The Oyo State Police Command, on Thursday, paraded 13 suspects, including three men allegedly responsible for the killing of a United States-based hotelier, Gbenga Owolabi, and a final-year student of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Rachael Opadele.
The Commissioner of Police, Adebowale Williams, who paraded them at the command headquarters in Eleyele, Ibadan, said the suspects also included killers of a police inspector and kidnappers of a former Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Professor Adigun Agbaje, on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said the suspects were picked up at different locations in Oyo and Kwara states.
He said nemesis caught up with the suspected killers of the late hotelier while trying to collect a ransom of N10.7m from the family of another victim, Waheed Hammed.
He said, “A cattle dealer in Ogbomoso town, while returning from his ranch at Adafila village, via Ogbomoso, was intercepted at a desolate spot by a notorious kidnapping syndicate that had been terrorising members of the public in Ogbomoso and its neighbouring towns.
“The members of this dreaded kidnapping syndicate, who were reportedly armed with AK-47 rifles, cutlasses and some other weapons, attacked the said Waheed Hammed and later whisked him away into a thick forest, where they contacted his relative and demanded N100m ransom before he would be released.
“Sequel to this directive, operatives attached to the monitoring unit swung into action and in the process of combing the thick forest alongside local hunters and vigilantes, they stumbled upon where the victim was held captive and rescued him unhurt.
“The victim during debrief narrated his ordeal in the hands of his abductors and explained that while the kidnappers were negotiating his ransom, they claimed responsibility for the death of an Ogbomosho hotelier, Gbenga Owolabi (now deceased) and that he (the abductee) would suffer a similar fate should his ransom payment process get thwarted by the police.”
On the death of the police inspector and kidnap of Professor Agbaje, the CP said, “On October 28, 2022, around 5pm, members of a kidnap syndicate who were reportedly armed with AK-47 rifles and some other sophisticated firearms attacked and kidnapped the don and seven other persons who were travelling along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“The dare-devil gunmen equally attacked a team of policemen heeding the distress call in a bid to rescue trapped victims on the highway; this in turn led to the death of an inspector of police who paid the supreme price in a fierce gun duel.
“The kidnappers later whisked the victims away to an unknown destination through the thick forest along the said Ibadan-Lagos Expressway, while their relatives were contacted for monetary demands in exchange for their liberty.
“Consequent upon the above, the command, in a technological intelligence-aided operation, with necessary support from Amotekun and other communal partners, apprehended the suspects, including commercial motorcyclists and couriers for the kidnap syndicate while retrieving ‘exchange money’ for other members of the syndicate around Ojoo area, Ibadan.”
He said it was later discovered that the money received from the victims were moved into the bank accounts of the three additional suspects for onward distribution to other members of the syndicate.
Osifeso added that a manhunt for other members of the gang had begun.