arrange a job so that he could raise money for his
child’s naming ceremony.
“He was desperate and as friends who had done jobs (robbery) in the
past, we decided to help him if he could get any contact. Two days
later, he called and told us that Baba Agbod.i had a good deal for us.
He scheduled a meeting and myself, Gbenga and Oju went to his office in
the Itoki area of Ikorodu. He is well known in the community. He told
us that our target is very rich and would pay anything to secure the
release of any of his family members. We agreed to share the loot
equally, even as he provided all the necessary information. We tried
twice to pick him at the hotel but left out of fear of being caught.
“On the day Muwalu was abducted, he was the one who called and informed
us that the target was close by. He advised that we should pick him
close to his house as the road is very bad and he would surely slow
down. He was watching from afar, so that he would not be caught since he was well known. He even called to congratulate us as soon as we succeeded.
“When we were running out of cash, we called him to assist us with small
money since there was delay in paying the ransom. He was angry and
said that we were not putting much pressure on Prince Araba. We even
called to inform him that the police were looking for us and he advised
that we should relocate,” Azeez alleged.
The man who was rescued, Muwalu was grateful to God for sparing his
life and said that he had finished the day’s work and was heading home
in his brother’s car (the owner of the hotel) when the kidnappers
blocked him close to his house.
“I was heading home in my brother’s car at about 8.30pm, when a car
blocked me and about three men, heavily armed, stepped down and asked me
to get out of the car. They dragged me out of the car into another one
and tied me up. They also blindfolded me. They later took me to a house
after several hours of driving.
“They were calling me Chief Araba and I told them that I am not the one.
I told them that I am his manager and they started beating me
mercilessly. I pleaded for my life and they said that I should give them
my oga’s number so that they would call him. I was there when they
called him, demanding N60million. I told them that they were carrying
the wrong person. I have not seen N6million not to talk of N60million
in my entire life.
“The more I pleaded, the more beating I got. They kept me tied up in the
room and only gave me water to drink. This was what sustained me till I
was rescued,” Muwalu narrated.
Surprised at the identity of the man behind the kidnap, Chief Jacob
Araba, who was the initial target, said he knew little or nothing about
Adekoya, the suspect.
“I am a philanthropist and by the special grace of God, I have enough to
feed my family. I do not know the man but I was told that he had
benefitted a lot from my gestures to the community. I always ensure
that I encourage the leaders of the community to keep the area safe. I
am happy that they have been arrested except Oju, who I learnt is still
on the run. I have confidence in the Nigeria police for once in my life.
I thank CP Kayode Aderanti for allowing his detectives, led by SP
Kyari, to rescue my brother and arrest the criminals.”