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Police arrest pharmacist over alleged kidnapping


Arms and ammunition recovered from the suspects

The police in Lagos at the weekend arrested a pharmacist over his suspected involvement in the kidnap of his boss, one Donatus Duru, the owner of a multi-national pharmaceutical company at Ilupeju area of Lagos State.

The businessman was abducted close to his office in Ilupeju on February 14, 2017 and taken to a hideout after which his abductors demanded one million Euro (N500 million) for his release. 

The family later paid N150 million but they insisted on the completion of the ransom, failing which they threatened to kill him. The suspect, simply identified as Emeka, reportedly conspired with other members of the notorious kidnap gang, led by their dreaded kingpin, one Evans, to abduct his boss around 8:00p.m. that day.   

He was kept in their hideout at Igando area of Lagos while both the anti-kidnapping team in Lagos State police command and Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), were making efforts to locate and free him.

However, last Friday, the victim miraculously escaped from their hideout and alerted police detectives at the Lagos State anti-kidnapping unit, who stormed the hideout and recovered large cache of arms abandoned by the fleeing kidnappers. 

Police sources told newsmen that the victim, who has gone into hiding with members of his family for fear of being attacked again by the fleeing members of the gang, narrated gory details of his escape from the kidnapper’s den at Igando.

According to the source, “the victim said that a few days after he was abducted, he over heard the voice of a pharmacist, Emeka, who has been under his employ for long, discussing with his abductors in an adjoining room. He said he heard him asking members of the gang keeping watch over him whether they had contacted members of his family. 

Subsequently, he kept on coming and given directives to those keeping watch over him where he was chained on the leg and blindfolded in one of the rooms in a flat. 

“A few days before his escape, the victim said Emeka came and re-assured them that he had signed all the documents for the release of goods worth about N7 million from his warehouse and also came the next Thursday to boldly question why they had not killed him as agreed.“He reportedly left after he was assured that they would carry out the killing by next Friday.  At this stage, the victim said he gave up hope of freedom.

“However, early in the morning preceding the Friday, he was able to unchain himself while his captors were deeply asleep with their guns and escaped through the back door, landing at the next compound, where a security guard jumped at him and branded him a thief.  He said that after narrating his story to the guard, he told him to wait but he did not see him again after waiting for a long time.”

“Later, he sneaked out of the compound and hid in an obscure corner as he was unable to go further because of the sprain he had on the leg after jumping down from the high fence wall. Unfortunately for him, early in the morning around, he saw some passersby and ran out to narrate his plight to them pleading that they should help him.  But, the people turned around to accuse him of being a thief and nearly succeeded in lynching him but for the intervention of one of them who after listening to his story, insisted that they should call any of his relations for confirmation. Luckily, they did and later took the badly wounded victim to Igando police station.”

It was gathered that despite the early report lodged at both Igando and Ilupeju police stations around and later at the command headquarters, Ikeja, including the intervention of the state anti-kidnapping unit in Surulere, detectives only succeeded in raiding the gang’s hide out at Igando, seven hours (3pm) later resulting in the easy escape of members of the notorious gang. 

They only ended up recovering arms inside the building where they kept the victim. The source further told newsmen that after the operation, all efforts made by members of the victim’s family to get police protection based on fears that fleeing members of the gang may strike again, woefully failed prompting the disappearance of the victim with members of his family to an unknown place.

Meanwhile, it has not been possible to ascertain whether detectives have sealed up the kidnapper’s hide out where arms were reportedly recovered or identified the owner of the building.

However, sources said police authorities in Abuja are disturbed by the turn of events and escape of the abductors based on the alleged shoddy manner the rescue operation was handled leading to the escape of ‘vicious’ members of the gang who have carried out several high profile kidnappings and targeted mostly, successful business men who end up paying a whooping to gain their freedom.

Deputy spokesman for Lagos state police command, Ifeanyi Iheanacho said he was not aware of the arrest of anybody over the case and also denied the issue of police late response to the rescue operation.  On the issue of protection, he said the victim was advised to go for proper medical checks and stay away from the media.  

A police source in the state’s anti-kidnapping team told The Guardian that the kingpin would soon be caught.“I can tell you that there is no hiding place for the suspect. We would soon catch him I can assure you.”

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