Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Seven suspected kidnappers arrested by men of the Oyo State Police Command in connection with the abduction of twins of a popular Ibadan-based Islamic cleric and former chairman, Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing), Alhaji Taokeek Azeez, fondly called Akeugbagold, were yesterday paraded.
The suspects included a 25-year-old social media handler for the Islamic cleric, Opeyemi Oyeleye, who was accused of being the mastermind of the abduction.
The suspect also comprised a couple, Mutiu Rafiu,35, and his wife, Modinat Rafiu, 29. While the husband was said to be an herbalist, the twins were kept with the wife and she was compensated with N20,000 from the N4million the abductors collected as ransom, for taking care of the twins while in their custody. The remaining suspects are Rildwan Taiwo, 30; Olumide Ajala, 36; Fatai Akanji, 39; and Bashiru Mohammed, 33. The abductors were said to have initially demanded a ransom of N50million
They were paraded by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Shina Olukolu, at Eleyele, Ibadan yesterday. The exhibits found on them included one locally made single barrel gun, eight cartridges, two Nissan Micra cars with registration numbers JJJ 703 BJ, allegedly used for the criminal activity and NRK 864 YR; an unregistered TVS motorcycle and cash sum of N2,863,000, said to be part of the ransom they collected.
Akeugbagold had announced the abduction of his little twins via his Facebook page on Sunday, April 26, saying they were kidnapped at about 8pm on Saturday, April 25 about 10 minutes after he left his house for a studio to record Ramadan lectures, and that the mother of the twins suffered delayed childbirth for 12 years before she gave birth to the twins, a boy and a girl, who are two years and four months.
The CP stated: “In the sensational case of the kidnapping of the two-year old twins of Alhaji Taofeek Azeez Akewugbagold on April 25, all the suspects have been arrested with substantial part of the ransom collected. The gun used for the operation, the two operational vehicles and one motorcycle were also recovered from them.”
Opeyemi, who was described as the mastermind of the kidnap, said he was not part of the abduction process at the initial stage, but he could not avert it when they later told him about it, adding that he thought he could mediate between the kidnappers and the parent of the twins before the police arrested him as part of the syndicate.
The herbalist, Mutiu Rafiu, however, said he deceived his wife by telling her that the twins were children of his friends, and that their parents fought and separated recently and that they were yet to decide on who to take the custody of the children at that time. He pleaded to the police to exonerate his wife because she was deceived.