Three members of a seven-man gang were paraded as the culprits.
The Directorate of State Security Service, SSS, in Benin City on Tuesday paraded three members of a gang of seven, suspected to have kidnapped the wife, daughter, and driver of a Supreme Court Judge, Bode Rhodes-Vivour, on May 10.
Also paraded before journalists were three others suspected to be extortionists and assassins who threatened to kill their victim if he did not pay a N700,000 ransom; as well as a musician, suspected to be trafficker in young girls across Africa and Europe for slavery and prostitution.
The Edo State Director of the SSS, Bello Bakori, told Governor Adams Oshiomhole that the suspects had confessed to the crime, while five members of the syndicate that kidnapped Mrs. Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, her daughter, and driver were still at large.
The director said the suspects kept Mrs. Rhodes-Vivour and her daughter in a house in Upper Sokpomba area of Benin City from where they (suspects) were arrested. All suspects were from Delta State, while the trafficker in persons hails from Edo State.
The Governor expressed surprise that despite government’s warning that landlords should screen their tenants to ensure that their property are not used by criminals, the buildings were allowed to be used by the suspects to hold their victims hostage. He said the building would be demolished as a deterrent to others.
“For the landlords, we have already made the decision that anyone that aids and abets kidnapping will have his structure demolished,” Mr. Oshiomhole said. “Any hotelier who does not follow instructions to document those who stay in their hotel and such facilities are used for kidnapping or human trafficking, we will demolish it. Nobody has the right to make money out of the pains of Nigerians.”
Mr. Oshiomhole expressed happiness that security agencies were able to arrest the gang that kidnapped the wife and daughter of the Supreme Court Justice, describing the feat as a major breakthrough. He added that it sends a very strong and important message to criminals that there is no more immunity for anyone caught engaging in any illegal activities.
“Majority of these criminals, about 95 per cent of them, are from Delta State. It shows in this business of crime, criminals are very mobile. No state can find a solution as they keep moving from one state to the other. When their colleagues hear that they have been put on trial, they would look elsewhere,” the governor said.
“This is something that people should take into account, that your own relation may well be the source of your problem. Your own cook may well be the source of your problem; your guard may well be the source of your problem. All of us need to be careful and not take anything for granted. The lesson from this effort is that when we report to law enforcement agents, they can be arrested, but when we pay ransom, then we are providing additional incentives for the criminals to remain in business. Every ransom we pay is an opportunity for them to do more. For me the message is clear, we must resist paying ransom. We must take law enforcement agencies into confidence. We must trust them,” Mr. Oshiomhole enjoined members of the public.
He also appealed to parents to ensure that they watch over their children, particularly daughters, as he heard that one of those arrested confessed that his business was to lure unsuspecting young girls with all kinds of promises to attract them into travelling, and in their innocence, they submit themselves to being taken across the borders where they are subjected to all kinds of dehumanizing experiences.