The Edo State Police Command has arrested one Innocent Emonyon, a member of the notorious kidnap syndicate that abducted the spokesperson for the Nigerian Immigration Service in the state, Mrs Bridget Esene.
Two Fulani herdsmen, identified as Baguba Usman and Yusuf Ismaila, were also arrested in connection with the abduction of Mrs Esene and other victims.
It was gathered that the kidnappers, said to be from the southern part of Nigeria allegedly kidnapped people in Benin metropolis and sold them to Fulani herders in Ahor forest near Benin.
The public relations officer was abducted around Iqueniro area off Agbor Road, on Sunday morning, January 24, on her way to church in Benin City.
After her release, Esene narrated how she was abducted by the kidnappers and sold to another gang suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
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.
According to Standard Gazette, Emonyon was first arrested in 2016 for kidnapping but was acquitted by the court after spending three years in police custody. The case was dropped after the family, and kidnapped victims refused to appear to give evidence in court.
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.