A suspected kidnapper, arrested by security operatives in Edo State, has said that he was apprehended at a food vendor’s shop while buying food for their kidnap victim.
The 35-year-old suspect, James Melayi, while speaking to journalists during his parade by the Edo State Police Command, said: “My friend Godwin brought the job, and my motor saw is bad; I needed money to fix it.
“We went to Ikara Primary School, Ologbo Community, near Benin, and met her teaching; we waited. As she was going home, we waylaid her with a double barrel and two cut-to-size guns.
“Thereafter, we trekked through a bush path to Ologbo River and used a boat to carry her to a hideout and started demanding N5 million ransom from her parents.
“About 8 o’clock at night, soldiers and vigilantes arrested me when I came out to buy food.
“They asked me to call and tell my guys to release the woman. I called them, they freed the woman without collecting ransom.
“I am regretting ever coming out of the bush to buy food for our victim; my other gang members are not facing the law right now,” the suspect lamented.
According to the police, the suspect allegedly conspired with two others now at large to kidnap the female teacher, one Lillian Ofonsare, at Ikara Primary School, Ologbo Community, near Benin on October 18, 2023.
“On 18/10/2023, at about 1200hrs, the Operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber Crime Unit, while responding to a distress call that one Lillian Ofonsare ‘F’, a school teacher, was kidnapped from the classroom when teaching her students at Ikara Primary School, Ologbo, Benin City by hoodlums who emerged from the bush and took the victim to an unknown place.
“The operatives, while using credible intelligence, arrested one of the kidnappers, James Melayi ‘M’, age 35 years. He made a statement and confessed to the crime,” police spokesman in Edo, SP Chidi Nwabuzor said.
The Edo police Command have apprehended a commercial tricycle (Keke) operator and five others for alleged gun running in Benin.
Parading the suspects before journalists in Benin, the Public Relations Officer for Edo State police Command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor said: “01/11/2023, at about 1700hrs, Police Operatives while acting on credible information on secret cult activities in the metropolis arrested one Godwin Idemudia ‘M’, age 27 years, who made a statement.
“He confessed to being a member of Eiye Secret Cult Confraternity, that he illegally possessed two locally made cut-to-size double barrel guns which he later sold to one Stanley Oleode through the assistant of one Tunde Bolaji.
“On 03/11/2023, the operatives while expanding investigation arrested Tunde Bolaji ‘M’, age 36 years, Stanley Oleode ‘M’, age 43 years, Innocent Odibhade ‘M’, age 36 years, Ali Bello ‘M’, age 42 years, and Akhere Ojie ‘M’, age 33 years. The items recovered from Innocent Odibhode are two locally made cut-to-size guns.
“The suspects made statements and confessed to being members of Eiye Secret Cult Confraternity. They will soon be charged to court.”
A member of Edo State Security Network (ESSN), allegedly involved in the act, according to the police, is now on the run after escaping arrest during a police undercover operation in the state capital.
Those in police net are the ‘Keke’ rider Innocent Odibhade, 36, Godwin Idemudia, 27, alleged owner of the two recovered guns which he allegedly sold through one Tunde Bolaji, 36, to Stanley Oleode, are Ali Bello, 42, and Akhere Ojie.
“I am an Eiye man (a cult member) and a commercial bus driver. I got the gun from one of my members Junior; he has traveled out of Nigeria.
“I needed money to take care of my sick child, so I contacted one of my members Tunde Bolaji to help get a buyer for my gun, so he did. I don’t know the buyer,” Godwin Idemudia stated.
On his part, Tunde Bolaji explained: “I am a truck driver; he actually sent a message to me on WhatsApp that he wants to dispose of his gun because his son was sick and he needed money to treat him. I introduced Stanley to him, and he bought the gun; that is all I know.”
However, the ‘Keke’ operator, Innocent Odibhade, said a popular vigilante in his neighbourhood implicated him by leaving the gun inside his tricycle without his knowledge.
“A vigilante in my area, Tony aka Ribobo, called me to go and collect something from someone; he was inside my ‘Keke’; after a distance, he dropped from my ‘Keke.’
“I didn’t know that he left a gun; he said I should collect something from someone at the junction.
“On my way going, a Lexus car blocked me; armed policemen came out and found the guy inside my ‘Keke,’” Innocent Odibhade explained