Police detectives from the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, SCIID, Panti, Lagos State have arrested a suspected kidnap king pin identified as Gabriel Ogunsawe.
Ogunsawe who hails from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, was reportedly remanded in the Kirikiri Prisons in 2013 after kidnapping a 4-year-old child from Amazing Grace Church in Palmgrove area of the state but was released later on only for him to continue with the act.
In a confessional statement, the suspect who is married with one child revealed that his first operation was successful but he was unfortunate at his second and third attempts.
He said, “My friend, Olayinka, whom I have known for 6 years, introduced me into the kidnapping business. He was the one who came up with the whole idea and my role was to collect the ransom from the parents of the victim. This is not the first time we have kidnapped little children.
“The first kidnap operation was in a Redeemed Christian Church in Shomolu area and it was successful. We were paid N300,000 but Olayinka gave me only N70,000, because according to him, we incurred some expenses, that was why he took the larger sum. Unfortunately, the second operation was unsuccessful as I was arrested, arraigned in court and remanded in prison from June 2013 to January 10 2014.
“In fact, I have engaged in three kidnappings. The first one was successful while the last two were not.
“Olayinka usually attends any church of his choice on Sunday morning,” Ogunsawe stated. “He would sit down and engage in the service like every normal member but all he does is to vigilantly look out for people he thinks could be rich and the moment he notices they have children, he tries to lure at least one of the children out of the church premises unnoticed, with toys and biscuits. After successfully abducting the victims, he takes them to another big church located very far from the church where the children were kidnapped.
“I was arrested after the second attempt when I was very close to withdrawing the ransom from the bank but my friend Olayinka, escaped. I was in Kirikiri for almost a year before I was released.
“On my return from prison, I was jobless and was thinking of a way out to fend for my family when Olayinka came around and lured me into it again.
“Honestly, no one needed to remind me to stay away from crime after my release from prison but I didn’t have a choice. When I was released, I was squatting somewhere in Akilo Street, close to Lady-Lak area with my cousin, Akorede. That was after I was ejected from the rented apartment where I lived because I was unable to pay the rent. My wife and son had to go live with her parents in Ota.”
According to him, they neither killed nor sold any child through the duration of their evil business, which they usually ensured that any child was kept safe in their custody until the demanded ransom was paid.
He continued, “We ensure that we get the ransom first thing on Monday morning before the child will be seen. My accomplice usually abandons a large envelope addressed to the pastor in the church with a phone number. Once they contact us through the number, we send our bank details to the victim’s parents.
“Olayinka in our last operation, initially asked the victim’s parents to pay N700, 000 but, they said they only had N250, 000. They later sent just N3, 000 worth of recharge card to Olayinka, according to him. He transferred N1, 500 to my line the next day after I confronted him for collecting the ransom behind me. And because what I got was so small, I shared it with my cousin; I transferred N750 worth to my cousin Akorede, who I was squatting with.
“We used an old registered line of mine for the transaction. It was that line that he used to transfer the air time to my main line. It was through the transferred airtime that Akorede was arrested, unknown to me. Also, I discovered that it was through his sister, Jumoke, that I was eventually arrested while I was sharing church handbills. Akorede and his sister Jumoke, are innocent and know nothing about the kidnap.
“I am a National Diploma Accounting student of Lagos State Polytechnic and at the same time, I do tilling jobs. I am a good man and I was only trying to make ends meet anyhow. I regret my actions. My mum is late, my father is alive but he doesn’t care. I have a son who is about three years and seven months old and I won’t want him to be kidnapped because I know the distress we subject the families to when we kidnap their children.
“There was a time when I had to speak with the mother of the child we kidnapped. I could feel her pain from the tone of her voice.
“My wife has no clue that her husband is a kidnapper and I am very sorry to put her through this dishonour and frustration. My family members are all disappointed. No one has come to see me since I was arrested.”