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.How 78-year-old industrialist abducted in his residence was rescued by Oyo State Police

By News Express on 15/03/2015

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The National Life Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Chief Adebowale Omotoso kidnapped from his residence on March 4 has been rescued by Oyo State Police Command on Monday.

Though he looked distressed after about seven days in the kidnappers’ den, one could read it from his face that he was happy breathing the air of freedom again.

Omotoso, the owner of Bond Chemicals, was forced to leave the comfort of his palatial building at Awe in Afijio local government area of Oyo State for a rustic environment at Ajia, a remote village in Egbeda Local Government.

Apparently, not to arouse suspicion, the abductors took him into a dilapidated mud house where mosquitoes feasted freely on him.

The police, led by the Commissioner Mohammed Katsina, displayed uncommon bravery when they stormed the den and arrested the hoodlums. The hoodlums were seven in number. Two including   the ringleader escaped with bullet wounds.

The location is about 30 minutes drive from the main road. There were shrines within the house.

Those arrested are a mother of three, Bisi Babatunde (32), who was based in Port Harcourt, Oladipupo Abayomi (23), Alabi Olufemi, said to be the gang driver, Isiaka Kazeem, Ayobami Musa (23), Ajayi Olaniyi (40) and Shittu Olaide (28).

Omotoso told newsmen how the hoodlums stormed into his compound around 7.30 pm on March 4.

He said, “I was having a chat with my friends at home in Awe around 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 4 when we saw some people coming into the house. They demanded for dollars and threatened to kill all of us if we did not cooperate.

“I just returned from the US where I had gone for treatment.They took all they wanted and, just when we thought it was all over, they asked me to come with them. I was blindfolded and bundled into a waiting car outside.

“I was taken to an abandoned village house and I stayed there for four days before I was transferred to this place. I was told that they were taking me somewhere in Edo State and, because I was blindfolded on the way, I sincerely believed we were in Edo until this morning (Monday) when I was rescued by the police and they told me we were in Ibadan,” he recalled.

The only woman among the suspects is believed to be the initiator of the abduction.

According to the police, she was known as Vivian in Port Harcourt but she identified herself as Bisi Babatunde. She hails from Awe.

“I have been involved in fraudulent activities by posing to be a herbalist in Port Harcourt. I bought a car with the proceeds. I was involved in kidnapping in Port Harcourt but I was not fully involved in this one. We have offices in Port Harcourt, Lagos and so on. After returning home in Awe, I went to a brother called Laide and asked him to make charm for me.

“He told me that he knew Pa Omotoso and that I should call one Lucky to come and kidnap him because he had refused to settle his family for the death of his brother in his (Omotoso) swimming pool. I was given N750,000 from the proceeds. Lucky said N5.5m was collected from the victim’s family. Everything was of Awo (cult) level,” she confessed.

But Lucky reportedly played some smart game on them as he declared only N1million keeping the remaining N4.5m of the ransom.

CP Katsina said high-powered intelligence gathering led to the arrest of the seven suspects, noting that a special team, Ambush Squad, played a major role in the success story that the police had recorded.

According to him, the intelligence gathering that led to the discovery of the den took a whole week after which the policemen besieged the isolated mud house.

“It was the result of a week operation coming barely one week after my transfer here. It was a disturbing phenomenon. We launched Operation Hell Wind’ on the night that the matter was reported with help from the newly constituted Ambush Squad. We succeeded in locating the hideout and engaged the kidnappers in a shootout that lasted from midnight till the early hours of the morning when they were overpowered.

“We call on hospitals, traditional clinics and anyone with information on their whereabouts of the other gang members who escaped to contact the police. Some of these people came from Port Harcourt,” the CP said.

*Adapted from Vanguard. Photo shows Omotosho

Source News Express

Posted 15/03/2015 04:12:19 AM


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