Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, have arrested the mastermind of Senator Iyabo Anisulowo’s kidnap.
The Senator was kidnapped in April with one of her security aides in Ogun State and regained freedom 10 days after being held in captivity by her abductors.
The suspect, Ikechukwu Daniel, 28, suspected to be a member of a notorious kidnapping gang terrorising the South-Western part of the country, was arrested four months after the abduction of the former 70-year-old Minister of Education who represented the Ogun West Senatorial District between 2003 and 2007.
The suspect in his startling confessions to the police in Ogun state while being paraded before newsmen on Friday, narrated what took place during the time, Senator Anisulowo was being held by the gang. Daniel said his members initially did not carry him along on the job.
According to him, “They told me that they were expecting to get nothing less than N50m. But after the family of the senator refused to pay the money and police were conducting raids all over the place, they decided to eliminate the woman.
“Police helicopter was hovering all over the place. My gang members then called me and said they wanted to kill the woman.
“I begged them for two days because they respect and listen to me. Luckily for the woman, she was released and they all ran away. The Fulani boys would have hacked her to death.”
Daniel said he had been ahead of security operatives for so long because he familiarised himself with the modus operandi of the Department of State Services, DSS, and police in tackling kidnapping.
“To get information, I contracted one of my friends, who is a hacker, to gain access to DSS and police websites. Through that, I was able to understand their methods. Before I was arrested, I already knew the police was looking for me. But I thought I would continue to escape them because I understood how they worked,” he confessed.
Daniel’s arrest came after one Mohammed Babuga was nabbed by IRT operatives during the week. Babuga was said to have revealed the location of Daniel’s hideout in Festac, Lagos and by the time he was arrested, he was negotiating the N4m ransom of another victim his gang was holding.
Daniel, a native of Imo State, who grew up in Kaduna said apart from specialising in kidnap, he taught Fulani kidnappers how to evade arrest using his Information Communication Technology, ICT skills.
The kidnap kingpin said he had perfected plans to kidnap one of Africa’s richest men, billionaire, Femi Otedola.
He said he and his gang planned to kidnap Otedola at a function in Ibadan, Oyo State in November 2015, but called off their attempt due to the presence of security operatives.
Daniel said, “It would have been impossible because of the security there was heavy that day. We decided to take our time and prepare well for the operation. Someone working with Otedola brought us the job. The person told us that he was going to be in Ibadan and when we went there, we realised that there was heavy security presence around him. I told my gang members that we had to prepare well for the operation to be successful.
“I told them we needed to do a sacrifice and fortify ourselves spiritually before attempting to kidnap him. Then, we decided that we also needed army, DSS and police uniforms because, without impersonation, there was no way we could get him.
“The man who brought the job was supposed to monitor his movements regularly. I already planned that if we abducted him successfully, it would have been my last job because I would have demanded N2bn and maybe we would have negotiated for N500m.”
Recounting how he got involved in crime, Daniel said, “I was arrested in 2012 for hijacking a petroleum tanker truck on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. I speak Hausa fluently. While I was in prison, I realised that inmates were still arranging criminal jobs from the prison and after I was discharged for want of evidence against me, Babuga who was my cellmate, told me the way to make money was for me to join a kidnapping gang.
He said, “Mohammed Babuga had been discharged from prison ahead of me. When I first started, all I was doing was negotiating ransom anytime we kidnapped anybody.
“When we kidnapped the woman (Senator Anisulowo) I was the one who ensured that the woman was not killed because her family refused to pay ransom for her release.”
“The first person we kidnapped was a man whose name I cannot remember. We kept him in a forest in Ilorin, Kwara State and got N5m as ransom. We got N15m in our second job and I got N2m as my share. I used it to buy my first car,” the suspect recalled.