Three week after the Oniba of Iba land, Oba Goriola Oseni, was abducted, a crack team of security operatives from Lagos State Police Command at the weekend secured the monarch’s release and arrested two suspects who narrated how they collected N15.1 million ransoms from the monarch’s family.
The suspects, Toba Forejo and Isaiah Ododomu, gave account of how they broke into the monarch’s palace and kidnapped him on July 16 after they were paraded yesterday at the State House, Alausa by security agents.
The suspects, who claimed to be indigenes of Ondo State, said a gang of nine armed men broke into the palace and kidnapped the monarch on that fateful day, noting that the monarch spent three weeks in the creeks with them.
In his account, Ododomu named others in the armed gang to include Toba, Igodo, Mighty, Folly and Sam, adding that one Micah, who is a leader in the group, did not go with them because he was with his girlfriend at home.
He explained that the kidnappers were armed with two AK-47 rifles and three pump action guns which they used during the kidnapping. He said he was into illegal oil bunkering before he joined the armed gang.
Since the bunkering business had been stopped, Ododomu explained that they decided to go into kidnapping.
He disclosed that the kidnappers first collected N12 million ransoms and later demanded another ransom and were given N3.1 million, making it N15.1 million, which they shared among themselves.
The suspect explained that: “I was into bunkering, and when this government stopped the bunkering business, our leaders formed another group. We started kidnapping for livelihood. I am a married man. I do not have any job to cater for my family.
“When we began kidnapping, whenever they collected N500, 000, they will give me N20, 000. After this one, Toba, Igodo, Mighty and others went to Iba junction and kidnapped the king.
“After they kidnapped him, they demand N500 million as ransom. They later reduced it to N40 million. They gave them N12 million which we later shared.
“All our leaders got the lion share of the money. Toba got N1 million while Igodo, Micah and those in their rank got N2.5 million each. They gave me N100, 000.”
Ododomu said some of them agitated that the money given to them was small and decided to demand the remaining N28 million balance. However, he said he was the one who prevailed on them to collect anything from the monarch’s family so that they could disperse before they were arrested.
He said: “I urged them to collect any amount and decamp because we could be arrested. Because of me, they agreed to collect N3, 100,000. The family of the monarch brought the money to Igbehinadun water side.
“We collected the money and they gave me N100, 000. Toba and others shared the remaining money. Our base of operation is at Izegemo creek in Ikotun area.”
Ododomu said he was the one who paddled the monarch to Iba while others fled as he was later arrested.
Ferejo, another suspect, confirmed Ododomu’s account, acknowledging that a gang of nine armed men actually forced their way into the palace and kidnapped the monarch. He said he was arrested at Iyana School area of Lagos.
After the suspects were paraded yesterday, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, said those who kidnapped the monarch would be punished severely.
Ambode, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, said the kidnap of a monarch in Yorubaland “is a sacrilege and desecration of the cultural values of the people, and it must not go unpunished.”
Ambode, however, said the monarch “was released in good health and had been reunited with his family. The arrest of the suspect is a clear warning to criminal elements that we value and cherishour Yoruba tradition and will leave nothing to chance to ensure that it is protected from violation by those who have desecrated our values.”