After more than three years of running from the law, M.r Waheed Abubakar, an alleged kidnap kingpin finally ended his race in police custody. Abubakar was alleged to be the ringleader of a kidnap gang.
His wife, mother, brother and sister-in-law were alleged to be part of the gang members. The gang specialised in abducting children of rich parents. Abubakar’s wife, Fumilayo Adeyemi, alias Mary Akinloye, was the gang member that used to infiltrate homes of unsuspecting Nigerians, posing as a house help. Once she’s employed she would disappear with the children. The gang would later demand ransom in order to release the children.
The gang came to the attention of the world after Funmilayo, who was recruited through an online portal, OLX, disappeared with the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Leke Orekoya from their Surulere apartment, a day after she was employed. The three children were then 11-month-old Aderomola, Adedamola (four) and Ademola (six).
The distraught parents later received a call, asking them to pay N15million as ransom or they wouldn’t see their children ever again. The gang was also behind the abduction of two brothers, Michael and Rafael Esharegaran, from their home at Magodo, Lagos.
Funmilayo abducted the two boys after she was employed as a maid. The Esharegarans were said to have paid N10million as ransom, although the police denied knowledge of the payment.
Funmilayo was eventually tracked through a bank account where a ransom was deposited and had since been arraigned in court and remanded in prison custody. When the gang was smashed by operatives of the Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), led by Mr Abba Kyari, only Funmilayo was arrested.
Other members escaped and went underground. Since 2015 that the incident happened, Kyari and his men had refused to beat a retreat in the investigations and had continued the hunt for Abubakar and other members of the gang. And just when many thought the trail had gone cold Abubakar was arrested.
A police source said: “It took IRT operatives three years to track down and locate Waheed Abubakar. He was tracked to Ikorodu, where he was operating as a motorcyclist. The IRT operatives followed up the case to know who were behind the kidnapping of babies in Lagos homes.
Immediately the operatives got the information about the suspect, they traced him to Abuja where he had earlier escaped to when the heat was much in Lagos. The suspect disappeared immediately his wife was arrested. He settled at Kubwa area in Abuja, where he worked as a tricycle operator.
When he realised that the police were still after him and were almost about to grab him, he ran back to Lagos and continued with his tricycle business at Ikorodu. “He was later tracked to his house; but the day operatives went to arrest him, they didn’t meet him.
The men left and went back to their station to re-strategize. They went after him again and found him at a motor park in Ikorodu. He confessed to the police that he was running around to avoid being arrested by the police.
He said that he had forgotten that IRT men were everywhere and that nobody could escape from them.” Abubakar was arrested after three years of being on the run and being a fugitive. Abubakar, who introduced himself as a tricycle rider said that he has two children, not four, as claimed by his wife. Indeed, in his confessions, Abubakar punctured many of Funmilayo’s confessions and allegations. One of the lies his wife told was allegation that his mother was involved in kidnapping, said Abubakar.
How my wife and I got involved in abduction
Recollecting how he and his wife got involved in kidnapping, Abubakar said: “I got involved in kidnapping through a friend, Hadiza Olawale. I knew him in Ibadan since 2013. He was living beside our house at Alakia area. We were friends then. After two years of losing contact, I ran into him at Egbeda in 2014.
I was returning from hospital where my wife had just gave birth to a baby. The name of my wife is Olayemi Adeyemi not Funmilayo “I was thinking of how to pay my wife’s medical bill on that day. My wife just had our second baby through a Caesarean Section in a private hospital. He was the first to sight me.
He shouted my name; I didn’t immediately recognize him because he had changed. He looked fresh compared to when he was in Ibadan. He asked me why I looked worried. I opened up to him; I told him what I was going through. I told him how much money I was looking for. He promised to assist me.
He asked me to follow him to his house around Shasha area. To my surprise, he gave me a bulging envelop. It contained money. When I counted it, it was N150, 000. The exact amount I needed to pay for the hospital bill.”According to Abubakar, after the naming ceremony, he and his wife went to Hadiza’s house to thank him. When they got to the Good Samaritan’s house, he told them that he was not happy with their financial situation. He said that he had a job for them.
Abduction of the Orekoya boys
Before Hadiza was through with the details of the job, Funmilayo allegedly jumped on it, saying she and her husband would do it. They were desperate for money. Abubakar recalled: “My wife jumped on the offer. She promised to do it in as much as the business would be yielding money.
We were given details of where my wife would go and work. She was also told how to escape with the abducted children in any home she went to work as nanny. He promised my wife and I that there wouldn’t be any problem and nobody would be arrested. “Unfortunately, when he was talking to my wife and I, we didn’t ask him what would be our own share of the proceeds.
He asked my wife if she could work as a nanny. Hadiza placed the advert on OLX. It was through the advert that the Orekoyas got in touch with us. Hadiza instructed Funmilayo to proceed to Lawanson, Surulere and work as nanny at the Orekoya’s house.
“When the Orekoyas went to work, my wife took the kids away. She put a call through to Hadiza. The man drove straight to where she waited for him. He collected the children from her and drove off. I was not really involved in the kidnapping. I got involved through my wife, who Hadiza was using.”
How my wife was arrested
Abubakar said that he remembered vividly how his wife allowed herself to be arrested by operatives of IRT, just so that he could escape. He said: “On the day my wife was arrested, she and I were together. When police arrested her, she gave me a signal, indicating that I should escape. I understood her reason; she wanted me to stay behind to take care of our children. We have two children; a boy and a girl. The girl, Fatima, is 13 years old, and the second is a boy, Ali. He’s just seven years old.
The policemen didn’t know me, so it was easy for me to escape. I immediately travelled to Abuja from Lagos. I settled at Kubwa where I started riding tricycle. I spent a year and half there. I only came back to Lagos to take care of my aged mother and check on my children. My mother is 62 years old.
She has just two of us; me and my sister. Nobody knows the whereabouts of my sister or if something has happened to her. When my mother heard of the kidnap incident, she insulted and slapped me.
For now, I’m her only child.” Asked to mention other homes that Funmilayo had gone to work as maid and later abducted children, Abubakar said: “I only know that Hadiza took my wife to two places; Surulere and Ikeja to work as a house help.” Abubakar denied that his mother, brother and sister-in-law were part of the kidnapping gang as earlier alleged by Funmilayo in 2015. He said: “It’s not true. I got involved in this problem through Hadiza.
I wanted to return the favour. He assisted me when I was in need and needed help. He was God sent at that time to my wife and I. After the abduction of the Orekoya children, Hadiza gave my wife just N15,000 and N3,000 to buy recharged cards.
He gave her the money after he dropped her off. He left with the children. “I heard in the news the following day that he demanded ransom from the kids’ parents. After the first operation, he called my wife that there was another job. My wife went to Ikeja, but didn’t succeed in the operation. When I saw the Orekoyas crying on television because of the abducted children, I felt bad.”
My wife and prison
Abubakar stated that he felt bad for not going to prison to visit his wife since her arrest. He said: “I can’t go to prison to visit her, but I do send money to her through her people. I also always pray for her. I regret all my actions in this abduction saga.
I pray that God will forgive me. Please also tell the Orekoyas and other families whose babies my wife kidnapped to forgive my wife and I. It was financial challenges that pushed us into such a crime.”
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