By Chioma Okezie-Okeh
Twenty-three-year-old Ayobamidele Kudus Ayodele is a young man, but he doesn’t seem that young in the business of kidnapping. He is good at abducting children from schools in exchange for ransom from parents or school owners.
On November 16, 2021, he successfully picked one six-year-old Ebube Eze, a student of Remson Group of schools at Ojo Alaba area of Lagos. He detained the boy in a hotel for four days until the boy’s parents were able to raise N550,000 as ransom.
But he has since met his waterloo. His reign was brought to an end after he was tracked down and arrested by operatives of Force Intelligence Response Team headed by Tunji Disu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police. According to our police source, Ayodele was declared wanted after the father of his latest victim, Afam Eze wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police as soon as his son was released by his abductor.
In the petition, Afam who resides at Ojo Alaba area of Lagos State, stated that on November 16, at about 9am while he was at Trade fair area, he received a call from his wife crying that their six-year-old son, Ebube Eze is missing.
He claimed that as soon as he arrived, the headmistress received a call from the abductor that one of her students was with him. The caller requested for N200, 000 if they wanted the boy back. They negotiated and agreed to pay N150,000 and Mr. Afam immediately credited the Access bank account with the name Ayobam Kudus Ayodele.
They were directed to Ajangbadi junction and after waiting for about four hours, the family received another call from their son’s abductor demanding for N2million. He was warned that if he wanted to see his son alive, he should hurry up. The abductor told Mr. Afam that they have several children in their custody.
After negotiating with him for four days, the sum of N400.000 was transferred to the UBA and Access bank. N100,000 and N300,000 was paid into the accounts respectively. As soon as he confirmed receiving the money, he asked the parents to come to Igbo-Elerin Roundabout where the happy boy was reunited with his parents.
Back home, Mr. Afam registered the number of the abductor on his WhatsApp and a picture appeared on the display picture section. Ebube confirmed that the man on the picture was the one that kidnapped him.
He petitioned the IGP who directed the police to investigate. Luckily the detectives at the IRT South West Annex were able to track down the suspect in his father’s house at Mowe area of Ogun State. He confessed to the crime and took the police to the lounge where he kept the boy for three days. The lounge manager told police that they were worried when he stayed with the boy for days but he claimed that he is the father of the child.
He was also found with a national identity card with the name Bode Oluwaseguo and his personal picture.
I kept him busy with games and food
A native of Ijebu-ode in Ogun State, Ayodele told Saturday Sun that he is a self-trained kidnapper and he got the skill by watching Nigerian movies.
His words: “I am 23 and I attended Adeso Community High School in Ogun State. I am very intelligent and I did very well as a science student.
“Unfortunately, life became so hard that my family had to move into one village in Mowe where we got an affordable accommodation. I started by hustling at Alaba International Market to survive. I will attract customers and I will be given commission.
“Zubi Michael is my favourite Nollywood actor and he is good at kidnapping scenes. I am from a responsible family and if I try to do anything with others, I might be caught. So, I decided to try out some of the methods used by Zubi to kidnap children and adults in the movies.
I started by visiting several schools around Ojo to see the possibility of picking children without anyone noticing. I decided to try my luck on November 6. I visited one school that is close to Alaba International market and stayed by the gate. I saw a teacher passing by and he asked me what I was doing there. I was about to tell her that I wanted to make inquires about the school but she immediately asked if I was there to register my child in school. I said yes and she told me to hold on that the children were writing their exams.
“She came out few minutes after and gave me a form. She also gave me her phone number and asked me to return with the child in January. As soon as she left, I waited around a bit and noticed two kids coming to school. The boy was holding a cane, I stopped him and chatted them. I took the cane from the boy and asked him to tell me where he bought it. He said that it was on their way. I asked him to go and drop his bag and come back and show me the place. I whispered into his ears that I was going to buy plenty things for him. I told him not to tell the sister and he agreed. He went inside dropped his bag and came out.”
He convinced little Ebube to board a bike to the place where the cane is sold. “He was happy to climb on a bike with me and we drove straight to Alabarago junction. I gave him my phone that had a lot of games in it and he was so excited. I immediately called that teacher and told her that I abducted one of their students. I asked for N200,000 ransom and they begged to pay N150,000. I sent an Access wallet account number to the father of the child and he did not waste time and paid the money. I felt that I could get more money from the family since N150,000 was very easy for them to pay.
“I took the boy to another area called Magbo and called the father requesting for N2million naira. I bought ice cream, chicken and plenty things for the boy and assured him that I would take him back to school. I told him to call me daddy as that was my name.
“To avoid drawing attention to myself, I took him to Saudlat Lounge at One Love Unity Estate, off Igbanla, Idi Agbalumo, Ilogbo Eremi, Lagos. The receptionist asked if this was my son and I said yes. She was also convinced when the boy called me daddy. We took a room and I paid N5000 per night.
“We spent four days there before the family was able to raise N400,000. The boy stayed calm except once when he told me that his mummy would be angry that he came home late. I assured him that it was his parents that asked me to take him along. I made sure he had access to my phone and played all the available games. He did not leave the room for the four days and the hotel management did not notice that he was only wearing his school uniform.”
Begging for mercy, Ayodele swore that this was the first time he had succeeded in kidnapping a child. “I am so sorry that I caused the family so much pain. I am not a cultist or an armed robber. I do not have a gang. I just trained myself by watching Zubi Michael. My parents trained me very well, I was just impatient and greedy. I am really sorry.”
He claimed that the National Identity Card bore a different because he needed another identity to open another bank account for future use. “The identity card is not fake. I just secured it in case banks block my account.”