Mukaila Dauda (herbalist), Ahmed Adebanjo, Tunde Akilo,(motorcyclist), Sunkanmi Dacosta and Lateef Agboola.
The visit of stern looking policemen in three vans to Odubotu compound, located in Okesopen area of Ijebu-Igbo,Ogun state, sent fear down the spine of members of the sleepy community. The armed men reportedly jumped out of the vehicles and positioned themselves strategically around the building.
Some of them reportedly stormed into one of the rooms, where they dragged out a herbalist identified as MukailaDauda. Not done, the policemen, discovered to be operatives from the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Ogun State Police Command, again, dashed inside the herbalist’s apartment, taking him along and conducted a search, in the process of which they reportedly came out with two AK 47 rifles, a pump action rifle, a barretta pistol, a cut-to-size locally made short gun and assorted charms.
The 46-year-old herbalist was subsequently whisked away in one of the police vans. The fear stricken neigbours later came out of their hiding, with expression of confusion and which needed clarification on their faces. The explanation was provided, following the allegation that the herbalist was a member of a kidnaps gang that had been terrorizing Ogun and neigbouring states.
Preliminary investigation, according to the police, revealed that the suspects may have been responsible for several cases of kidnapping in Ijebu axis. One of their victims, the herbalist allegedly told the police, was one Chief Alakoso, a prominent businessman, who was kidnapped three months ago around Emu Eleni area of the state and released after a ransom of N2 million was paid.
In this interview with Sunday Vanguard, Dauda, a father of six, disclosed that his role in the kidnapping saga was to keep abducted persons until ransom was paid, adding that he usually got N300,000 at the end of each operation.
He disclosed that some of the victims were rich clients who had come to him for spiritual assistance, while others were abducted in connivance with their relatives. According to him, most of the victims were not abducted with charms, which hypnotized them. The herbalist explained that rituals were performed on the kidnappers before embarking on any abduction trip, to enable them succeed.
Dauda explained why he joined the syndicate. “I am a herbalist. I have been into the profession for 25 years. I specialise in curing strokes and other ailments which are beyond medical treatment. At a point, business was no longer moving and feeding my two wives and six children became burdensome. It was at this point that I met Tunde Akilo, a commercial motorcyclist, and Sunkanmi Dacosta, who introduced me to kidnapping.
My role is to keep victims in my house, pending when their families would pay ransom. I never went out with them but I gave them names of prominent persons in Ijebu Igbo. Some of these people have patronized me.
“The first person that was brought to my house was one Chief Alakoso. He was brought in March, blindfolded. I got N300,000 after ransom was paid four days later, for keeping him in my place. This amount was aside my regular share from the loot because that was the bargain. Also, two Onipomo in Ijebu Igbo were kept in my place. I also gave their contacts to my members.