A team of operatives from the police and the State Security Services in Ekiti State have arrested a self-styled pastor, Babatunde Balogun, and 12 other persons for allegedly running a kidnapping ring in the state.
They have also declared four other persons, Kenneth Ozoh, Jonathan Ozoh, Kehinde Adeleye and Sunday Ogunleye, wanted for allegedly masterminding the kidnap of a lecturer of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Femi Omisore and a catholic priest, Emmanuel Akingbade.
Mr. Balogun was said to have provided “spiritual counselling” to the suspected kidnappers and benefited from the proceeds from the abductions.
Two of the suspects arrested were women.
While jointly parading the suspects in Ado Ekiti on Monday, where the Governor Ayodele Fayose, the SSS State Director, Duke Fubara, and the Police Commissioner, Etop James, were present, the suspects gave confessional statements about their involvement in criminal activities.
Mr. Fubara, in his remarks, said one of the suspects, Gbenga David, a.k.a Oruma, was accosted by officials of the SSS in Osun State and was shot while making efforts to escape the scene. The suspect is currently being treated at an undisclosed hospital.
He said the suspects were caught as a result of a synergy between the SSS and the police.
“We could all attest to the fact that the kidnappers terrorized the state from the first week of May this year. Their activities brought a lot of trauma to the people,” Mr. Fabura said.
“Though, some of the victims have been released, but we did not give in. We did investigation and we increased our network and the result is what you are seeing today.
“What we found with the composition of these suspects was that some of them were inmates that escaped during the November 30, 2014 jailbreak in Ekiti.”
Also speaking, Mr. James said the anti-kidnapping Squad of the Command was working round the clock to prevent resurgence of kidnapping in the state.
Meanwhile, Governor Fayose appealed to the opposition party to stop politicizing kidnapping and other criminal acts. “It is a collective fight…we have to fight this together so that all of us can sleep with two eyes closed,” he said.
While commending the gallantry of the security officials, the governor said that Ekiti had been in turmoil since after last year’s jailbreak in Ado Ekiti, urging the security operatives to step up efforts to bring the escapees back to prison.
“Ekiti has been under great torment since last year jailbreak incident, but we want you to beam your searchlights on the neighbouring States like Delta, Osun and Ondo States because we had the trace that people used to come from outside to train our people here in kidnapping and make use of them,” Mr. Fayose said.
“If you study this very well, you will understand that the networks have been widened and we have to do everything to break it.”