A 26-year-old kidnap suspect, Abubakar Mohammed, a.k.a. Buyo, has explained how he escaped in a jailbreak in Oyo town in Oyo State in October 2021 and later joined a gang of kidnappers.
The confession came after the state police command arrested the suspect and two others at the Komu area of Oke-Ogun for kidnapping.
The two other suspects were identified as Abdullahi Umaru (22) and Babangida Mohammed Sanni, a.k.a. Dogo (30).
The three of them are Fulani but were born in that part of Oyo State. The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, at a press briefing on Tuesday disclosed how the command arrested the three gang members who had been responsible for various kidnappings with several millions of naira in ransom collected from the victims.
The PPRO said the kidnap gang had operated in Iwere-Ile, Abuja–Leather, Komu and some areas in Oke-Ogun before the three suspects were arrested.
Recovered from them were N400,000 cash being the share of ransom money found on two of the suspects.
Tribune Online learnt that before the arrest of the suspects, there were cases of kidnapping at Komu, Abuja Leather, Target and Iwere Ile.
The kidnappers, who were said to possess sophisticated arms, usually targeted miners.
After the suspects’ arrest, the police discovered that they had once arrested Buyo and charged him to court.
However, he escaped during Abolongo jailbreak in Oyo town in 2021 and relocated to Ghana.
Buyo reportedly confessed during interrogation that his gang was the one abducting people at Komu, Target, Abujaleather and Budo Musa.
He claimed that he was rearing cattle in Ghana when he was called by one of the kidnap gang members (name withheld) who asked him to come to Nigeria for a job.
According to Buyo, when he arrived in Nigeria, he joined the other gang members and they started operation.
Among those kidnapped is the owner of a filling station along Budo Musa-Idiroko road, from whom the gang collected N3 million before he was released after six days in captivity.
It was learnt that their leader (name withheld) did not usually follow them during operations but would be in the town to point at the person to be kidnapped and direct the gang’s movements.
Umaru was the one discovered to be the supplier of food to the kidnappers in the bush.
The gang also abducted a man on Komu-Budo Musa road and collected a N2 million ransom before releasing him after four days.
After the operation, the gang leader reportedly brought in new members who possessed two AK-47 rifles.
They were said to have kidnapped four sand loaders after failing to get their boss.
After screening, they released two of them and took the remaining two into the bush as hostages.
In the course of moving from one place to another in the bush, the kidnappers said they got lost because they were unfamiliar with the terrain.
Tribune Online learnt that it was at that point that Dogo was called in to show them the way out.
Dogo reportedly got to the bush and found them with guns.
It was gathered that after opening up to him, Dogo showed them the way and left but did not report to law enforcement agents.
The kidnappers reportedly collected N4 million as ransom from the families of the two victims before they were set free after four days.
Tribune Online learnt that Buyo met with Dogo and handed him N100,000 as his share from his own N400,000, as a form of appreciation for showing them the way out of the bush.
‘My first arrest’
In an interview with Tribune Online, Buyo said: “I was not into kidnapping before. A Fulani vigilante arrested me. He made enquiries about me when he stopped me and I told him I was a cattle herder. He asked where the cows were and I told him they were in Iwere Ile.
“I asked him what my offence was but he handed me over to the police. He accused me of robbing vehicle passengers along the roads at gunpoint. I was charged to court and remanded in Abolongo prison in Oyo town.
“I ran away from the prison when it was forced open by invaders in October 2021. The current gang leader was there at that time and also escaped. I went to Ghana and began herding cattle.”
‘How I got into kidnapping’
“I started this year after I was invited from Ghana by our gang leader. Initially, I told him I was not coming back to Nigeria but he kept persuading me. I came back and started kidnapping. It was that invitation that made me go into kidnap crime and got me in this trouble.
“We have carried out three kidnappings since I joined. I got N500,000 from the N3 million paid on the petrol station owner. I was given N600,000 from the miner’s N2 million and N400,000 from the sand loaders’ N4 million.
“Dogo didn’t know anything about the kidnapping. We lost our way in the bush and I just called him to show me the path I could take to get to Ilero, after lying that I got lost in the bush with the cows I was herding.
“When he came, he met the kidnap gang members and our victims. He asked what was happening and I told him that we kidnapped the victims to get money from them. He was not happy that I called him into such a thing but I apologised to him and pleaded with him not to expose me. He showed us the way and left.
“Two days after, I called him but he refused to come to me. He said I should see him within the town. After taking marijuana, I went to him with N100,000 which he initially refused to collect it. I begged him before he reluctantly did. I kept the remaining N300,000.”
How I was arrested’
“We were stopped by security agents and searched. They found the cash with me and asked how I got it. I confessed to them it was from kidnapping.”
‘What I do with my share of ransom’
“I spend my money by getting into town and enjoying myself. I would lodge in a hotel, drink alcohol and engage the services of commercial sex workers. I am 26 years old. I am not married. I agree that what we were doing is not good. I was lured into it by the leader. He is much older than me.”
When interviewed, Dogo confirmed all that Buyo said.
Dogo said: “I am 30 years old. I was born in Iwere Ile. I am a commercial motorcycle rider. I once picked Buyo as a passenger during Ileya festivity. I drank and smoked with him and he paid me N3,000 for the transport service. He asked for my phone number so that he could call me whenever he needed service and I gave him.
“I did not hear from him until he called that he was lost in the bush with his cows. I went to meet him and asked for the cows. He met me and took me to where they were. When we got there, to my surprise, I saw human beings, not cows. There were six men there sitting separately.
“That was when he opened up that he kidnapped two men. I told him that I wanted no part in the crime but he pleaded with me. I showed him the path to take to get out of the bush. As I was leaving, he begged me not to expose him. I promised not to but told him his crime would be exposed one day. I went home.
“Two days later, he called and asked me to see him but I told him to meet me in town. We met and he asked for where he could buy marijuana. Since I am also a smoker, I described a place to him. We went there and smoked. He bought some other things and said we should have a seat. That was when he brought out money and offered it to me. I refused the money and reassured him that I would not expose him to anyone. But he insisted that I should take the money. He said he was going to Saki so I took him on my bike.
“We were on the way when we were stopped by security operatives. Buyo’s N300,000 was found on him and when they asked how he got it, he said it was from the sale of cows. On searching me also, they found the N100,000 given to me by Buyo. They asked me how I got and I lied to them that I sold a cow. I did that so that I would not expose Buyo as the person who gave me the money.
“Not convinced, we were transferred to Ibadan where Buyo confessed and disclosed that he gave me N100,000.
My role — Umaru
“I was asked to bring food for the kidnappers in the bush. I knew what they were into. I was given N150,000. I had yet to collect my share the second time when I was arrested.”