Travellers and residents of Ogun State have expressed concern about the frequency with which kidnappers ambush drivers and kidnap helpless road users along the state’s major highways.
According to the DAILY POST, federal roads such as the Lagos-Ibadan highway, the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, and the Lafenwa-Ayetoro-Imeko road are becoming dangerous for motorists.
Kidnapping has become a profitable business in Nigeria, with some individuals abducting people in exchange for ransom. Millions of Naira have been paid in ransom to kidnappers in Ogun State, who pick up unsuspecting travelers in exchange for ransom.
Unfortunately, these kidnappers have no regard for anyone, as they have taken police officers and other security agents into their hideouts on multiple occasions.
Several times, foreign nationals working on farms and construction sites were apprehended and released after a ransom was paid. Some security guards were killed while attempting to prevent the kidnapping of those they were supposed to protect.
In August, unknown gunmen assassinated Sofolahan Olanrewaju, an officer of the Ogun State So-Safe Corps. The kidnappers were said to have stormed a bar in Soyoye, Abeokuta North Local Government, to kidnap a woman. The kidnappers shot and killed the So-Safe security guard who was attempting to call for reinforcements.
Recently, it appears that the kidnappers are becoming resistant to all of the strategies put in place by the police and other security agents in the state, as they are now operating in broad daylight on busy roads throughout the state.
According to DAILY POST findings, these daring gunmen typically disguise themselves in military or police uniforms to deceive their targets. Drivers become victims of kidnapping when they stop to attend to the supposed security men on duty.
Three police officers were recently dragged into the bush along the Wasinmi road in Ogun State’s Ewekoro Local Government Area. Many people couldn’t believe that such an operation could take place on the busy Lagos-Abeokuta highway, just a few kilometers from the state capital, Abeokuta. The officers, from Zone 2 in Lagos State’s Onikan area, were in Ogun State to conduct an investigation.
They were being driven by a commercial driver when they were approached by men dressed in military camouflage who pretended to be security agents on stop-and-search duty. The gunmen eventually took three people away and held them for more than 48 hours.
While commenting on the incident, Abimbola Oyeyemi, the Ogun State police spokesman, insisted that only one of the three victims was a police officer, who he said had since been released. He has yet to announce the arrest of anyone involved in the incident.
According to the DAILY POST, the Wasinmi broad daylight kidnapping has sent shivers down the spines of many who use the road that connects Ogun State’s capital with Lagos, Ota, and other parts of Ogun West.
“I never thought kidnappers would have the audacity to attack anyone on the Wasinmi axis of the highway in the afternoon.” I am aware of kidnapping cases in Ewekoro Local Government. Obada was once their primary target, but it appears that the police and the State government have tightened the noose, as we haven’t heard of any such incidents in recent months.
“I also recall that a few months ago, some kidnappers broke into a Celestial church along that axis and kidnapped the Assistant Pastor and another; however, all of this occurred at night and not on the main road.” I’m afraid of that road now. I’m on the road all hours of the day and night. “The Federal Government should assist us,” Ade Julius, an Abeokuta resident, told our correspondent.
A commercial driver, identified as Kareem Olayeni, also expressed concern about the possibility of kidnapping, saying he would spend months in the kidnappers’ den if no one paid a ransom for his release.
“I’m scared. We are unable to stop driving because we do not have another job. This is what we do for a living, and this is our path: Wasinmi, Itori, Papa, Ifo. We are concerned by reports that people on public transportation have been kidnapped.
“As it stands, if they kidnap me today, I’ll be with the kidnappers for many months because I don’t have any way of paying a ransom.” This vehicle is available for hire purchase. “I only hope the police and other security personnel respond to the situation,” he said.
A traveller was abducted on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
While motorists were considering leaving the Wasinmi road for the Lagos-Ibadan route, another incident occurred near the popular Kara long bridge in Lagos.
A commercial car en route to Lagos from Ilorin in Kwara State was ambushed by gunmen, and one Alhaji Sheu Anafi was dragged away.
However, police officers in Ogun State stormed the suspected kidnappers’ hideout, rescuing the victim and arresting one of the suspects.
Abimbola Oyeyemi confirmed on Sunday that kidnappers had recently terrorized the Kara bridge. This comes just a few weeks after he denied reports that 20 people had been abducted in the area.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Oyeyemi revealed that the kidnappers’ hideout was raided in order to rescue the alleged Alhaji Sheu Anafi.
A commercial driver told Warewa police officers that he was attacked by kidnappers while driving from Ilorin in his Ford commercial car, LRN 596 ZY, with seven passengers.
According to Oyeyemi, the driver told police that when he arrived at the Long Bridge end of the Lagos-Ibadan highway, there was a gridlock, forcing him to navigate an unpaved access road beside the bridge.
The driver claimed they were attacked by “unknown gunmen” while driving on the unpaved road.
Following the attack, all of the passengers were said to have fled into the nearby bush in various directions.
The passengers reportedly regrouped for their journey after a while, but it was later discovered that Anafi, a resident of Ilorin’s Okeleele area, had been abducted by the hoodlums.
Following the report, AbdulFatai Ogunsanya, the DPO of Warewa division, led a joint operation involving men from the command’s tactical teams and other local security agents to comb the bush in search of the abducted man.
The kidnappers’ hideout was discovered, according to Oyeyemi, and security operatives engaged them in a gun battle.
“At the end of the encounter, one of the kidnappers, Ibraheem Abubakar, who claimed to have come from Kano State’s Sabonganmu-Bompai road, was arrested, while others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot injuries, and the victim, 62-year-old Sheu Anafi, was rescued unharmed.”
According to a police spokesman, the suspect admitted to being a member of a seven-man gang that had recently terrorized the stretch of the long bridge.
In response to the incident, Ogun State Commissioner of Police Lanre Bankole has ordered that the arrested suspect be immediately transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Departments for a thorough investigation.
Bankole also urged members of the public, particularly hospitals, to notify police if they see anyone with gunshot wounds.
In response, Ogbu Ambrose, an Ogun State resident, urged leaders in the South West region to rise up and confront insecurity head on, claiming that terrorists had claimed responsibility for the attack on an Ondo State police station.
“ISWAP has claimed responsibility for the attack at Ondo police station, and you should be aware of the implications for the entire region.” “Leaders must adapt to the situation,” he said.
A civil servant who did not want to be identified said the increase in kidnappings occurred following the #EndSARS protest, blaming the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and the removal of many police checkpoints.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police Command has stated that the state will never be a haven for kidnappers and other criminals, emphasizing that they will be flushed out wherever they are.
The Command urged the public to provide credible intelligence to the police, while cautioning against paying ransom to kidnappers.
Governor Dapo Abiodun had promised to arrest kidnappers and bring them to justice as part of his efforts to rid the state of crime.
“Let me state unequivocally that no part of Ogun State is a haven for criminals and criminality in any form.” We will smoke them out on the Lagos-Ibadan, Sagamu-Benin-Ore, Abeokuta-Sango-Lagos, and even our township and interstate roads. “We will arrest them and hand them over to face justice,” Abiodun said in response to a kidnapping incident.