Suspected Kidnapper Of Children In Lagos Refuses To Speak In Police Custody

A suspect arrested in connection with the abduction of two children in the Ilasamaja area of Lagos has remained silent on his complicity in the crime.

The suspect identified simply as Christian was caught on Sunday, September 15, in the neighbourhood by a resident, Eddy Bassey, who reportedly saw him and the children – Raphael Ogunwole and Godwin Mbachu – together on the day the kids went missing.

The four-year-old children live in the same compound on Oluwakemi Street, Ilasamaja, and were playing in front of their house on August 14, around 6.30pm when they disappeared.

The case was reported at the Ilasamaja Police Division and was later transferred to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit, Surulere.

City Round learnt that a barber in the community, whose shop Christian usually patronised, had earlier been arrested after Bassey told the police that he saw Christian with the kids.

Bassey, in an interview with our correspondent on Thursday, said he was returning from work around 7pm on August 14, when he saw the suspect in company with the two children at Ilasamaja Market.

He said, “I saw Godwin running a lone in the market. The place is a bit far from our house. That made me stop and I was tracing where he was running to. I looked up and saw the other boy, Raphael, with the man (Christian) while Godwin was trying to meet up with them.

“The man’s face looked very familiar. That was why I didn’t bother to challenge him. I didn’t go home directly; I went to visit a friend and we both went out to have fun. It was around 10pm that I returned home.

“On getting home, I saw a crowd and I asked a chemist what happened. He said Godwin and Raphael were missing. I was shocked and told him I saw them with a man who usually comes to the barber’s shop. I told the parents and we went to the police station to make a statement.”

Bassey stated that he saw the man again last Sunday afternoon with a jotter and he approached him politely about the issue, but he (Christian) was confrontational.

“We started dragging it and I raised the alarm. People came around and we took him to the Ilasa Police Station and from there, he was taken to the anti-kidnapping office. He did not answer to all the questions the investigating police officers asked him.

“Many people know him around the area and even the barber confirmed that he knows him. I am very sure he was the one I saw with the children,” he added.

Our correspondent learnt that three other suspects arrested by the police were fraudsters who cashed in on the travail of the victims’ parents. They were said to have called their phone numbers and asked them to pay N100,000 into an account.

“The police later tracked them,” Bassey said.

Oluwaseun Ogunwole, the father of one of the abducted children, told City Round that the barber, one John, travelled the next morning the children were abducted and was arrested when he returned five days later.

He stated that the barber was released without their knowledge, adding that they later knew a policeman from the Federal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department annex in Alagbon, Ikoyi, stood as a surety for him.

He added, “The police said they did not have any evidence against him. It was even people who saw him walking on the streets that drew our attention to his release.

“Last Sunday, Bassey saw Christian and held him. We then took him to Anti-kidnapping office in Surulere. But to my surprise, the man didn’t say anything. He looks hardened and unrepentant. I don’t know why he refused to talk. He should tell us where he took them to. The barber also confirmed he knew him and that the man once lived in his house.”

Godwin’s father, Christian Mbachu, said the families had also petitioned the Inspector-General of Police on the matter, urging the police authorities to ensure the children were found alive.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, could not be reached for comments on the case.

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