Barely 24 hours after their arraignment before an Ebute Meta Chief
Magistrates? Court sitting in Lagos state and subsequent remand,
three of the six suspects who who allegedly took part in the kidnap of
the girls of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School, BMJS, in
Ikorodu area of the state have revealed how they planned and carried
out the operation.
It would be recalled that the three SS2 students: Timilehin Olosa,
Tofunmi Popoolaniyan and Deborah Akinayo, ages 14-15, were abducted on
March 1, 2015 by a 10-man gang of hoodlums who were said to have
entered the school compound through a hole in the school?s
Also, the accused persons, Geofrey Owei, 28, Segun James, 29, Gift
Pius, 30, Fred Omoni, 32, Seun Akanji, 33 and Emmanuel Arigidi, 37,
were yesterday, charged with five-count bordering on conspiracy,
kidnap, being armed with offensive weapons and robbery, offences which
contravened Sections 269(1), 295 (2) and 409 and of the Criminal Law
of Lagos State, 2011. Section 295 (2) and provides death penalty for
While speaking on his involvement in the kidnap of the girls, Omoni
said, ?One of my friends, known as Bamidele, whom I have known for a
long time, called me and said he had a job for me. This person I am
talking about was arrested last year, and was charged to court for
kidnapping and remanded in Ogun State prison.
?When he was released in January, he called me and said that one of
his friends, who he said he met in prison, called and told him that he
had a job for him. He said he wanted me to be part of the operation
because I had a car.
?I asked him what kind of job it was and he told me that it was
kidnapping, and that his friend who he identified as Gay, would like
to meet him and me so that we can arrange the operation. So we met him
the next day at a petrol station on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and
when we met Gay, he told us that the man we were to kidnap was very
rich and he was going to bring three more boys who would assist us.
Gay explained that he was going to monitor the man?s movement and then
he would alert us to his position to enable us kidnap him.
?The next day, I was in the same filling station with Bamidele, and
Gay came with some boys and later left, but some few hours later, he
called and gave us the description of the man?s car and his location,
and when we sighted the car matching the description, we
double-crossed the car and abducted the man.
?We took the man in my car into a forest along the Lagos-Ibadan
Expressway, and I left him with Bamidele and others and went home.
Four days after, Bamidele called me and said that the man had been
released and the sum of N2.5 million was paid as ransom. He told me
that my share was N200, 000 and that I should meet him at Ikorodu for
?I was at Ibeju-Lekki when he called, and l left what I was doing and
hurried to Ikorodu and met him in a fast food joint. He was with
someone when I came in and that person introduced himself as
Tradition. He is also from my hometown in Arugbo, just like Bamidele.
I gave him N1, 000 from my share of the ransom, and he took my phone
number and promised to call me.
?I also wish to remind you that two weeks ago, he called me that they
had a kidnapping job and that it would not be stressful and it would
fetch a huge sum of money. I asked him how much I should be looking
at, and he said I could likely get N5 million as my share if we
succeeded. My car had gear box issues and I took it for repairs at
Ladipo Spare Parts Market in Mushin. I took a commercial bus to
?When I met Tradition, he took me to Lamienmu who he said brought the
job, and we met him and nine others on the Imota Bridge. They took me
to the bush where they said we would keep the victims, but I wasn?t
pleased with the arrangement.
?Surprisingly, there was nothing on ground and Lamienmu begged that we
should bear with him. From that point, we moved to the school in four
speedboats. Those who had guns came from the creek in Fatola, and when
we got to the school, including Tradition and Lamienmu, we entered the
school. Some others and I stood by the fence, waiting.
?When they brought one of the girls, I carried her into our boat and
stayed with her. Others came later with the two other girls and when
we went into the creek, we made wooden rafts for the girls to sleep
and I slept inside one of the boats. The guys with the guns were on
guard all through.
?Next, Lamienmu and Tradition interrogated the girls. One of them told
us that her father was an engineer, while another told us that her
father was a pastor. We took their parents? phone numbers from them,
and Tradition and Lamienmu called them (the parents) and demanded N200
million as ransom.
?After that, the girls told us that they were hungry. We asked what
they wanted to eat and they told us that they wanted Viju Milk,
Lacasera and Indomie. Lamienmu?s younger brother, Gideon, was asked to
go to town and get them. He went and came back safely, but three days
later, when the things he bought got finished, he went into town and
came back with the news that policemen were everywhere looking for the
?The camp became apprehensive with the news and we started
contemplating how to release the girls quietly. At a time, we reduced
our demand to N30 million.
?By Saturday, we saw Lamienmu?s father creeping into the camp. The
guys with guns almost fired him, but what saved him was that he yelled
that he was Lamienmu and he was allowed to come closer to be
identified. He told us that the police had arrested his wife,
Lamienmu?s sister and Tradition?s wife as well, but Lamienmu insisted
that we must release the girls or he would kill himself.
?When he left, the camp was thrown into confusion, and when it
settled, we all agreed that we should allow the girls to go. By
5:00a.m. on Sunday, Tradition and four others took the girls out of
the camp and dropped them off. I waited till the next day before
leaving the camp, and when I came out, I went to Ladipo and checked
the mechanic who was working on my car, gave him some money and I went
back into the creek.
?However, I had this feeling that the police were looking for me.
?By Thursday, the mechanic called and said he had finished with my
car. Then I decided to pick it up and drive out of Lagos. When I got
to Ladipo, I didn?t see the mechanic. I called him and he said he was
at Iyana Ipaja, washing the car. When I got there, the police showed
up and arrested me and accused me of being part of the gang that
abducted the schoolgirls.
?But like I have told you, I am not a vandal. I work in a sawmill in
Ibeju-Lekki, but it was Tradition who brought me into this business,?
On their part, the second and third suspects, Pius and Godfrey, who
were both arrested in Mosebolatan Guest House in Ibafo, Ogun State,
through one of their girlfriends, narrated how they went from pipeline
vandalism to kidnapping.
According to the duo, they were pressured into joining the gang.
Godfrey confessed that Tradition, who is also known as Felix, recruited them.
On how he joined the gang, the 28-year-old Ondo state indigene said he
started his life as a fisherman in Delta State and later relocated to
Akwa Ibom State.
?I was exporting Afang leaf to Cameroon and I was making a reasonable
amount daily from the business.
?One day, I met Pius and Tradition, and since we were all from the
same town, we became friends. After a while, Tradition left us and
went to Lagos, while Pius and I continued our business. Early last
year, we started having issues with some militants while crossing into
?The militants were demanding so much money and when we didn?t give it
to them, they normally destroyed our goods. Things worsened.
?Luckily, Tradition came and told us that fuel business was fetching
him serious money in Arepo, and that we should come and join him. We
immediately followed him to Lagos and he bought 100 50-litre jerry
cans for both of us and we started going into the creek to fetch
petrol from the pipelines.
?We normally paid the vandals controlling the line between N5, 000 and
N10, 000, and they usually allowed us to load our jerry cans. Later,
we took the jerry cans to shore and sold them for N1, 000 each to
Tradition who would resell to other people. We did this business until
there was massive explosion at the site that killed so many people.
Pius and I were just lucky.
?On the night that the incident happened, we decided to take a little
rest from work. By 2:00a.m, we heard the massive explosion by morning,
but when the fire died down, I went into the creek and assisted in the
burial of those who were killed. I had a rethink of that business
because of what I saw.
?We both left Arepo and relocated to Majidun, and started doing bamboo
business. We normally went into the forest to cut the bamboo and we
used to sell them to people dredging sand, and they paid us between
N25, 000 and N30, 000 but the problem with that business was that we
didn?t sell all the time.
?Three weeks ago, Tradition came to our place here in Majidun and he
told us that he wanted to take part in a kidnapping business. I told
him that I wasn?t interested because I had no one to help me if we
were arrested, however, he pressured Pius and I but we refused, and he
went with some other guys and they didn?t succeed.
?He came to us again and said that the reason why they didn?t succeed
was because they didn?t have enough manpower. He told us that the
business was going to fetch us good money, and because we are his
friends, he would want us to take part in it.
?I accepted reluctantly, and by evening of the day we were to go for
the operation, I told my girlfriend that I was going to spend some
time with some of my brothers. Pius and I met Tradition at the agreed
spot, and we went to the creek and from there, we drove to the school
in three speedboats.
?At the scene of the operation that fateful day, Pius and I stood by
the fence watching for anyone approaching. After they had abducted the
girls and taken them to the forest, Pius and I prepared the raft and
?We were also the ones taking them to defecate whenever they were
pressed. You can confirm from the girIs whether I was nice to them or
not. If you ask the girls, they will tell you that Pius and I were
very nice to them. We were also part of the team that went and dropped
them. We took them under the bridge and gave them money, and asked
them to climb on the bridge and seek help.
?When we left the camp, I called my girlfriend to be careful because I
had done something nasty and she should watch her movement because the
police might come for her or me. I later told her to meet me at the
hotel where I lodged in Ogun State because I thought it would be
difficult for the police in Lagos to trace us to that place.?
He further added that he is still in doubt how they arrested his
girlfriend who brought the police to the hotel where he was lodged.
The accused who are remanded at the Ikoyi Prisons are however to
appear in court on the adjournment date, April 25 for trial.