A crack team of detectives attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Command have apprehended a member of a five-man criminal gang, who posed as Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on Facebook, to kidnap a beauty queen.
The 20-year-old victim, Miss Sa’adat Usman Bibire, is the daughter of Special Adviser to the Kwara State Governor on Political Affairs.
Parading the suspects yesterday, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Mr. Kayode Aderanti, said Ms Bibire met her kidnappers on the social networking site, Facebook.
According to him, the suspect, who operates a fake Facebook account, during his interaction with the beauty queen online claimed to be Dangote and said he would like the victim to be the face of one of the company’s brands.
“The kidnappers posed as Alhaji Aliko Dangote on Facebook and offered her brand ambassadorship of Dangote noodles. Thereafter, the victim proceeded to Warri in Delta State from Lagos to meet with the fake Aliko Dangote and was subsequently kidnapped. A N20 million ransom was demanded from her father, who was directed to transfer the money to a bank account in Malaysia”, he said.
Mr. Aderanti said upon receipt of the complaint from the victim’s father, the police commenced investigation.
Narrating how the kidnappers were tracked through the calls made to the victim’s GSM phone number, the commissioner of police said: “After collating data, we immediately deployed two teams of police detectives to Warri and after seven days of meticulous follow-up, the victim was successfully rescued in a house on the outskirts of Uzoro town in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State”.
He added that during a raid on the kidnappers’ hideout, one Patrick Ifada, 23, who was said to be keeping watch over the victim, was arrested.
In his confessional statement, the suspect alleged that he was not part of the original plan to kidnap the victim, but that he was later brought in by one Marcus Omajuwa.
According to him, it was Marcus who provided the Malaysian account number used for the transaction.
Mr. Ifada, who claimed to be 23-years old, said he agreed to join the gang because of the ‘huge’ sum of money he was promised.
“I accepted to join the gang because of the money involved. We opened a fake Facebook account pretending to be Alhaji Aliko Dangote and we convinced her to come over to Delta State to meet the businessman. At first, our ransom was N20 million. When they were not forthcoming with the money, we brought it down to N15 million and then N10 million. I was the one staying with the victim in our hideout. We were using the quarters of one of our members, Destiny. We are five in number and I was promised a huge sum. Other gang members are Destiny, Marcus Omajuwa, Ugada and Chuka. We are all students of Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, ND 1. I was studying Computer Science. She was in our hideout for about two weeks. We asked the Special Adviser to pay the ransom into a Malaysian account that one Fred helped us to set up. None of us raped her. Destiny told us we were only going to make money from her family, and not to assault her”, he added.
A woman said to be the wife of one of the kidnappers was arrested alongside Ifada during the raid.