Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Lagos Couple That Head Kidnap Gang

When the management of Blueprint Business Technology, an ICT solution company, secured the service of Victor Sunday as an automobile engineer some years back, it didn't occur to them that he was up to something more sinister than they could ever imagine.

The 34-year-old man, in connivance with his wife, Eno, and a friend, Idom Essong, staged and kidnapped one of the company's directors simply identified as Adebayo, squeezing a ransom of N36 million from his family.

The money which was shared between Sunday and his wife and others that took part in the operation, afforded him two automobiles, a jeep and a bus, while part of it was spent on a building project. While this was going on, Sunday didn't quit working for the ICT company, he held on to his position, going about his duties as if nothing happened. But some of his colleagues at the office who noticed a sudden change,an expensive life style got suspicious, and alerted the management who brought in the police from the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and they arrested him and his wife.

Crime Guard gathered that during interrogation, Sunday confessed to taking part in the kidnap of his boss. He told his interrogators that he was the gang's contact man in the company and that he supplied them with all the information they needed in carrying out the operation. A police source at FSARS who took part in the investigation intimated Crime Guard that Sunday also disclosed the names of all other suspects who took part in the kidnapping including his friend, Essong.

"After their arrest, we charged the case to court and Sunday and his wife were remanded in prison custody. The case was referred to the Department of Public Prosecution, DPP, for advice. But while we were waiting for the DPP's advice, we got information that Sunday and his wife were granted bail by a State High Court without our knowledge.

The court didn't serve us any notice to appear before it during the bail hearing in order to conform to the due process of law. We couldn't do any thing because the bail was from a competent court that has jurisdiction over such case," the source lamented.

However, Crime Guard learnt that few days after they regained their freedom, Sunday and his wife parked out of their Oremeji, Oshodi residence and moved to Matogun road, Lambe, Ogun State, where they ventured into full time kidnapping using their new apartment as a hideout.

Meanwhile, a prison inmate with Sunday at the Ikoyi Prison where he was remanded assisted him in forming a new gang. The inmate identified as Emma gave him the phone number of one Joseph who provided him with a gun and he also recruited two persons identified as Chief and Daniel.

The new gang went on a search for victims, and they stormed Ago-Okota area in Lagos State where they kidnapped a man they saw with a flashy car in front of a gate. They took the man to their hideout, chained him and contacted his relatives demanding a ransom of N50million, but they ran out of luck as the middle-aged man managed to remove the chains from his legs and escaped from the hideout. Sensing trouble, Sunday, his wife and other members of the gang took to their heels because they expected that policemen will storm their residence.

A police source at the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja, who took part in the manhunt for the suspects also told Crime Guard that; "Shortly after their victim was kidnapped, the family contacted the police who kept tab on the kidnappers. Luckily, he was able to untie the leg chain and escaped. We then kept tab on the house but we did not move in. Hoping that the police or the family was not ready to pursue the case, the suspect returned to their hideout and we arrested them."

When Crime Guard interviewed the suspects, Sunday and his wife, they said they secured their bail after paying N500,000 to a lawyer who contacted them at the prison. They also said they went back to kidnapping because they could not find a good job to secure a living and all efforts to progress in life failed.

In his words; " I am a mechanic and for years, I have struggled to make progress. Last year, my friend, Idom Essong visited my office and suggested that I should help him select anyone that can be kidnapped in my office. He told me that it was one easiest thing to do, and I agreed and pointed at one of the senior managers who I knew can afford to pay a huge ransom. I gave them all the details they needed to execute the plan.

"They collected N36million from the family and gave me N1million as my share of the deal. I quickly bought a bus and a jeep. I continued working in that office until the day police came and arrested me.I don't know how they got the information. I was arrested by Federal SARS and later, charged to court with my wife as my accomplice. I was remanded in Ikoyi for 8 months before I was released."

Narrating how he was released, Sunday said he was introduced to a lawyer whom he identified as Ajanaku. "I paid him N500,000 and he filed a motion for bail and I was granted bail. He asked me to go home as he would call me if there is any need to come to court. Till date, he has not called me.

Shortly after my release, I decided to relocate to a new place since the whole world knew that I was arrested for kidnapping. I relocated to 42, Matoku Lambee in Ogun state . It became difficult for me to make a living so, I decided to start a family business since we have a house. I called a friend that I met in the prison, Emma who had contact on where to get arms. He linked me up to one Joseph who promised to get a gun on the condition that he would be involved in the deal. I later contacted my friends called Chief and Daniel.

"Three weeks ago, we arranged to lurk around Okota . Luckily, at about 10pm, we saw a man in a flashy car driving home. We immediately followed him and as soon as he drove in, we went after him and over powered him. Still with his car, we drove to my apartment at Ogun State. To ensure that he does not recognize where he was, we blindfolded him.

At home, we chained him in one of the rooms and contacted his family. We demanded for N50million. We went to bed and was shocked to find the room empty in the morning. We immediately ran away because it was obvious that police would soon storm the area. Two weeks later when I discovered that no one had come to raid the house, I came back with my wife to pick my things and the police arrested us.

The wife Eno,25, speaks

Eno said life had been hard ever since they got married. One day her husband came back and told her of his plan and she vehemently kicked against it. "He convinced me that it would be safe, so as a loving wife, I gave him my blessing. Luckily, at the end of everything, he was paid N1m and he gave some to me to start a shop.

He continued his job till one day police arrested us. They said I was an accomplice. Luckily, 8 months later, we were granted bail. He still went back to the same business and convinced me that it was now a family business. As a loving wife I could not stop my husband. On the day of the kidnap, I warned him severally. When I discovered that they were asleep, I opened the door and went back. I did that because I wanted to help the man escape from that place. I thank God that he did,"she stated.

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