Lagos — Operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of Lagos State Police Command have arrested a man, who confessed to have staged his own kidnap to extort money from his elder brother in Lagos.
Arrested alongside the supposed victim, Ufom Edet Udoh, was his accomplice, one Philip Okeimute, who posed as the kidnapper.
Vanguard gathered that the former left for his place of work last Monday, but never returned home. Efforts by apprehensive members of his family to reach him on phone proved abortive as his phone was switched off.
Their worst fear was confirmed after they received a call from a stranger, who informed them that Ufom had been kidnapped.
The unknown caller was said to have given the phone to his supposed captive, who confirmed that he was abducted at Liverpool area of Apapa.
Thereafter, the kidnapper demanded for N60 million ransom for Ufom's release.
His elder brother, Victor Udoh, who was also contacted by the kidnapper, reported the matter to the Police.
An unconfirmed report said that an undisclosed amount was paid before a haggard and frail-looking Ufom was found last weekend.
However, the bubble burst after investigation by the Police revealed that the kidnap was staged.
Spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Olarinde Famous-Cole, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who confirmed the arrest, explained that "on July 3, one Victor Udoh reported to the Command that his younger brother, Ufom Edet Udoh, was kidnapped by unknown persons at Liverpool in Apapa area of Lagos State.
"Men of the Command's Anti-Kidnapping Squad, quickly swung into action and traced calls that the complainant received on his phone.
"This led to the arrest of one Paul Philips Okiemute, who upon questioning, confessed that Udoh staged his own kidnap to collect money from his elder brother.
"Udoh was not kidnapped, it was all a planned attempt to stage his own kidnap so that ransom can be paid by his elder brother.
"The suspect said he made calls to the victim's elder brother with an unknown number, demanding a ransom of N60,000,000.
"His confessional statement led to Ufom's arrest, during which he confessed to the crime ."
How he effected a kidnap victim's looks
Asked where he was during the period of negotiation, Ufom said: "I checked into a hotel at Iyana-Ipaja area on July 3, where I spent three nights without food and water.
"This was to make me sound weak when speaking to my elder brother on the phone. Thereafter, I trekked to Ifo, Ogun State, before I returned to Lagos, looking frail, so as to convince my family members that I was actually kidnapped."
Asked why he staged his own kidnap, he said he needed money from his elder brother to solve some financial problems, adding that his elder brother will ordinarily not have given him such a huge amount.
The Command's boss, Fatai Owoseni, ordered the suspects charged to court immediately, adding that their arrest would serve as a deterrent to others, who are likely to cause breach of peace in the state.