We kidnap children on their way to school’- Graduates turned kidnappers


They were three of them arrested for kidnapping, but it was the voice of Samson Shomorin that rang out and attracted attention as he and his partners in crime, Olalekan Benjamin and Gbenga Sholaja sat before journalists.
In a clear ringing tone, he snarled: “There are kidnappers who demand for million naira ransoms, nobody arrested them, but we that demanded for only N20, 000, are the ones the police now arrested. Can you imagine? I’m even ashamed that it was just because of N20, 000 that I was arrested.”

Shomorin however stopped ranting after he was asked if he knew the gravity and the penalty that kidnapping attracted. Shomorin and Sholaja are both graduates from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State. While Shomorin read Political science, his friend, Sholaja studied Accountancy.

According to him, he decided to take to kidnapping because he could not get any employment after his youth service. He also explained that it was his friend, Sholaja, who sold the idea of becoming a kidnapper to him.
The gang, which confessed that it had kidnapped up to three children, said that they were arrested after one of the kidnapped children, was able to locate where he had been kept a prisoner for days and brought his parents and policemen to the house.
Olalekan, who spoke at length with the Daily Newswatch, frankly confessed that he and his friends used to kidnap children on their kids way to school.

Further revealing their modus operandi, he said: “We used to stop them on their way to school, make friends with them and later start giving them money anytime we see them going to school.”
Once they are assured that the kids now trusted and see them as friends, they would kidnap the kids and start ransom negotiation with their parents.

Though the gang said it had only kidnapped three children, but police believed the children could be more.
Recalling the first kidnapping incident, Olalekan said: “The first kidnap incident was last year October. The boy was 10-year-old. We collected N100, 000 ransoms. The ransom was dropped at Sango-Ota, Ogun State. But we took the boy to KFC in Sango-Ota, where his parents went to pick him.

“The boy was going to school when Gbenga approached him. Gbenga was with a laptop. Gbenga stopped the boy and told him that he had liked him to teach him how to operate a laptop. Since then, anytime the boy was going to school, Gbenga would give him money until he finally kidnapped him.

“The second victim was at Ogun State. He was living not too far from where Gbenga lives. We told him that our mother seized our PS2 game, that we wanted him to assist us beg our mother to release it. We collected N160, 000 ransoms from his parents. The third one was the boy who landed us in trouble. He is a student of the Golden Triangle College, Kola bus-stop. We also befriended him on the road. We asked for N500,000 ransoms, but surprisingly, his parents didn’t want to pay anything at all. It reached a stage; we were even begging them to send money for us to use in feeding the boy.”

The parents were said to have grudgingly sent N20,000 to the kidnappers. The boy was kept in the home of Olalekan who lived in a two bedroom flat with his father.
Olalekan’s father stumbled upon the boy one day and ordered Olalekan to remove the stranger from his home. The suspect’s father did not know that the boy was kidnapped.

According to Olalekan, his father made sure that he saw to the little boy being removed from his home. Olalekan contacted his partners and a decision was taken.
They would cut short their losses and return the boy home. Gbenga took the boy and dropped him at Iyana-Ipaja. He left him at Iyana-Ipaja after giving him N500.

The little boy knew he schools somewhere around Kola area of the metropolis and asked direction on how to reach Kola from Iyana-Ipaja from people.
Detectives however refused to further divulge how the boy located where he was kept captive for days and his subsequently taking his parents and police to the place.

The Deputy Police spokesman, Ozoani Damasus explained that on July, 9, 2013, Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in charge of Igando Police Station, received information about a gang of suspected kidnappers living at No. 12, Olowojeunjeje Street, Egan in Igando area of Lagos state.
He added: “Based on this information, DPO Igando swiftly mobilised his operatives who stormed the above address and arrested one Benjamin Faniran Olalekan and transferred the case to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for further investigation.

“During the interrogation at SARS office, the suspect confessed and mentioned some of his gang members as Gbenga Sholaja and Samson Shomorin who are based in Alagbado Lagos and Owode Ijako, Ogun State, respectively. SARS operatives, led by SP Abba Kyarri swung into action and arrested the two suspects on September, 29, 2013 from various places of hideout.

They all confessed to have kidnapped three children. One from Omole phase 1, one from Kola Alagbado area and the last one in Owode Ijako, in Ogun State. Various amount of ransom were collected from the parents, ranging from N160, 000, N100, 000 and N20, 000 respectively.
“During interrogation, it was revealed that Olalekan Fanisan Benjamin is a jailbird who was imprisoned for similar case of kidnapping last year.”

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