I learnt to kidnap schoolchildren from Nollywood actor – Suspect

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A 23-year-old man, Ayobamidele Kudus Ayodele, who allegedly specialised in abducting schoolchildren for ransom, has told the police that he learnt the art from his favourite Nollywood actor, Zuby Michael.

The suspect was arrested by operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team in an operation led by Tunji Disu.

Disu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, heads the FIRT.

Ayodele was arrested after kidnapping a six-year-old pupil of Remson Group of schools in Ojo Alaba area of Lagos State.

Ayodele held the child captive for four days and wouldn’t allow him to go until his parents coughed up N550,000.

After his arrest, he claimed it was his first kidnap and also to have perfected the skill of kidnapping schoolchildren by watching movies that featured Michael.

His words: “I’m very intelligent and I did very well as a science student.

“Unfortunately, life became so hard that my family had to move into a village in Mowe, Ogun State, where we could get affordable accommodation.

“I started by hustling at Alaba International Market to survive.

“I attract customers for traders and at the end of the day, I would be given a commission.

“Zuby Michael is my favourite Nollywood actor and he’s good at kidnapping scenes.

“I’m from a responsible family, and if I try to do anything with others, I may get caught.

“So, I decided to try out some of the methods used by Zuby to kidnap children and adults in the movies.”

A police source said: “Ayodele was declared wanted after a father, Mr. Afam Eze, whose son was abducted and released after he paid ransom, wrote a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba.

“In the petition, Afam, who resides at the Ojo Alaba area of Lagos State, stated that on November 16, 2021 about 9am, while he was at the Trade Fair, received a call from his distraught wife, crying and screaming that their six-year-old son, Ebube Eze, was missing.”

Afam in the petition further stated that as soon as he arrived at the school, the headmistress received a call from the kidnapper, telling her that one of her pupils was in his captivity.

The caller demanded N200,000 if they wanted the boy back.

After negotiations, the kidnappers grudgingly accepted N150,000 as ransom for the release of the child.

Afam immediately credited a bank account with the name Ayobami Kudus Ayodele.

The police source further stated: “The couple was directed to Ajangbadi Junction where they were to pick their son.

“But after waiting for four hours, the family received another call from the kidnapper, demanding N2 million.

“Afam was warned that if he wanted to see his son alive, he should hurry up with the payment.

“The kidnapper also told Afam that he and his gang members had several children in their captivity. “

Afam and his wife embarked on another round of negotiations with the kidnapper, which lasted for four days.

The kidnapper then accepted N400,000, which was transferred to two bank accounts in his name.

As soon as Ayodele confirmed receiving the money, he asked the parents to come to Igbeleri-Roundabout, where the boy was reunited with his parents.

Satisfied that Ebube was hale and healthy, Afam decided to embark on a preliminary investigation.

He registered the phone number, which the kidnapper had used in interacting with him on his WhatsApp, and a picture appeared on the display picture section.

Ebube confirmed the picture was the man that kidnapped him.

After that, Afam wrote his petition to the IGP.

The suspect was tracked to his father’s house at Mowe area of Ogun State and arrested.

He confessed to the crime and took police to the lounge where he had kept the boy for four days.

The lounge manager told police that they were worried when Ayodele stayed with the boy for days, but that the suspect had told them that he was the father of the boy.

Recovered from him after his arrest was a national identity card with the name: Bode Oluwaseguo.

The identity card has the suspect’s picture.

Fielding questions from journalists, Ayodele said he began his art of kidnapping schoolchildren by visiting several schools around Ojo to see the possibility of picking schoolchildren without anyone noticing.

He said: “On November 6, I decided to try my luck.

“I visited a school that is close to Alaba International Market and hung around the gate.

“A teacher walking pass asked me what I was doing there, but before I could lie that I had come to make inquiries, she asked me if I wanted to register my child.

“Naturally, I responded yes.

“She implored me to exercise patience, that the children were writing exams.”

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Minutes later, the woman came out with a form, which she handed over to Ayodele.

She also gave him her phone number and then asked him to come with the child in January for registration.

Ayodele further narrated: “As soon as she left, I hanged around a bit and noticed two children coming to school.

“The boy was holding a cane.

“I stopped and chatted with them.

|I took the cane from the boy and asked him to tell me where he bought it.

“He said that it was on their way to school.

“I asked him to go and drop his bag and come back to show me the place.

“I whispered into his ears that I was going to buy plenty of things for him.

“I told him not to tell the sister and he agreed.

“He went inside, dropped his bag and came out.”

Ayodele convinced the easily impressionable Ebube to mount a motorcycle, which would take them to the place where the canes were sold and the child happily did.

The suspect noted: “We drove straight to Alaba-rago Junction.

“I gave him my phone, which had many games, to play with and he was very happy.

“I immediately called that teacher and told her that I had abducted one of their students.

“I asked for N200,000, but they pleaded to pay N150,000, which I accepted.

“I sent an Access Wallet Account number to the father of the child.

“He didn’t waste time on crediting my account.

“I felt that I could get more money from the family since N150,000 was quite easy for them to pay.

“I took the boy to another area called Magbo and called the father, demanding additional N2 million.

“I bought ice cream, chicken and plenty of things for the boy and assured him that I would take him back to school.

“I told him to call me daddy as that was my name.”

To avoid unnecessary attention, Ayodele took Ebube to Saudlat Lounge at One Love Unity Estate, off Igbanla, Idi-Agbalumo, Ilogbo Eremi, Lagos State.

The receptionist asked if Ayodele was the father of Ebube, and he replied in the affirmative.

The receptionist became convinced after Ebube unwittingly called Ayodele “Daddy” at that precise moment.

Ayodele paid N5,000 a night for a room.

He said: “We spent four days before the family was able to raise the N400,000.

“The boy stayed calm except once when he told me that his mummy would be angry that he came home late.

“I assured him that it was his parents that asked me to take him along.

“I made sure he had access to my phone and played with all the available games.

“He never left the room and the hotel management didn’t notice that he was always in his school uniform.”

The suspect, who claimed this was his first abduction for ransom, added: “I’m sorry that I caused the family so much pain.

“I’m not a cultist or an armed robber.

“I do not have a gang.

“I just trained myself by watching Zuby Michael.

“My parents trained me very well.

“I was just impatient and greedy.

“I’m really sorry.

“The national identity card found in my possession is not fake.

“I just secured it in case banks block my account.”

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