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Criminal Mind Herbalist mastermind kidnap of hotel MD

A traditional ruler cum herbalist has been arrested for masterminding the kidnap of one of his subjects.

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An herbalist has been arrested after it turned out that he was the mastermind in the kidnap of one Durodola Muwalu, a Managing Director of a popular hotel located in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State. The hotel MD was abducted on the 4th of December, 2014, by some armed men suspected to be kidnappers and whisked away to a shrine in Imobi, in the Ijebu Waterside area of Ogun State.

There after, the hoodlums contacted the victim's family and demanded the sum of N60m which was later reduced to N10m after negotiations.

But unknown to the kidnappers, the family had informed operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Lagos State Police Command, who encouraged them to continue negotiations with the kidnappers, while keeping tabs on every activity and conversation going on between them and the family. Consequent upon this, the detectives stormed their hideout on 15th December, 2014, and swooped on them. Felix Ikumuola, Gbenga Popoola, Adebayo Akibu and Azeez Olowu, were arrested while the victim was rescued.

During interrogation, the suspects disclosed that they were hired by one of the traditional rulers in Itokin area of Ikorodu, whom they named as Oni Adekoya, aka Agbogidi. They further revealed that Muwalu, the victim, was later discovered not to be the actual target, stating that their actual target was the owner of the hotel whom Adekoya accused of giving other chiefs cars but left him out.

While being paraded at the police command in Ikeja, a drama ensued between the suspects as they exchanged hot banters with Adekoya, the traditional ruler who claimed he is also a native doctor. Insisting he knew nothing about the kidnap, the other suspects affirmed that he promised to share the ransom with them had they succeeded.

Each of the suspects spoke about what they know of the crime. The herbalist/traditional ruler was the first to go:

"I swear by my profession as a herbalist, that I do not know what they are talking about. I have been a herbalist for 27 years."

It was Gbenga (one of the suspects), who called me one day to say that he wanted to kidnap Baale and I told him to go ahead. When the gang eventually kidnapped the victim, I was not there.

I later I received a call from them, informing that they had succeeded in the operation and that they were in the bush.

Three days later, another member of the gang, Azeez, called to inform me that they needed money to buy fuel for the operational vehicle. I asked him why they haven’t released the victim and they said it was because they were yet to get any ransom. I was afraid that they could kill the victim. I requested to speak with the victim on phone and they obliged me.

Earlier , Gbenga’s mother confided in me that her son decided to kidnap the victim because he offended him.

Gbenga is one of my clients. I knew him when he came to my shrine with his mother and wife, saying they needed me to carry out sacrifice for their unborn child. They told me that a Pastor directed them to carry out the sacrifice in order to ensure safe delivery for his pregnant wife. I prepared the sacrifice for them and they went their way.

Unfortunately the baby died few days after his wife put to bed. I later realized that they didn’t complete the entire process of the sacrifice properly. This was how we started interacting. I have no hand in the kidnap."

But before he could finish his narration, Gbenga Popoola yelled in anger:

"You are a liar! I was in a viewing center when I received a call from Ojurongbea (a member of the gang who is currently at large) that Baba Oni aka Agbogidi, had a job for us. I asked him why he wanted to kidnap the owner of the hotel and he said he was a fraudster and that his fraudulent activities had affected his herbalist business.

It took us three weeks to plan for the success of the kidnap. After we concluded plans for the operation, it was Agbogidi (pointing at Adekoya) who took one of us, Felix, to the venue of the operation before we struck.

On the day of the operation he did not go with us for fear of being recognized by the victim. What he did was to give us instruction on what to do through the phone.

I was the one who carried the pump-action rifle on that day. And I make bold to declare that Agbogidi and Ojurongbe contracted me to help them deal with the hotel owner. So for him to say he knew nothing about it is a big lie!

In actual fact, our target was the owner of the hotel. Unfortunately, his car was driven by the hotel’s manager on the day of the operation.

From the onset, I smelt trouble because on the day of the operation, I noticed some foul play from Agbogidi. When we discovered that the kidnapped man was not the actual victim, we were disturbed.

But we were reassured by Adekoya that we would get something good as ransom. Unfortunately, the family was yet to pay anything before we were arrested."00

Another suspect, Felix, also collaborated Gbenga's account, indicting the herbalist.

"I swear to God who created me that it was Agbogidi that contracted every member of the gang for this operation. He told us that the victim had money and that if we kidnapped him, we would make money out of it.

I personally asked him how much he was going to pay us for the job and he said that whatever amount paid as ransom would be shared equally among us. On two occasions, we even met in his office to discuss on the success of the operation.

He even assured that he would protect us if we were caught by the police in the process of carrying out the operation. He boasted also that he knew top echelons in the Police Force that would get us out."

Yet another suspect, Adebayo Abiku said they had to reduce the ransom out of frustration.

"We initially demanded for N60 million as ransom. But the person that was speaking with us begged that the amount be reduced because they did not have that much. But after a long wait in the bush and several relocations for fear of being caught by the police, we decided to first reduce the ransom to N10 million. Yet the family was not forth coming with the amount. We later reduced it to N5 million.

I participated in the operation because I needed money. I drove the gang during the entire operation. On that day, we blocked our victim’s vehicle while he was driving home and asked him to come with us."

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