The police in Abuja have recovered N7m from a gang of kidnappers who abducted a lady in Maitama, Abuja, and held her hostage at their hideout in a hotel in Sokoto State.
The suspects, who were paraded by the Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, Mohammad Mustafa, on Wednesday, received N7m from the parents of their victim.
The kidnap suspects, who included Ifeanyi Paul, 34; Chukwuemeka Michael, 28; Matthew Obi, 29; Husseini Abdullahi, 35; and Musa Lawan, 27; were apprehended at a police checkpoint in Talata-Mafara, Zamfara State, after a manhunt by operatives of the FCT and Zamfara police commands.
The CP said, “On July 27, 2016, the gang waylaid and kidnapped a lady from Maitama in Abuja and took her to a guest inn in Sokoto where she was held hostage and locked up in a toilet.
“The culprits then contacted the victim’s family and demanded N15m as ransom, which was later reduced to N7m after much negotiation with her family. While this was going on, a team of eagle-eyed police detectives kept vigil as the suspects made frantic efforts to pick up the ransom at a location in Zamfara State. Suffice to say that the ransom was, in this case, a bait by the police to lure the suspects out of their hideout.”
The police boss added that the victim was rescued at a boundary between Zamfara and Sokoto states after the suspects’ vehicle was involved in an accident and the suspects abandoned it to escape in another car.
One of the suspects, Paul, denied the allegation.
He said, “It was one Alhaji Usman, a politician, that invited us to come to Sokoto.
“He asked us to go and guard the lady, who had already been kidnapped. Initially he invited us from Onitsha to come and work for him and we thought it was a good job. We didn’t know it was this kind of job. On our way back, the police arrested the three of us.”
Paul, who claimed to have just returned from Malaysia on a business trip, said he had a shop in Onitsha, Anambra State, where he dealt in electrical cables.
Michael, however, insisted that he knew nothing about the crime, noting that he was arrested because of his relationship with Paul.