One of the arrested kidnappers who abducted the Oniba of Iba land, Oba Goriola Oseni has narrated how they kidnapped the monarch and successfully collected ₦15.1 million ransom before releasing him.
The monarch was released on Saturday by his abductors after spending three weeks with the kidnappers at the creek.
Oba Oseni was kidnapped on July 16 in his palace. The kidnappers shot a guard, Sunday Okanlawon and the monarch’s younger wife. Okanlawon later died of gun shot wounds.
Ododomu and Toba Forejo, both from Ondo State, were paraded by the police at the State House, Ikeja, yesterday.
The police have arrested two of the suspected kidnappers and were paraded at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Sunday. The two suspects are Toba Forejo and Isaiah Ododomu.
Narrating the account to newsmen on how they kidnapped the oba, Ododomu said nine people went to the palace to kidnap the oba on that fateful day.
He gave the name of those who went to the palace to kidnap the oba as Toba, Igodo, Mighty, Folly and Sam, while one Micah who is a leader did not go with them because he “he has a babe with him at home.”
He explained that the kidnappers were armed with two AK-47 riffles and three pump action guns which they used during the kidnapping.
Ododomu, who said he used to be a bunkerer, explained that since the bunkering business had been stopped, they decided to go into kidnapping.
He disclosed that the kidnappers first collected N12 million ransom and later demanded for another ransom and were given N3.1 million extra, making a total of N15.1 million which they shared among themselves.
“I am a bunkering man, when this government stopped the bunkering business, our leaders fomed another group and we started kidnapping to manage ourselves. I am a married man and I don’t have any job to cater for my family. When we started the kidnapping business, whenever they collected N500,000, they will give me N20,000.
“After this one, Toba, Igodo, Mighty, these eight people, went to Iba junction, they kidnapped the king, after they kidnapped him, they demand for N500 million, after that they reduced it to N40 million. They gave them N12 million at the first time. After that we gathered and shared the money.
“All our senior people got the lion share of the money. They gave Toba N1 million, all those Igodo, Micah, they collected N2.5 million and so on; for me, they gave me N100, 000,” he explained.
He added that after he travelled and came back, some of them agitated that the money given to them was small and decided to demand for the remaining N28 million balance, but noted that he was the one who prevailed on them to collect anything from the monarh’s family so that they could disperse before they were arrested.
“I told them that we should collect any amount and decamp because they can arrest us. Because of me, they agreed to collect N3, 100,000. The family of the oba brought the money and they dropped it for us at Igbehinadun water side. We went there and brought the money and they gave me N100,000. Toba and the others shared the remaining money. Our base of operation is at Izegemo creek in Ikotun area,” he explained.
Ododomu said he was the one who paddled the oba on the water to Iba while the others fled and that he was arrested.
One of the prime suspects, Toba Ferejo also said they were nine people who kidnapped the monarch, saying that he was arrested at Iyana School area
Ferejo confirmed that nine people participated in the monarch’s saying that he was arrested at Iyana School area.
Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode vowed that those involved in the monarch’s abduction would be punished in accordance with the law.
Ambode, in a statement read by the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said the kidnap of a monarch in Yorubaland was a sacrilege.
He hailed the police, saying the investigation has been painstaking and purposeful to ensure that the kidnappers were apprehended.
“Permit me to state that the kidnap of an Oba in Yoruba land is a sacrilege and a complete desecration of the cultural values of the Yoruba people that must not go unpunished,” he said.
According to him, “the arrest of the suspect is a clear warning to criminal elements that the state government value and cherish the Yoruba tradition and will leave no stone unturned to ensure that it is protected.”
He also commended the ongoing operation Awatse designed to flush out militants and criminals that have been terrorising riverine communities in the state.
“This operation is yielding desirable results and will continue until those criminal activities are completely stamped out,” he said.
Commissioner of Police (CP) Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said:” We have always reiterated that it is not about whether ransom was paid or not. If it is about ransom, suspects would not be arrested. And what I would say is that pressure by the Lagos Command, and the special team of the Inspector-General of Police from Abuja paid off. The most important thing is that Kabiyesi is in his palace.
“As to his state of health, I was with Kabiyesi till about 12 midnight and I can tell you emphatically that Kabiyesi is hale and hearty and he is very strong, and nothing is wrong with him.
“What we want to do is to thank and appreciate the understanding of the family. They have been cooperative with us to get the Kabiyesi out of the hands of his abductors hale and hearty.”