Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
Old habits, they say die hard. That seems to be the story of Innocent Emonyon, Baguba Usman and Yusuf Ismaila, notorious criminals and members of a kidnapping syndicate, currently cooling off as guests of the Edo State Police Command.
All members of the syndicate are experienced suspects who are in captivity over their inglorious roles in the January kidnap of Mrs. Bridget Esene, Spokesperson of the Immigration Service in Edo State. She was abducted around Agbor road on her way to church.
Emonyon who drove on the day Esene was abducted was first arrested and charged to court in 2016 for kidnapping. However, due to lack of diligent prosecution, he was left off the hook in 2019. Promptly, he returned to his life of crime in the underworld.
Baguda a Fulani, was among the inmates that escaped in a jailbreak that occured in Benin prison during the EndSARS protest in October 2020. He formed a new criminal alliance after his escape from prison.
It was gathered that some kidnappers, said to be from the southern part of the country were in the business of kidnapping people in Benin metropolis and selling them to Fulani herders in Ahor forest near Benin.
Emonyon, 40, said to be the professional driver of the gang, was arrested by operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping and Cybercrime Unit of the police command.
It was learnt that the police had in February arrested four members of the gang in their hideout in Ahor forest, however, Emonyon managed to escape.
Speaking to Standard Gazette, Emonyon revealed how they kidnapped the immigratiion spokesperson and other victims.
“I was the one who drove the car used in kidnapping the Edo Immigration PRO and sold her to some Fulani herdsmen in Ahor forest,” he said.
“We also kidnapped a businesswoman along Lucky Way in Benin City, where we took her to the same forest after we destroyed her two mobile phones.”
He also confessed to kidnapping another businessman in Aduwawa, Benin City and carjacking his Toyota Highlander SUV.
When asked about the four other members of his gang, he said, “I heard they were arrested, and I quickly ran to Lagos so that they would not catch me; I was shocked that the police got me now.”
Following his confession, the Anti-Kidnapping and Cybercrime unit raided the Ahor forest again on Wednesday, March 24, and arrested Baguba Usman and Yusuf Ismaila, who were named as accomplices to the several abductions.
The police identified Baguda as one of the prisoners who escaped from the Edo correctional facility on October 19 during the #EndSARS protest that was hijacked by hoodlums.
Baguda confessed to have participated in several kidnappings since his escape from prison.
“I escaped from prison on October 19, 2020, after some people broke into the prison by force and asked us to go. I knew Desmond, one of the kidnappers in prison, and we planned and carried out so many kidnappings in Benin City.” he said.
The spokesperson for the command, SP Bello Kontongs, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects, said that the state police commissioner, Philip Ogbadu, has since called for more investigations into the series of kidnappings by the gang members.