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An Iperu-Remo-based herbalist, Awokoya Ishau, yesterday confessed to newsmen that he specialised in preparing charms for kidnappers in Lagos and Ogun states.
Ishau was arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Anti-Kidnapping squad following the abduction of two Filipinos – Jamie Larcar and Mario Maglundo. The victims, who work with Mateco Industry West Africa Limited, were detained for nine days and only released after the gang collected N4 million as ransom.
Ishau, who was paraded alongside Ogunjobi Seun, alias Apa, and Yinka Adebanjo, aka Esho, said the gang paid him N200,000 for the charms and for housing the victims. They are said to be members of a seven-man gang that operates around Epe and Ajah axis of Lagos.
According to him, the gang was also responsible for the abduction of three Indians, who were released after N10 million ransom was paid. The 32-year-old father of one said the Filipinos were kept in his house for nine days before they were released after a ransom was paid.
“It was Yinka who introduced me to the gang. He first came to me for some protective charms two months ago. He said he often travels with his boss on a long distance tour and he needed some protection. I made some charms for him. He came back few weeks later with other members of his gang. I also made some charms for them, then we became friends.
“One day, Yinka called to say that he was coming to my place with his gang and two visitors. Initially, I never knew that the two persons he claimed to be their visitors were kidnap victims. I got to know this when on July 5, 2017, the gang arrived my house with the two Filipinos. On July 9, the gang returned with a bag containing some money. I don’t know the actual amount but they gave me N200,000.”
On how he was arrested, the herbalist said it was Yinka who led the police to his house. According to him, he never wanted to go into crime but that it was the financial inducement made to him by the gang that led him into it.
Yinka Adebanjo, aka Esho, admitted giving the gang information that led to the abduction of the Filipinos. “I am a driver in a construction company where the Filipinos work. I was attached to them by the company, as a result, I happen to know their movement. I provided the gang with information, which the gang used and I got N400,000 as my share of the N4 million ransom.”
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State command, Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the suspects, said they are also members of a ritualist gang. He said on the day of the incident, the gang pretended to belong to members of a vigilance group who were on the lookout for members of the dreaded Badoo cult group operating in Ikorodu.
“The gang positioned themselves when they sited the Infinity Jeep which the Filipinos were driving in. They ordered the driver who is also their member to come down from the car. They asked him to open the boot of the vehicle. While the driver pretended as if he was rummaging the boot of the car, another member of the gang took over the driver’s seat and zoomed off with the Filipinos still inside.
“They took the victims to the house of the herbalist in Iperu where they were kept for nine days. The victims were released on August 4, 2017 after collecting ransom. While they held on to the victims, the suspects removed their SIM cards from their phone and replaced it.
“Detectives from the anti-kidnapping unit of the command were able to track them to their different hideouts from where they were arrested. Items recovered from the suspects include charms, locally-made pistol, and a wooden box.
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