Christopher Osoba, 38, and one Emmanuel Okenze, aka Coach, have been arrested by the police for allegedly kidnapping a student, Olamilekan Ogunbiyi, 21.
It was gathered that Osoba was the personal assistant to Olamilekan’s father, Abayomi Ogunbiyi.
It was learnt that Abayomi had sought to get his son to travel abroad when Osoba volunteered to help.
Our correspondent gathered that Osoba linked up the family with Okenze, who claimed to be a travel agent.
While the victim’s father was said to have paid Okenze, N900, 000 and N300,000 at different times to facilitate the travel, the men, with some other suspects, were said to have connived and kidnapped the victim.
A police source said, “In August 2013, the boy’s father asked his PA (Osoba) to accompany the boy to the airport. They indeed got to the airport.
But they cast a spell on him and he lost his mind. They asked the boy to go to Coach’s (Okenze) house. They ordered him around and he could not reach his family again.
Meanwhile, they had told his father that the travel was successful and they started collecting money from him under the pretext of it was being sent to Olamilekan.”
Our correspondent learnt from the source that each time the father asked to speak with his son, they lied to him that Olamilekan could not be reached where he was.
The syndicate was alleged to have collected different sums from the family.
The source added that:
“Sometime in June, the boy regained his consciousness.
He got a phone with which he contacted his father and narrated his ordeals. His father could not believe that his son was still in Nigeria.”
The police were said to have been alerted, leading to the arrest of Osoba and Okenze.
Police investigations revealed that the suspects, and others who were at large, had allegedly collected more than N6m from the victim’s father.
The police arraigned them before an Ebute-Meta Chief Magistrate’s Court on seven counts of kidnapping, stealing, obtaining money and accessories after facts.
The charges read in part:
“That you, Christopher Osoba, Emmanuel Okenze, and others now at large, sometime in the month of August 2013, at Bajulaiye Olayinka, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did unlawfully capture and detain one Olamilekan Ogunbiyi against his will and thereby committed an offence.
That you did obtain the sum of N3.1m from one Abayomi Ogunbiyi, that you are in a position to take his son, Olamilekan Ogunbiyi, to Uzbekistan and Romania, a representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence.
That you did conspire among yourselves to conceal the information relating to Olamilekan Ogunbiyi, to the fact he travelled to Uzbekistan and Romania, which to your knowledge is false and thereby committed an offence.”
The police prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor, from the Department of Criminal Investigation, said the offences were punishable under sections 409, 269, 285, 312, 98, 115 and 413 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Their defence counsel urged the court to admit them to bail in liberal terms.
The Chief Magistrate, I. O. Adelaja, admitted them to bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum.