By Ngozi Uwujare
Three suspected kidnappers, who had earlier escaped from the Correctional Centre in Edo State have been rearrested by police operatives in the state.
But that was not until they had committed some new crimes, according to the police.
The suspects Adebisi Femi, 24; Dele Meshack, 22 and Famous Johnson Osakpolor, 22, were said to have been involved in the violence that trailed the EndSARS protest. They were being detained at the Correctional Centre in Benin but escaped from the facility alongside many others on March 7.
On March 7, the trio thereafter kidnapped a certain police officer, Clement Amoko, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) who serves in the Edo State Police Command. The suspects abducted the officer in his house, handcuffed and blindfolded him and thereafter took him away. They later demanded a ransom of N1 million for his release.
They used the officer’s ATM card to withdraw N444, 000 at Iguikpe community in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.
The victim was also severely beaten and battered till he became unconscious. He sustained injuries on his head and his body. He was later abandoned by the kidnappers with the handcuffs in his hands.
But when the victim regained consciousness, he was able to crawl out of the bush. He was sighted by a good Samaritan, and some vigilantes assisted him and took him to the Ogida Police Station.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at the station ordered the removal of the handcuffs. He was immediately taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where a surgery was carried out on his head. He is still receiving treatment at the hospital, it was gathered.
Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Philip Aliyu Ogbadu told Saturday Sun that it was the Anti–Cultism Squad Commander, Mohammed Abubakar, a Superintendent of Police, and his team that stormed the hideout through intelligence gathering and arrested the kidnappers.
He said the three suspected kidnappers were arrested in Benin City on May 4, 2021. He said the trio had given details on hos they kidnapped the police officer, Amoko.
When the reporter visited the victim, who hails from Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, in the hospital, he explained how it all happened. Hear him: “It was God that was on my side. Otherwise, the three kidnappers could have killed me. I don’t know them. It was on the 7th of March 2021, when the three kidnappers came to my house on Ohen Street, Benin. They came to my house and fought me. My wife and children were lying down. Immediately they kidnapped me and put me inside my car, they discovered I am a police officer. They saw one pair of handcuffs and they handcuffed my two hands and blindfolded me. Then they took me to a forest in Iguikpe Community.
“They demanded N1 million ransom. They called my wife to send the money. It was my son who sent N444, 000 from my two bank accounts, UBA and First Bank. The kidnappers also collected my ATM card and used it to withdraw from my account. Immediately they withdrew it, they beat me to a state of coma. I sustained injuries on my head and my body and they abandoned me with the handcuffs in my hand.
“It was around 11.00am on Sunday, March 7 when we just came back from the church. They wanted to shoot me. Then they were demanding N1 million and I told them I don’t have. I told them I should call my wife and children to say bye-bye to them before they shoot me. I was shouting for help after they abandoned me in the forest.
“I started crawling and through the help of a Good Samaritan and vigilantes, I was taken to Ogida Police Station where the DPO assisted me to remove the handcuffs and I was taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where they performed surgery on my head which made me to survive.
“I have four years left to retire. I am serving at SIB in Edo State Police Command. My hospital bill is N880, 000. I want the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Baba Alkali to assist me with the hospital bill. The Edo State Command did their part. I need help. It has not been easy for me and my family. I was happy when I heard that the three kidnappers were arrested and I was able to identify them when they brought them to me.”
One of the suspects, Femi Adebisi told Saturday Sun: “I hail from Ore, Ondo State. I am a taxi driver and I have stayed in Benin for over 10 years. My mother married an Edo man. I was involved in the EndSARS protest, and I escaped from the Correctional Centre. I was involved in an armed robbery in Benin City on March 7, 2021. We are three members of the gang who went and kidnapped a victim in his house. It was when he used his car to take him away that we discovered handcuffs in the car. We identified him as a policeman. We used his handcuffs to tie his two hands and took him to our hideout in the forest in Iguikpe Community.”
“We started hitting him and demanded a ransom of N1 million from him. We called the wife and children to send the money. We collected his ATM card and used it to withdraw the money his son sent to his account. I went and withdrew the sum of N444, 000 through the ATM card and immediately we abandoned him in the bush.”
Another suspect, Famous Johnson Osakpolor also narrated his own side of the story. Said he: “I hail from Edo State, and I am into armed robbery. I have been involved in several robberies when the defunct SARS personnel arrested me after we had an encounter with them. I was remanded in the Correctional Centre. I escaped during the EndSARS protest and I became involved in the kidnapping of the police officer. We withdrew N444, 000 which we shared.”
CP Ogbadu assured that the three suspects would soon be charged to court.