By Mitaire Ikpen
Abuja — Seven suspected members of a kidnap syndicate accused of complicity in the abduction of one Mohammed Khamis, a United Arab Emirates national, who was lured into the country for a phantom business transaction, were yesterday paraded in Abuja by the State Security Service, SSS.
The suspects reportedly held Khamis hostage for about 60 days at Aboriogun village in Ikoyi town, Isokan Local Government Area of Osun State, feeding him with fruits on the orders of other masterminds who are still at large.The SSS said it was still on the trail of four other persons identified as the masterminds of the abduction of Khamis whom they lured to visit Nigeria on January 20, 2012 for a ghost business transaction using a fake company, Finuche Investments.
The suspects paraded were Ojo Ibrahim Ajibade, a 29 year-old spare parts dealer; Lamidi Akinkunmi, a 29-year-old video cameraman who also practices voodoo; Olasunkanmi Temitope (a.k.a. Rasky), a 22-year-old saw mill worker and Nuremi Lamidi, another saw mill operator aged 25.
Others are Siyanbade Musibau Olalekan, a 29-year-old plank trader; Jelili Ajagungbade Adeleke (a.k.a. Owuye), a 33-year-old driver; and Saka Kashim, a 27-year-old motorcycle mechanic, who admitted to have taken the hostage on a motor cycle to Ibadan.
Parading the suspects before journalists in Abuja, Deputy Director, Public Relations of the State Security Service, Marilyn Ogar, said all suspects confessed to taking the foreigner hostage and would soon be charged to court while further investigations aimed at tracking and apprehending those at large continue.
Ogar said: “On January 20, 2012, one Mohammed Khamis Majed Ishmael Al Ali, a United Arab Emirates national, who was lured to visit Nigeria for a phantom business transaction by a fake company, Finuche Investments, was abducted by a kidnap syndicate and held hostage for about 60 days at Aboriogun village in Ikoyi town, Isokan LGA of Osun State.
“Upon receipt of the report of Khamis’ abduction, this service immediately initiated investigation. However, Khamis was released by his abductors on March 19, 2012 and dropped off in Ibadan.
“Consequently, on March 20, 2012, operatives of the service arrested the following persons aged between 22- 33 years in connection with the abduction.”
Ogar, however, did not disclose where the suspected kidnappers were apprehended nor the current whereabouts of the Arab expatriate.
Worried that Khamis was held in the Osun community for two months without his presence being noticed or reported by residents, Ogar implored members of the public to be wary of suspicious activities in their localities while expressing the determination of security agencies to rid the society of crimes and criminality.
Quizzed by newsmen, two of the suspects who spoke in Yoruba language, Ojo Ibrahim Ajibade and Lamidi Akinkunmi, denied that they were kidnappers, claiming they were only hired by one Teslim Raji suspected to be one of the masterminds at large who paid them an undisclosed sum of money to “guard” and cater for the hostage whom they fed for about 60 days with oranges, apples, banana and sardine.
The suspects said they got frustrated when they no longer heard from their employers and ran out of money for Khamis’ upkeep, after which they all contributed N2,000 and commissioned a member of the gang to transport the hostage on motorcycle to Ibadan where he was eventually released.
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