- I used ransom money to treat my dad’s prostrate cancer – Ibara
- Ibara invited me for the job – Edu • Fashola pushed me into crime – Obi
By VINCENT KALU
IN one of the small rooms where operatives of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Special Intelligence Response Team confined suspects, Paul Ibara, alias Mopol, sings like a canary. His voice may not be shrill like that of a canary, but the regularity with which he shoots out words compares to that of a canary. As Ibara begins his story, he cuts the image of a responsible son who is truly after his father’s well-being. But Ibara’s streak for crime was let out by his partner in crime, Edu. Although Ibara said he got involved in kidnapping because of his father’s health, Edu shot that reason down and said Ibara actually brought the job that has landed them smack in cell.
Ibara, 36 from Akwa Ibom State, Tunde Edu from Abeokuta Ogun State and Ifeanyi Obi had kidnapped four-year-old boy, Alonge Oluwa Tumishe in January 2013 and smiled home with a ransom of N5 million. Five of them committed the offence, but two are still at large. They got N1million each. More than two years later, however, the long arm of the law caught up with the trio. They were arrested in Ishaga, Agege and Egbeda areas of Lagos State.
Ibara told Saturday Sun what he knew about the kidnap. According to him, crime was not in his character, but the condition of his father left him with no option than to look for solution. He said his father was dying of prostrate cancer and N800,000 was required for the surgery. He said he suddenly developed the idea that the only way to raise the money was through a successful crime.
It was a successful operation in 2013. But just as Ibara and his accomplices thought the game was over, luck ran out of them last month when the operatives at the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), arrested him and two other suspects, Ifeanyi Obi and Tunde Edu at their hideouts for allegedly abducting Alonge on his way to school at Ishaga area of Lagos State. The police recovered locally made pistol.
On how he got in to crime, Ibara, said that he went into crime because he wanted to save his father, who he said was diagnosed of prostrate caner. Ibara who lives in Ishaga with his wife and children said: “I went into crime because my father was sick. He had prostate cancer. When I was told that he was sick, I went home to see him and he was in a very pitiable condition and doctors said he had to undergo surgery.
“The hospital at Uyo demanded N450, 000 but they could not handle it and referred him (father) to a hospital in Ghana where N800, 000 was demanded. Since I had no money, I started thinking of how to raise money. I thought of a rich man in my area who has a very big school and planned on how to kidnap his son. Tunde Edu, who is also known as Otunba, is a very popular person in our area. He used to visit my wife’s shop and there was a time he told me that he was broke and was looking for money to pay his children school fees.
“When I briefed him about my plans, he told me that he was interested, but that he wanted to be sure if the man has money. I also invited two of my friends, Victor and Yellow from Abia State, who I knew during political rallies. I asked Victor to come with two registered SIM cards, which we would use to communicate with the victim’s relatives. I also contacted my friends, Ifeanyi Obi, who sells spare parts at Ladipo market that he would provide the vehicle which we will use for the operation.
“Victor brought a gun, while Otunba also brought a gun he said belonged to his father. A day before we kidnapped the boy, we met in my wife’s shop and concluded our plans. I told them I would be the one to monitor the boy’s movement, while they will adduct him. The next day, when the boy was on his way to school, I called and informed them and they kidnapped the boy at the entrance of our street. They took him to Abeokuta and kept him in Tunde Edun father’s house. I got the victim’s father’s phone number from a student that attends his school and demanded N10million.
“The man told me that he does not have such money and he paid us N5milion after four days and we picked the money along Abeokuta road. We asked the man to put on his rear lights and when we saw the vehicle we asked him to drop the money by the side of the road. We kept to our own side of the bargain by releasing the boy that night and we shared the money equally. We all got N1million each and I sent N700, 000 to my father and the surgery was conducted successfully. Last month, Ifeanyi called me and when I met him, he brought the police and I was arrested.”
In the same vein, Obi and Edu, confessed that poverty pushed them into crime, and blamed Ibara for luring them into the gang. Edun, a native of Abekuta, Ogun State, married with two children, blamed Ibara for getting him involved into crime. “I am a club bouncer and I reside at Agege. I have a National Diploma in Estate Management from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic. It was Ibara that invited me for the job. I had approached him in the past and told him that I wanted a job and I asked him to assist me.
“Two weeks later, he called me and said someone was owing him some money and that I should assist him arrest the person’s child and when the person pays him that he was going to give me my percentage. He told me that we needed a gun for the operation and I told him that my father has a gun. I went to our home town and took my father’s gun. On the day of the operation, I was in the car with Ifeanyi and the two guys Ibara stopped the car that was taking the boy to school. We threatened them with my gun, abducted and took him to my father’s house before the ransom was paid,” he explained. On what he used his share of the ransom to do, Edu said, he rented an apartment and also paid his children school fees. On how he was arrested, he told Saturday Sun that after the operation, he stopped seeing Ibara and Ifeanyi, saying, “I was arrested at a filling station where I was controlling crowd. I didn’t know what I did was kidnapping. I was only trying to assist a friend,” he lamented.
Confessing, Ifeanyi, 32, from Abia State, said the former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, pushed him into crime. Obi, stated that his shop at Ladipo spare part market was demolished by Fashola in 2012 and he became frustrated. He lamented that his frustration led him to Ibara who eventually led him to kidnapping. “I am not married. I came to Lagos in 2008. I’m not educated. I am from a very poor family. After serving my boss for seven years at Ladipo, he settled me with his shop and some money. From there, I started doing my own business. One of my customer’s told me that he wanted to sell his Mitsubishi Montero SUV, 1986 model and I paid N110, 000 for it .
“On December 28, 2012, I was at my village and I got the news that Fashola had demolished our shops. When I returned to Lagos, I couldn’t find any of my goods. Few days later, one of my customers called me to bring spare parts for him at Abbatior, opposite an RRS base. From there, he took me to the shop of Ibara’s wife and introduced him to me and we became friends. “I told him that I wanted to sell my SUV and I needed money to start afresh because all my money was in my shop when it was demolished; more so, I stocked my shop before travelling for Christmas . He told me that there was job that would pay me good money. He told me that the man was very rich and if we kidnap his son he was going to pay us well. After the ransom was paid, I was given N700,000. So this is how I’m going to end,: he said.