The commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Lanre Bankole, has distanced his officers from claims that they help in facilitating ransom payments between kidnappers and their victims’ families in the state.
Mr Bankole spoke during the parade of suspected robbers and kidnappers in Abeokuta on Monday.
“If at all there is a case of ransom in any kidnap case in the state, that is not to the knowledge of the police,” said the police chief.
“The issue of payment of ransom when victims are kidnapped, to the best of my knowledge, if ransoms were paid, it is not to the knowledge of the police.”
Mr Bankole said when handling kidnap cases, the police’s first concern is the safety and wellbeing of the hostage.
“There will not be any point in rescuing a dead hostage and that is why we always rely on technological aid,” he continued.
“I cannot categorically confirm or deny that ransoms are paid but I can say this is not to the knowledge of the police.
“And in the course of our investigation, those of them who have been arrested, we try to go after them to see if there are money that can be traced to them and when we are able establish this, we bring them to court.”
Meanwhile, eight suspected armed robbers, two alleged kidnappers, and three murder suspects were paraded before journalists on Monday.
The police commissioner said a murder suspect, Saheed Ogundahun, was arrested on March 13 for allegedly killing a Fulani herdsman and secretly burying him on his farm in Ewekoro.
He added that the corpse has been exhumed during investigation and taken to a mortuary in Ifo for autopsy.
“On interrogation, the said Saheed, confessed that he shot the victim to death and buried him in the bush.”
The police also said two suspected kidnappers, Sulaimon Mohammed, 40, and Jato Bello, 40, are responsible for the numerous kidnapping activities within and outside Abeokuta, the state capital.
But Mr Mohammed denied any involvement in crime.
“I don’t know anything about kidnapping in Ayetoro or anywhere, I work at ’rounder’ here in Abeokuta. I have never kidnapped anybody.
“The person they are looking for might look like me, I am not a kidnapper.”
The CP stated that the suspects were responsible for the abduction of Ajibola Salimot on February 17 at her house in Ayetoro, among others who have identified the suspects as their abductors.
Also paraded was a group of armed robbery suspects: Moruf Abiodun, Fisayo Aliu, Usman Adeyemi, Daud Lekan, and Afeez Adesina who allegedly snatched a Toyota Corolla car in Iperu.
The police also said two suspects, Chidi Samuel and Paul Zakari, who are co-founders of a Christian fellowship group, Life Builders Network, allegedly killed a church member, Favour Okumazor, in Oyan village in Imala, Abeokuta-North.
“The suspects took some youths numbering seven away from their parents to an isolated area in Oyan village via Imala for what they called bible study and fellowship.”
The police boss said the suspects were arrested following a report by a parent who was alerted by one of the victims after he escaped.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999