Kidnappers and Ritualists on the Prowl

Governor Ambode: After so much money, how far?

The state which prides itself as “The Centre of Excellence” is stripped bare by unbelievable number of kidnappings and ritual killings

By Akinwale Kasali

 Within a space of four days, two kidnappers and ritualists den was discovered in Ikeja, the state capital and Ajala, a suburb in the Sango axis area of the state. On Tuesday, 8th August, 2017, there was confusion at the popular Ajala bus-stop, in Sango area of the state, as residents uncovered an underground used by kidnappers and ritualists to perpetrate their nefarious act.

It was gathered by the magazine that early in the morning, the gang of kidnappers and ritualists had dragged a woman into one of the enclaves in the den when she raised alarm by shouting on top of her voice. This attracted a street sweeper attached to the Lagos State Waste Management Agency, LAWMA, who had the distress voice and ran to some area boys, informing them about the distress call she heard towards a certain direction.

The area boys were said to have mobilized with some residents in the area to the scene, but were unable to enter the dark tunnel.

Fortunately, some soldiers were driving on the expressway, but had to stop when they saw a crowd of people at the tunnel.  After failed attempt in entering the tunnel, the soldiers choked the underground den with fire forcing one of the suspected kidnappers attempting to escape through the other entrance before he was apprehended. Another suspect also tried to escape before he was  caught.

Policemen arrived the scene on getting information about the happening in the area. Working in concert with the soldiers, the woman that was dragged into the tunnel was rescued. The police ransacked the tunnel and discovered fresh human parts and roasted human parts. Some human parts were in polythene bags.

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Tears cascaded the cheeks of the crowd of people that stormed the area after the news spread like wild fire, on seeing human parts been displayed.The irate crowd at the scene unable to withstand the horror being displayed, pounced on two of the suspected kidnappers and ritualists, setting them ablaze.

Apart from the two burnt suspects, another two were choked out of the den but were prevented from being lynched by policemen and soldiers who took them away amid heavy protest from the mob.

Interrogation of the two suspects whisked away by the police and soldiers led to the unraveling of the den at Ile-Zik at Ikeja, the state capital.

Since the Ajala incident, residents and shop owners have been examining the activities of a man who had been living in the area and adjudged a lunatic by shop owners, residents and passerby. Two days after the Ajala incident, some curious residents summoned courage to check the shanty the lunatic was residing when he was away. As the men tried entering the shanty, the lunatic surfaced, preventing them from entering by displaying and brandishing weapons to scare them away. The determined residents overpowered the lunatic and shoved him aside, paving way for the party to enter the shanty and conduct a search.

Inside the shanty made of iron rods and polythene sheets, a human heart and intestines were discovered in a bag, as well as fresh soup and some wraps of fufu. The residents wanted to lynch him, but he pleaded to confess, that he was not the only one involved. It was then it dawned on the residents that he wasn’t actually mentally sick as portrayed.

The suspect took the residents to another shanty nearby that was similar to his own, where three other suspects were arrested. Discovered in the shanties were dry bones and decaying intestines  in a polythene bag.

Incidentally, the kidnappers caught at the Ajala scene had confessed to have other accomplices inIkeja, forcing the police to go to the scene, the same day the residents were also making their own investigation. On arrival, the police went to the entrance of the den and tear gassed the tunnel, forcing one of the suspected kidnappers to run out. He was arrested by the police.

The arrival of police saved the suspects from been lynched by the mob. The raided  tunnel was discovered to have students school uniforms, school bags, shoes, belts, weav-ons, fresh human parts and intestines. The four men confessed that they operated at night, targeting women, children and men whose vehicles broke down or are walking alone at night or early in the morning.

The suspects added that they usually overpower their victims, take them to an underground concrete soak-away with a slab, where the victims are killed and dismembered.

“After dismembering our victims, the human parts are put inside polythene bag with the prices of that part of the body pasted on the polythene bag. The price of any human parts ranges from N200, 000 to N500, 000 depending on the parts”, the suspects revealed.

The suspects were later whisked away by the police preventing them from facing the fate that befell the two suspected kidnappers burnt in Ajala, Sango.

The rise in the cases of kidnapping has become worrisome for residents of the state who now live in fear. The discovery of the two kidnappers den came few weeks after the rescue of the six boys kidnapped at Igbonla Model Secondary School, Epe, Lagos. The six students were kidnapped by gun men at their school over three months ago, before regaining freedom just three weeks ago.

Few months ago, alleged notorious kidnapper, Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike, aka Evans, was captured by the police. He was the brain behind several kidnappings in the state and country at large. Though, he is presently in the custody of the police,  several kidnappings in the state have been traced to him.

Similarly, last year, some students of Babington Macaulay Secondary School, Ikorodu, Lagos were kidnapped by gun men. It took days before the students’ regained freedom. Kidnapping has become an act that the people of the state are presently living with.

Funsho Adeyanju, a security expert says that the high rate of kidnapping in the state shows how porous the security of the state is. He stressed that since the Akinwunmi Ambode administration came on board as the governor of the state, he has spent so much on security, surpassing that of his predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola.

The Ambode administration established the Lagos Neighbourhood Security Watch, LNSC, to work with the police to strengthen security in the state. He also empowered the police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, the Army, the Navy and the Air-force by donating utility vehicles and other facilities to assist them in performing better in the state.

Yet, there is huge security threat in the state.

Security experts in the state insist there is laxity among those that are supposed to protect Lagosians.

There is probably no synergy among the security agencies, experts also say. This may have accounted for the lack of coordination, resulting in loopholes that criminals now capitalize on to commit atrocities.

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