Estimated reading time: 49 minute(s)
… Plan To Kidnap Victim’s Wife ,Child Botched
“I don’t know what came over me when I decided to call the woman who I was asked to kidnapp alongside her child and kill them after a ransom is paid like it was done for her husband,” the whistleblower, Adebowale Sanni spoke from the police custody .
Kidnapping in many parts of Ogun State has taken a new face of horror following the jaw breaking revelations after the arrest of a suspected kidnapper contracted for a kidnapping job by a couple.
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that the gang had kidnapped and murdered a multi-millionaire hotelier and business mogul, Otunba Abayomi Ajayi Smith two years ago.
The planned kidnap of Mrs Olusola Roseline Smith and her son – the survivors of late Mr. Smith – owner of the Top Speed Investment Company, NIPCO Oil, Rolak Hotels and other businesses – led to the arrest and detention of three suspected kidnappers by operatives of the Ogun State Police Command.
In his attempt to foil the kidnap plan as laid out by the kidnap mastermind, Adebayo Olanrewaju Adewumi – also known as Larry, Adebowale Sanni called Mrs Smith through his registered mobile number and shred the intelligence with her on the guise that he has genuity of intention.
The story however went south when his home in Osun State was busted by policemen who apprehended him in connection to the planned kidnap of Mrs Smith and her son.
The late Smith was kidnapped on the 28th of September 2020 at about 7:30 am, at Anifowose Estate igbeba, Ijebu- Ode.
… How The Contract Hatched
The 55-year-old farmer, Adebowale Sanni narrated his meeting with Larry, who contacted and detailed him on the kidnapping contract.
He revealed that Larry was introduced to him through a friend sometime in September, tabling before him a kidnapping contract.
“The man sitting down here, Lanre Adebayo, I knew him since on the 15th, there was a boy that connected us, his name is Eke. I received Larry’s call this September and we exchanged pleasantries, and he said he and his friend Eke wanted to see me, that they want to kidnap someone in Ogun State and they can’t tell me the location at that moment.
“They told me there shouldn’t be any traces that they had kidnapped the target’s husband before; leaving no traces of his current state of being. He added that they want to kidnap his wife and child this time around, but it cannot be discussed on phone, hence, I should come to Ibadan.
“We met each other at Ibadan at Iyana Adeoyo. We ate Amala at one restaurant, after which he told me we were heading to Ijebu, and he told me while we were on transit that there shouldn’t be any traces that could foil the kidnap.
“He told me they want to kill the wife and children of the victim they had kidnapped before.
Sanni disclosed how Larry displayed a level of professionalism at the kidnapping job by taking him round IjebuOde to show him the target’s properties.
In his revelation, it can be deduced that Larry had monitored and surveyed the life and possessions of Mrs Smith and her husband as knowing their worth would further spice up his interest in handling the kidnapping work.
Sanni said, “On the 26th, he took me to Rolak hotel in Ijebu and toured me around the hotel.
“He toured me round Ijebu-Ode, there was one place called Ogbogbo where they parked all their construction caterpillars and he also showed me the woman’s building materials company at Adefiso Road. He also showed me one filling station (NIPOL) that it is also one of the woman’s properties.
“He showed me all her properties and he told me it’s left to me that he already knows all those I am going to work with on the kidnapping job.”
“Then he gave me N5,000 to return to my place.”
… How The Whistle Blowing Went Awry
Whistle blowing went wrong for Sanni, a farmer who was contacted for a kidnapping contract from a Lagos businessman, A Olanrewaju, who boasted to have kidnapped and killed a multi-millionaire hotelier in Ogun State.
In the narration of his arrest by men of the Ogun State Police Command at his home in Osun State, he had deliberately called to tip-off the kidnap target – Mrs Smith and her son – of the looming danger.
Sanni disclosed that he deliberately called Mrs Smith of the Rolak Hotel with his registered mobile number to prove the genuinity of his intention towards the woman.
According to Sanni who boasted of genuine intention towards the target, he even assured Mrs Smith of his readiness to show up at the police station if invited on the case.
He said, “On the 27th, I went to Ijebu-ode, and called a friend, Babatunde, and told him to help me go to Rolak hotel and collect the receptionist’s phone number in pretence that some people want to lodge in the Hotel. He then sent me a complimentary card for the hotel on the 27th.
“I put a call through to the receptionist on 28th and told her to please speak with the madam of their hotel, though she first denied that it’s against the ethics of their profession.
“Later, she called me back saying that her madam will call me back and she did immediately she hung up. I told her that someone is about to kill her and her children the way they killed her husband. We talked at length and I told them that I was calling with a registered number, that there is a way we can apprehend the person that’s after her life, then we ended the call.” He submitted.
….How Sanni Was Arrested
Having been deposed of the information on plans to kidnap her, Mrs Smith beefed up the hotel security by hiring more security guards, OPC and other security agencies.
Sanni explained further that the development got to Larry from a mole in the hospital, leading to suspicions that he had leaked the information.
“I was at my house on the 26th about to watch a programme when someone was knocking on the door. Upon opening the door, it was the police.
I was handcuffed and arrested. They asked about the receipt of my Television set, and it was provided, I was arrested with my Television set.
“The police men claimed they were from Osun State, but while on transit, I noticed they headed to Ibadan road instead of Ilesa road.
“I was in pains with the way I was handcuffed and I started pleading, later they showed me a picture on their phone that I was the one who went to Rolak Hotel on the 27th but I told them I was not the one that it was a friend of mine I sent to collect phone number for me on the 27th.
Sanni furthered by explaining that the police had obtained the recording of his conversation with Mrs Smith on the day he warned her about the kidnapping.
He however insisted that the police should have invited him over instead of going to the extent of arresting him from his house.
According to Sanni, “Later they played the conversation I had on phone with the madam before we got to Ife.
“I was told that’s why they came to arrest me and I told them I was only trying to render assistance. We continued with the journey until we got to Dugbe. I understood it was Abeokuta we were going to, when we got to Abeokuta. I was put in the cell and the following day, I was brought out, the DPO Dele Shittu said how are they going to apprehend Larry and I told them that by God’s grace he will be apprehended, I told them they should have called me instead of arresting me.
… How Larry’s Wife Was Arrested
As the Manager of the Rolak Hotel, Oluwafunmilayo was not only responsible for ensuring that the company’s financial operationalization was running as it should.
She told PLATFORM TIMES how her salary was drastically affected by the auditing in which she was left to bear the brunt.
She said, “Earlier this year, we did auditing and reconciliation which oftentimes resulted in deduction in my salary while trying to balance the account. Usually the auditing takes one to two weeks and I as the Manager often bear the brunt of it.
“That was how I was owed 3 months salary. When I told my boss that I needed the money to take care of myself and my sick children. She told me to go and treat myself and my children so I left.
“On getting home, my husband was furious with me because he had told me to leave the work all the while but I didn’t listen.
“This October, after the auditing, I continued working there but then an external auditor called me and told me that the management said I should wait for my job to be redefined, and I asked for my salary but he said I should not worry.
“The auditor then called me on the 7th that I should come to the company prior to our discussion. On getting to the office, police men suddenly showed up and they collected my phone. They asked me who Tobi Gabriel was and I said I didn’t know him. Later that day, the policemen came with Tobi Gabriel and drove us down to Eleweran in Abeokuta.
“I overheard the IPO saying we kidnapped our boss two years ago and now we are planning to kidnap his wife and son. Then I immediately interfered and told them that I didn’t know anything about what they were saying that I was brought to custody due to the auditing. I told them I was called to reconcile the money issue.
“I was out of cell for the night and brought out the second day. I was told that I shouldn’t be scared that I was arrested because of the money issue relating to the auditing. I then told them that I have the record and called my husband to help me bring my office record. Then he asked why I was detained and questioned for anti-kidnapping.
… Larry’s Suspicions that preceded his Arrest
“Later, they arrested Larry’s wife,” Sanni continued in his narration as the arrest of Oluwafunmilayo made Larry anxious as to what could have led to the arrest of his wife.
“Larry called when my phone was still with me here in police custody. Later there was a day Larry and Eke tried to call but I was not answering and there were about 30 missed calls.
“Later I called back from the police station in one silent room, and Eke told me that some suspects at the Hotel had been arrested. But I told them I wasn’t arrested, that I was at my house in Osun state.
“Two days later, Larry called again and asked if I wasn’t arrested and I said yes not knowing I am at Eleweran here at the police station.
“Larry called and said he wanted to speak with my wife to confirm if I am in my house in Osun state. I told him she was not around and that she went to the church.
“He asked me what time she normally comes back from church? I said around 8pm at night, he said when she is back I should let her know. Then we planned with the police officers, and one police woman impersonated my wife after I had given them necessary details about me.
“Then, Larry called and I gave the phone to the policewoman, they exchanged pleasantries and they also spoke at length on the phone. Later I collected the phone from her and Larry told me now that their mind is at rest, later, Eki also called me and said the same.
“On the 14th, I was taken out of the cell and was brought to the IPO’s office by one police officer. I was shocked when I saw Larry there and I was asked whether I knew him. I said yes he also said he knows me, then I repeated the statement I made before. He was apprehended on that the November 14th,
… How Larry was Arrested
37 years old Mrs Oluwafunmilayo narrated her role in the eventual arrest of her husband following her release from police custody.
She said, “The third day, I met the lawyer and OC, who were saying they wanted to see my husband who had refused to show up at the police station. Then the lawyer said he had only come to bail me because my husband said he wanted me to still be in custody because he wanted me to learn my lesson. I was later bailed and returned to Ijebu-ode that day.
“On that same Wednesday, the OC insisted that he wanted to see my husband who had refused to see me at the hospital. Hence, the lawyer said he would come along with him on Monday to the station.
“So, on Monday, I came with my husband and the lawyer. He was asked what he knew about the kidnap and all that but we were told to go outside.
“Some minutes later, we went inside to ask what was happening and that was when we were told that my husband is a kidnapper.
“I was told that the person he was working with has been arrested but I was shocked because I didn’t know or ever thought of that.” She stated.
… Larry’s Contradicting Confession Of Involvement With Sanni
Contrasting Sanni’s narration as a whistle blower, Larry told PLATFORM TIMES that Sanni was a well known kidnapper, hence why he reached out to him.
However, Larry claimed to have only harbour intention to kidnap his wife’s boss and son just to punish them for the servitude they subjected his wife to.
In Larry’s confession, he claimed that he had a change of mind after he observed his wife’s reaction to his plan, presented like an assumption.
In his words, “When the company brought another set of people to overtake my wife’s position, I thought within myself that I would punish them. Then I remembered that my friend said Adebowale Sanni is into Kidnapping, so, I called my friend and asked him about the man.
“I collected his number, and asked him if he’s really into Kidnapping, and he confirmed it. So I told him I have a job for him at Ijebu-ode, and I asked us to meet to talk.
“We finally met at Ibadan, when we met, and I brought him down to the location.
“After the meeting, he told me that the boys that’ll be doing the work will need a surveillance fee. But I was reluctant to pay the money.
“What made me feel reluctant was that when I got home, I didn’t meet my wife, so I called her on phone and she shouted, I stylishly said to her that with what they are doing in their organization, if kidnapper now Kidnap them now, so the way she reacted made me feel reluctant, because what I’ll do that she doesn’t support, there’s no point in doing it.” He submitted.
Larry furthered that he did not pay any amount to Sanni to carry out the job while Sanni kept pestering him with calls in relation to the kidnapping deal.
He added that he had initially taken a screenshot of the targets’ pictures from his wife’s phone without her consent, but he didn’t bother giving him the picture since his wife had reacted with shock earlier.
In his words, “Also in their group, they have two Police officers, and if the boys want to operate, they’ll lodge in a hotel with the money.
“Sanni also said that the woman should be kidnapped amongst the crowd, he said there’s a charm to make all the people in the premises sleep off.
“So I told them no problems but I don’t have N200,000.
“Though I have the money, it’s because I don’t want to give him the money, and I don’t want him to execute the job anymore.
“I asked him to let me talk to them so that I’ll explain myself about the money, so he called someone, and I spoke with the person.
“The person asked me to give Adebowale Sanni the money and photo of the prey. The woman’s photo was with me, I showed him.
“I took the photo before the matter came up. It was because I had the intention at first to do it, but I changed my mind.
“So, when Sanni was going back I gave him N5,000. On his return, he called me that the photo and money is what is delaying them, so I told him that I would alert him when I get the money.
Larry added that Sanni had done a background check to verify what he told him about the target, Mrs Smith of the Rolak Hotel.
He explained that Sanni disclosed to him how he and his team had kidnapped and killed the husband, Mr Smith, two years earlier without leaving traces.
Larry said, “Two or three days later, he called me. He said the person has a lot of money, that from his investigation, the person is in Ijebu-ode.
“They carried her husband 2 years ago, that in fact, her husband was a friend of Gbenga Daniel, and no one knows his whereabouts till now.
“So, he has been calling people to gather information, to compare what I told him. I said no problem, if it’s the money that would be delaying you, so I told him that if I get the money, I’ll call him.
“He calls me every week, sometimes I won’t pick his call, sometimes, I will give him excuses because I didn’t want to discuss that matter.
“As it goes on, he keeps calling, and I thought I should look for a way to stop him. So I called and told him that someone owes me 1.5m, and has not paid. Also, I told them that I heard that the security has been beefed up in the hotel, whereas I was lying.
“All I was trying to do was to scare him away from that place. Till this moment, I didn’t give him anything, picture or money.” Larry submitted.
… Ogun State Police Command
The Ogun State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of the trio for allegedly abducting and killing the Director of Rolak Hotel, Abayomi Smith, in the Ijebu-Ode area of the state.
The couple, Larry Adewumi and his wife, Olufunmilayo, alongside an accomplice, Adebowale Sanni, were arrested two years after they allegedly committed the crime.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement on 24th November, 2022, said gunmen kidnapped Smith on September 28, 2020, around 7.30 am, at Anifowose Estate, Igbeba, Ijebu Ode.
The statement obtained read in part, “On receiving the information about the kidnap, men of Anti-Kidnapping unit were mobilised to commence investigation but all efforts to get the victim out of captivity proved abortive despite the fact that the victim’s family paid a ransom of N15m to the abductors.
“Since then, police operatives have not relented in their efforts to fish out those behind the devilish act. The efforts of the SP Taiwo Opadiran led team yielded positive results in September this year when they got wind of a plan by the hoodlums to strike again. This time, the wife and son of Otunba Abayomi Smith were their targets.
“The team, having got the intelligence report, embarked on technical surveillance for the suspects, consequence upon which one of them was traced to Ikeji Arakeji in Osun State, where the 55-year-old Adebowale Sanni was apprehended.
“On interrogation, he confessed to have been on the trail of Yeye Olusola Ajayi, the wife of their earlier victim, Otunba Ajayi Smith in order to kidnap her, on the order of Larry Adewumi, the ring leader, whose wife Olufunmilayo, happened to be an employee of Otunba Abayomi Smith.”
Oyeyemi said Sanni confessed further that it was Larry who described the location of the victim’s hotel and his other business outfits to him with the instruction that if they succeeded in kidnapping the woman and her son, the two of them must be killed after collecting ransom in order not to leave any trail, just as they did to her husband two years ago.
“His confession led to the arrest of Larry’s wife, Olufunmilayo, who was a manager at the victim’s building materials shops. Larry himself was arrested three days later. He initially denied having anything to do with the kidnap of Otunba Abayomi Smith, but when he came into confrontation with Adebowale Sanni, his accomplice, he knew immediately that the game was up.”
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