Three members of a gang that kidnapped the wife, daughter and driver of a Supreme Court judge, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, in May, were among seven suspects paraded by the Department of State Services, DSS, in Benin City, yesterday.
The others included three extortionists who threatened to kill their victim if he didn’t pay up and a musician who was paraded for trafficking in persons.
Parading the suspects before the governor and newsmen in thee Edo state capital, the state Director of the DSS, Mr. Bello Bakori, said the suspects had confessed to the crime and that three members of the kidnappers of the judge’s wife were still at large.
According to him, Mrs. Rhodes-Vivour and her daughter were kept in a house in Upper Sokpomba area of Benin City from where the suspects were arrested. All the kidnap suspects were from Delta State while the trafficker in persons is from Edo State.
The State Governor, Adams Oshiomole irked by the landlords’ failure to screen their tenants to ensure that their property are not used by criminal elements despite the government’s warning, said the buildings used by the kidnap suspects will be demolished at the appropriate time.
“For the landlords, we have already made the decision that anyone that aids and abets kidnapping will have his structure demolished. Any hotelier who does not follow the instruction of documenting who stays in their hotel and such are used for kidnapping or human trafficking we will demolish it. Nobody has the right to make money out of the pains of Nigerians,” he said.
Oshiomhole expressed joy that the security agencies were able to arrest the gang that kidnapped the wife and daughter of the Supreme Court Justice, saying: “This is a major breakthrough. What is important is for criminals to know that there is no more immunity. It is a matter of when, not whether, they would be caught and that the officers and men are determined to do their best and those involved in crime would be brought to justice.
“These criminals, 95 per cent of them are from Delta State. It shows in this business of crime that criminals are very mobile. No state can find a solution as they keep moving from one state to the other. When their colleagues hear that they have been put on trial, they would look elsewhere.”
To members of the public, the governor said: “This is something that people should take into account, that your own relation may well be the source of your problem. Your own cook may well be the source of your problem; your guard may well be the source of your problem. All of us need to be careful and not take anything for granted.
“The lesson from this effort is that when we report to law enforcement agents, they can be arrested, but when we pay ransom, then we are providing additional incentives for the criminals to remain in business. Every ransom we pay is an opportunity for them to do more. For me, the message is clear, we must resist paying ransom. We must take law enforcement agencies into confidence. We must trust them.
“Let me use this opportunity to appeal to our parents that we must watch over our children, particularly our daughters. As we heard from one of them arrested, this business is to attract unsuspecting young girls into travel with all kinds of lousy promises. In their innocence, they submit and they take them across the borders and they face all kinds of dehumanizing experiences.”