Some Lagos residents have stripped naked and tortured a man, Kehinde Rasak, for allegedly stealing two siblings on Adekanbi Street in the Mile 12, Ketu area of the state.
The victims were identified as eight-year-old Mary and her younger brother, three-year-old Promise.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the siblings were running an errand for their mother when Rasak intercepted them on the road.
He was allegedly leading them to an unknown destination when Promise escaped and ran back home.
It was gathered that the suspect was spotted by Mary’s teacher, who queried him.
The suspect allegedly claimed that he was her father; but the teacher punctured the claim.
A next-door neighbour of the victim’s parents also faulted him.
A mob was said to have stripped Rasak naked, kicked and damaged his testicles.
His scalp was also reportedly broken after a hoodlum hit his head with a plank.
Mary told our correspondent on Tuesday that the suspect did not say where he was taking her to after her brother fled.
She said, “My mum sent me and my brother somewhere. As we were going, we saw the man. He asked where we were going and I told him. He said we should come to see him because he wanted to take us somewhere.
“After we bought what my mummy sent us, we went to see him and he held me by the hand. Promise did not allow him to hold him. He ran away.
“When we saw my uncle (teacher), the man said he was my father. My uncle said he was a criminal.”
A resident, who did not want to be identified, said it was difficult for the suspect to prove that he was Mary’s father because while he spoke only Yoruba language, Mary could communicate in only Igbo and English languages.
He said, “Mary started crying as the man insisted that he was her father.
“The teacher asked if he could speak Igbo language with the girl, but he couldn’t because he was a Yoruba man and did not understand Igbo language.
“Around that time, a man came and said he knew the girl’s parents. He gave the suspect a slap and told him that he was a liar.
“That was how people rescued the girl from his grip and beat him to a pulp. When the community elders saw that the beating was getting out of hand, they insisted he should be taken out of the area.”
Another eyewitness said the crowd did not allow the suspect to defend himself before hitting him with different objects.
“One of them said while they were struggling and working as bus conductors and drivers to make a living, the man was looking for a short-cut to wealth.
“He stamped his foot on his scrotum and his testicles were crushed. It was a gory sight. Others hit him with wood and iron. I was scared when one of the hoodlums put the man’s back against the median on the Ikorodu Road and slammed a plank on his head, forcing his scalp open,” he added.
Our correspondent was told that as the beating continued, policemen from the Ketu division were deployed in the area.
A trader, who witnessed the scene, said the mob attacked the policemen with stones after they fired into the air to rescue the suspect.
“The mob really wanted to kill the man, but the police were able to save him,” the trader, who did not identify himself, said.
Neighbours said Mary’s mother later got everybody angry when she sent her on another errand immediately she was rescued from her captor.
Residents told PUNCH Metro that there had been a surge in the number of kidnappings in the Mile 12 area, adding that some children had gone missing in the past few months.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident, adding that the suspect was recuperating in a hospital.
She said, “On Sunday, January 29, 2017, a young man, Kehinde Rasak, was rescued from a mob by the Officer-in-Charge of Mile 12 Police Post and operatives of the Rapid Response Squad. The mob had accused him of being a kidnapper.
“However, nobody produced any target or stood to complain. He was rushed for emergency treatment and was later referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, where he is receiving treatment. It was not a case of kidnapping.”