Twelve suspected kidnappers, including a woman, arrested by the Police in connection with a kidnappers’ den at Ile-Zik Bus-stop in Ikeja, were yesterday remanded at Ikoyi Prisons on the orders of a Lagos Chief Magistrate, Mr. Tajudeen Elias, pending a legal advice from the state Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).The “Ile Zik 12 men,” as they have become known, were brought before an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrate’s Court on a three-count charge of conspiracy, attempted kidnap and possession of arms and ammunition.The bus-stop is named after a four-storey building built by the first President of Nigeria, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. About one week earlier, another kidnappers’ hole was discovered at Ijaiye area on the Oshodi-Sango-Abeokuta Highway.
The accused are Hakeem Ogundele, 32; Noah Samuel, 25; Ayomide Olatunji, 44; Felix Matthew, 34; American Obodoyibo, 42; Shola Elemo, 32; and Adijat Mudashiru, 32. Others are Tunde Akanji, 41; Adeoye Adekeye, 38; Patrick Onwubufor, 65; Samuel Iyede, 50; and Bright Amankwa, 36.Earlier, Sgt. Kehinde Omisakin, the Police prosecutor, told the court that the accused committed the offences on August 10 between 10:00 am and 4:00pm at Ile-Zik Bus Stop, near Ajayi Farm, in Ikeja on the Oshodi-Sango-Abeokuta Expressway.According to her, the 12 accused had conspired to kidnap some students of a nearby Girls Junior High School, who luckily escaped, while “some school uniforms and notebooks of the students were found in possession of the accused.”Omisakin said one live ammunition, nine empty shells of expended ammunition, one kitchen knife and road maps were recovered from them. The accused pleaded not guilty to the offences, which contravened Sections 22, 330 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.In Lagos State, kidnapping and other related offences carry life imprisonment or capital punishment. The case has been adjourned till Tuesday, August 22. Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has resolved to monitor and police manholes and canals in the state to forestall a similar occurrence.Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Environment, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe, told The Guardian yesterday that the decision was to check the dumping of refuse in the canals and to prevent the use of manholes and canals for nefarious activities.Hunpe explained that a special task force would be stationed at some of the hidden manholes and canals, whose work would be similar to the recently introduced waste policing that has drastically reduced the wanton and indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the road.He said the Ministry of the Environment has also scaled up its before and after rain clearing of the drainages, canals and manholes programmes, which would also make manholes inhabitable for ritualists or kidnappers.Regretting the incidence at IIe Zik and other locations in the state, Hunpe called on the public to provide government with useful information on happenings around their area to stem the tide of rising cases of criminality in the canals and manholes.He charged Community Development Committees (CDCs) and Community Development Associations (CDAs) to be vigilant and protect government property in their areas, stressing that the new system of solid waste management, as contained in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) would address issues of drainages and canals, thereby making them not to be safe havens for criminal elements in the state.