Police arrest kidnappers of ex-UI DVC, LAUTECH student

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The operatives of the Oyo State Police Command have arrested the kidnappers of a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Adigun Agbaje, and a student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomoso, Rachael Opadele.

The gunmen had abducted Opadele and a hotelier in Ogbomoso, Olugbenga Owolabi, on July 29 and later killed the victims on August 2 after the payment of N5 million ransom.

The Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, SP. Adewale Osifeso, however, disclosed their arrest while parading 10 suspected kidnappers of the former UI DVC and the LAUTECH student at the command headquarters in Ibadan, the state capital on Thursday.

A total of 19 suspected kidnappers were paraded for kidnapping, killings of prominent citizens, and armed robbery offences at the police headquarters on Thursday.

Osifeso said the suspects were arrested after kidnapping another victim, a cattle dealer, Waheed Hameed, on September 16.

The police spokesperson said the suspected kidnappers, who have been terrorising the people of Ogbomoso, intercepted and attacked Hameed at a desolate spot, while armed with AK-47 rifles and other dangerous weapons and later whisked their victim away into a thick forest.

He disclosed that the suspects later contacted the victim’s relative and demanded N1 million ransom before he could be released.

Osifeso said when the command team got wind of the incident, it deployed all available resources in rescuing the victim unhurt with his abductors arrested.

“Sequel to this directive, operatives attached to the Monitoring Unit swung into action and in the process of combing the thick forest alongside local hunters and members of vigilance group, they stumbled upon where the victim was held captive and rescued him unhurt.

“The victim during debriefing narrated his ordeal in the hands of his abductors and explained that while the kidnappers were negotiating his ransom, they claimed responsibility for the death of an Ogbomosho hotelier, Mr Gbenga Owolabi, threatening that he (the abductee) would suffer a similar fate should his ransom payment process get thwarted by involving the police.

“The victim also gave other useful information to the police operatives and this led to the arrest of three members of the kidnapping syndicate,” Osifeso said.

He added that the command’s crack detectives arrested 10 suspected kidnappers linked with the abduction of Agbaje.

The former UI DVC was kidnapped alongside others on October 28 by gunmen in military uniform around Dominion University on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Agbaje was later released on October 31 after ransom was reportedly paid, while a policeman lost his life during the incident.

Osifeso said items recovered from the suspects included four AK-47 rifles, 75 K-47 live ammunition, two pairs of military camouflage, and N7.5 million cash.

He said the suspects had confessed to the crime, adding that efforts were ongoing to arrest other members of the criminal syndicate.

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