“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”, so says the holy book. This succinctly captures the unfolding details of this story in which a seven-man gang plotted, abducted and killed their Chinese employer’s father, identified as Defa Song who until his murder worked at Xin-Xin Energy Limited located at Odogbolu area of Ijebu Ode area of Ogun State.
Although the victim’s body has not been recovered, the suspects most of whom are employees of the company confessed to have dumped his body in the river when they discovered that he was dead while waiting for his daughter to pay ransom.
The suspects identified as Olalekan Jaiyeola, Adetayo Adeniran, Mustapha Animashaun, Ahmed Dabiri, Olayinka Jaiyeola, Akeem Lawal and Moruf Razor were all arrested in Ogun and Lagos by operatives of the police IRT.
The Chinese embassy’s push
Saturday Sun learnt that the detectives acted on a petition by the Chinese embassy in Nigeria alleging that one of their nationals was kidnapped in Ogun State. Recounting what happened to the police, Ms Hongli Song told the detectives that her father came to Nigeria last year and had been helping her to run the company. She said that on February 17, 2020, at about 1:30pm, her father was kidnapped while taking a walk outside their residential area. The kidnappers called 24 hours after to demand for a N50 million ransom. She claimed that on February 23, the kidnappers called again and threatened to kill her father if the said sum was not provided. She begged them to reduce the amount and give her time to raise the cash. She waited and the kidnappers did not call back while the number used to contact her was completely switched off.
Acting on the petition, police detectives were able to track down one Adetayo Adeniran who led them to pick four other suspects; Olayinka Jaiyeola, Ahmed Dabiri, Olalekan Jaiyeola and Animashaun Mustapha.
They told the police that they decided to kidnap Mr. Song because since he arrived Nigeria, their salaries were slashed and some of them sacked.
They said though they kidnapped him to extort his daughter but he died before they could collect the ransom. They claimed that the Chinese tried to escape and that forced them to tie him up without food, adding that the day after they tied him, he gave up the ghost. They packaged the body in a sack and threw it into a metal drum before contracting a fisherman who helped them to drop the corpse in the river.
Tales of evil
The principal suspect, Olalekan, in his confession at the police station, claimed that he decided to arrange for the kidnap of the foreigner because he felt that he was responsible for the termination of his appointment by the company.
“I am 34 and from Odogbolu area of Ogun State. I am happily married with two children. I could not finish my secondary school education because there was no money to pay my fees. I learnt how to become a vulcanizer and luckily I was able to secure a job with XinXin Energy Company in Odogbolu. I was working as a mechanic and a vulcanizer. They were paying me N60, 000 a month and I worked with them for three months before Mr. Song came from China. As soon as he arrived, he started changing a lot of things. He asked them to sack me that I am a thief. He was not comfortable that I bought a car less than three months but the truth is that I bought the car very cheap from my savings.
“After my sack, they only allowed me to work for them on contract basis. I would be invited if there is need and paid peanuts. I was lamenting my plight to one of the company’s security men known as Israel when he suggested that we should kidnap Mr. Song. His daughter is one of the directors of the company and will be willing to pay anything to save her father. I shared the idea with my brother Ahmed and he told me that it was a good idea and he would arrange some boys that will help out.
“This happened sometime in October 2019 and we held a meeting and planned how we were going to kidnap the man. We kept perfecting the plan till February this year when we agreed to pick him up. On February 16 as agreed, we were able to get a car and I picked up Dele, Ahmed and Adeniran to join us. As soon as Israel, the security man told me that Mr. Song had stepped out from their apartment for an evening walk, we ambushed him and abducted him. We took him to the house of one of us known as Moruf. Moruf lives in an area very close to the forest, so it was safe to keep him there. We contacted the daughter after 24 hours and requested for N50 million ransom. We were still negotiating with her when I received a call from Moruf on the fourth day that he is dead. I was so disappointed. We agreed to get rid of the body and forget the matter. I arranged for a drum, which was used to pack his corpse, which was first put in a sack.
We took the drum to the riverside and paid one of the trusted fishermen to dispose it in the river. To be sure that he does not report us to the police, Moses followed him to be sure that it was dumped where the waves can wash it far away. It is only Moses that can show the police where exactly the body was dumped.”
Confirming what Olalekan said, Ahmed added that they planned to kill the Chinese after collecting ransom but he died before they could get paid. “I am 29 and live at Agbowa Ikosi area of Lagos. I am an auto electrician at Xinxin Energy Company. Sometime in October 2019, Olalekan called me and suggested that we should kidnap Mr. Song. I was the one who invited Moses who is an expert and a member of Aye confraternity.
“On the day we kidnapped Mr. Song, we rubbed Aboniki balm into his eyes, and this was to force him to keep his eyes closed. Unfortunately, he managed to open his eyes and saw my face. It was then we agreed that after collecting the ransom that he must die. He saw my face and called my name. Unfortunately, he died before the ransom was paid. We disposed his body and went back to work in the company before police arrested us.”
Begging for mercy another suspect, Adetayo claimed that his only involvement in the crime was to drive the car that was used for the abduction. “I am 36 and from Oyo State, it was my friend, Olalekan that got me into trouble. I was desperate because I needed money for my wife’s surgery. Olalekan promised me that I would make so much money that will be enough to even start a business after the surgery. It was my phone that they used to do the negotiation.
While he was with us, we fed him with soft drinks and sausage roll popularly known as Gala.
“On the day that he died, he attempted to escape and that got us angry. As a result, he was given small beating and tied up. It was after we tied him up that he started gasping for breath. We thought that he was pretending. But when he suddenly stopped moving, we untied him and tried to wake him up but we discovered that he was dead. We called Olalekan and agreed to dispose the body. We squeezed his body into the drum and gave it to the fisherman to dump him in the river.”