AUGUST 31, 2012 will,forever, remain indelible in the memory of Mrs Johnson Akinsanjo, following the circumstances that resulted in the death of her husband, thereby plunging her into an unprepared status of widowhood.
Her late husband, Johnson, a popular businessman was into fishing in Ikorodu area of Lagos. The 47 year-old man had gone to pick his wife at Ibeshe Jetty where she oversees a section of the family business, without the slightest inkling that tragedy was ahead of him.
As the couple was about entering their compound, three men armed with guns and cutlasses, came out from nowhere and ordered them to go into their apartment, from where they dispossessed them of cash, phones, laptops and other valuables. Time was 9pm.
Not done, the armed men took Johnson outside, ordered him into his Sports Utility car with number plate KRD 480 AE, and zoomed off to an unknown destination, leaving his distraught wife behind. She immediately reported the case at Ipakodo police division from where a search was conducted round without any sight of her husband. But only his car was recovered.
Just as the policemen were contemplating on the next move, Mrs Akinsanjo received a phone call where the strange caller requested for a ransom of N2 million before her husband would be released. But the widow, as gathered, requested to speak with her husband in order for him to tell her where she would get the money, only for the strange callers to hang up on her.
Crime Alert gathered that while the wife of the victim and other family members were contemplating on what to do next, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umaru Manko directed a crack team of detectives attached to the state Intelligence Bureau to carry out a through and discreet investigation with a view to, not only rescuing the missing man, but arresting his kidnappers.
A team of crack detectives led by Inspector Bright Igbinoba reportedly swung into action and, using the communication network, succeeded in tracking them down. It was learnt that after they made contact with the victim's wife, they directed her to bring the money to a point in Ogun State.
Inspector Bright and his team reportedly accompanied his wife to the spot but the kidnappers suspected foul play and refused to show up.
The suspects, according to police sources, then made another call to the wife with a private number insisting on their demand being paid and on time else they will kill their victim. Using the communication network, the detectives reportedly trailed the suspects and arrested them after extending their investigations to Auchi, Benin-city in Edo State and Sagamu in Ogun State.
It was after their arrest that the suspects confessed that they killed their victim before even demanding for ransom. One of the the suspects, Wahab Mutaru, gave a mind-bogling account of how the businessman was killed in a thick bush behind Redeemed Camp, in Ogun State. The 32 year-old man who hails from Edo State also confessed to have given details of the deceased to members of his gang, blaming his indulgence on his desperate need to get money to pay his rent.
Hear him: "I swear, this is my fist time of doing this. I met one Sodiq alias NOFACE on May this year. He said he was looking for accommodation and I found a three-bedroom flat for him around Owode-Ibeshe area of Ikorodu and he immediately paid and packed in. On May, my house rent expired and I did not have money to pay.
"Since Sodiq could pay for the flat, I concluded he was rich and, therefore, approached him to lend me N9,000 for me to pay for at least, three months. He told me he did not have but that I should be on the look out for a rich person around that area that could be kidnapped in order to get money and I agreed.
Hunt for prey: Two days later, I was at a junction and saw a jeep drove past. I followed the car down to where it was going and reported to Sodiq. He told me to get the exact time the car drives in. The next day, I went straight to the compound and discovered he came five minutes later than the previous day. I continued for three days and discovered he usually drove in between 9.pm and 9..05pm. So the next day, we stormed the apartment.
Two members of the gang; Olarewaju and Sodiq jumped through the fence where they waited for the couple while I remained outside. I stayed outside in order to alert them of any funny development. Immediately the man drove in, they attacked them. It was when they drove out that I joined them in the car. Sodiq was the person that drove. We later abandoned the car at Ogijo with the key before we took the man to the bush where we all sat down, thinking of the next line of action.
How he was killed: As we sat down, Sodiq brought out some dried fish they collected from the man's house for us to eat. While at that, we heard footsteps and voices of people passing on the road. Immediately, the man started shouting. I held his mouth to stop him from shouting but he started struggling.
In the process, NO FACE used the cutlass to cut him at the back. The more he hit him the louder the man shouted for help. At a point he became motionless. I asked if he was dead but nobody answered me. NO FACE then ordered us to leave the bush and we did. Our intention was to kidnap him and collect ransom, not to kill him. Had he not shouted, he would not have been killed", Mutaru stated .
However when they returned to their hideout in Sodiq's apartment, the gang members decided to sell other loot. Mutaru confessed to have been given the laptop to sell but was unable to sell it, as the computer village in Ikeja was temporarily shut on that day. However, his partners in crime succeeded in selling the gold jewelries from where they gave him the sum of N30,000 as his share.
Mutaru who earlier confessed that the case of the late Johnson was his first attempt with the gang, later admitted to have taken part in the kidnap of a staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria where he got the sum of N170,000 as his share from the ransom.
Seeing his corpse
Asked if he had any regrets, he nodded his head and stated, "I know this happened because of the man's death. Since I got home after the incident, I have known no peace. I kept seeing his corpse with his shout for help still echoing in my subconsciousness."
The trio of Ogbuesor Sodiq, Abdulwahab Mutairu and Adeinola Lanre, according to spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Ngozi Braide, also confessed during interrogation to have kidnapped one Sekiru Yusf of Ibeshe Titun area of Ikorodu.
"They further confessed to have attempted to kidnap one Adeniyi Adesoye of Owode area of Ikorodu", adding that men from the State Intelligence Bureau who effected the arrest, apprehended Sodiq Ogbuesor in Auchi area of Edo State. His confessional statement, she said, led to the arrest of other suspects who subsequently took the operatives to the bush where the body of the late Johnson Akinsanjo was discovered in it's decomposing state, adding that the suspects would be charged to court.