The Nigeria Police recently paraded a 52-year old pastor, Adetokunbo Adenokpo, for allegedly abducting a dispatch rider and detaining him in an underground facility in his church in Sagamu, Lagos.
Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, paraded Adenokpo alongside 34 other suspects for various offences, at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad headquarters in Abuja.
The pastor said he decided to go into kidnapping to raise money to donate to charity.
He said with the Sallah festivities, he had no money and had to raise money to buy items like rice, beans, palm oil and ram to distribute to the needy.
The pastor said his charity programme cuts across all religions.
DCP Mba said the dispatch rider with Glory Master Logistics, Job Ekpe Jonathan, who mainly distributes Forever Living products was abducted by Adenokpo and his gang when he went to deliver some items in his church.
Mba said the pastor, who is the General Overseer of Newlife Church of God located at Sagamu, injected Jonathan with anaesthesia to weaken him so they could tie him up easily. The police had launched an investigation and eventually rescued Jonathan where he was detained in the underground facility in the church. The pastor, who was arrested with his accomplices, said he was 22 years in the ministry having been ordained in Ibadan.
“In my church, we do charity, where I share food and palliative to people and this became stronger during the COVID-19. I felt pity for people and I don’t have any money in my account and people still come to me for help,” he said.
He said the underground facility where he detained Jonathan was built when he was attacked by some persons sometime ago and it was for him to escape into whenever his assailants came.
He said he also kept some young men around him for protection.
“A few weeks ago we were short of funds. So I had the idea of doing something for Ileya so I can get some bags of rice and beans and palm oil and other things to share, and probably with a ram, which we can cut and give to poor people and we thought we should get money from the rich companies and then raise money and use it to take care of poor people.
“The three of us were involved in the kidnap of Jonathan with the hope of raising funds for the Ileya. I injected him because he was struggling I did not want him to be injured,” he said.
DCP Mba said another four-man gang that operates within the South-East part of the country led by one Udodiri Bright Chikezie, 27, a South Africa returnee was also arrested.
He said the gang, which has killed four persons, started kidnapping in 2018 and had carried out about 10 operations successfully.
Also arrested was another gang led by one Musa Umar, who carried out most of their operations around Katsina State.
Mba said Umar confessed to killing five persons with machetes.
The FPRO said a total of 35 suspects were arrested for different cases from armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling and car theft to unlawful possession of weapons and other sundry offences.
“A total of four AK 47 rifles, 361 rounds of live AK 47 ammunitions and five other weapons of different makes were recovered from these different gangs. Also recovered from one of the hands and anti-tracking device. This is the second time we are recovering a jammer or anti-tracking device from established car theft syndicate.
“In a particular case where the anti-tracking device was recovered, we discovered one suspect who is still at large had procured some Nigerians and provided them with the devices and commissioned them to go on a car-stealing spree. A total of 30 cars of different makes mainly Toyota and Honda products have been stolen by the syndicate. Our operatives from IRT have successfully recovered 18 out of these vehicles,” Mba said.