Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
A Life of Kidnapping and 419
Bisi Babatunde, a 32-year-old mother of 3 specialises in kidnapping rich people in the society in exchange for ransom. She is also an expert in swindling unsuspecting members of the public through the popular illicit business called 419.
The young woman is believed to be the second-in-command in a gang of kidnappers operating across inter-state borders and due to her activities in the underworld of abduction, Bisi had for sometime been on the most wanted list of the police in Rivers State for alleged kidnapping offences.
However, nemesis caught up with her and six other members of her kidnapping gang recently, when men of the Oyo State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) stormed their hideout at a supposed shrine in a remote area of Ajia Village in Egbeda Local Government Area of Oyo State on Tuesday, March 10, this year.
The Big Catch
There they kept their latest victim, 78-year old National Vice President, National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), who is also the Chairman, Bond Chemical Industries Limited based in Awe, Oyo Town, Chief Adebowale Omotosho, abducted from his home in Oyo.
That was a big catch for the kidnappers some might say, but that was to be their last in a series of abduction perpetrated by the gang as the Oyo State Police Command got wind of the incident and swiftly swung into action.
End of the Road…
Their investigation through the coordinated efforts of the newly constituted Ambush Squad of SARS and the special force called Skynet led to the discovery of the hideout of the deadly gang in a remote area of Ajia in Egbeda area on the outskirt of Ibadan.
The kidnappers, who were well armed, did not give up without a fight as they engaged the police team in a gun shootout which lasted from midnight till the wee hours of Tuesday, March 10, 2015.
At the end of the gun battle, seven kidnappers were arrested. They are: Bisi Babatunde, female, (32), Oladipupo Abayomi (23), Alabi Olufemi, Isiaka Kazeem, Ayobami Musa (23), Ajayi Olaniyi, a herbalist and Shittu Olajide (28).
But luck seemed to have smiled on the gang leader, identified as Lucky, said to be the boyfriend of Bisi Babatunde as he was still at large.
The victim was also rescued alive without any injuries.
Speaking to newsmen, Bisi Babatunde, who is who hails from Awe in Oyo disclosed that she was selling herbs in Port Harcourt until her boyfriend, Lucky introduced her to the illicit “business”.
Bisi said she had been involved in previous kidnapping episodes and had bought a car with proceeds from her criminal activities. She confessed to being the brain behind the kidnap of Omotoso revealing that the gang had offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt and other parts of the country.
The 7-man armed gang some of whom came from Port Harcourt to join their partners in crime in Ibadan had demanded 1m dollars as ransom for their victim’s release.
The Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr. Muhammed Musa Kastina, who led newsmen to the scene of the incident urged members of the public to be vigilant about happenings around them.
He said the 7-man gang would be charged to court as soon as all investigations were concluded.
Items recovered from the gang include a set of arms and ammunitions, cash, motorcycles as well as fetish objects.
6 Days in the Kidnappers’ Den – Bond Chemicals Chairman
For Chief Adebowale Omotoso, who was abducted by the gang of kidnappers led by Bisi Babatunde, what happened on March 4 2015 would for a long remain a surprise to him.
The Awe, Oyo-born industrialist had returned from an overseas trip and was scheduled to attend a meeting of one of his companies on Thursday, March 4.
But as events turned out, he never attended that meeting as he lost his freedom to a group of kidnappers, who stormed his house and took him away in a commando-like manner.
The kidnappers were said to have overpowered the security men at the residence of the business mogul in Gaa Area of Awe to gain entry into the house.
“We saw some people coming into the house, demanding to have all the dollars we had and threatening to kill us if we fail to cooperate.
“After taking all they wanted, I was blindfolded, bundled into a car and taken to a house in a village. I was there for four days after which I was transferred here. They told me they were taking me to Edo State, “he said. Chief Omotoso never knew the kidnappers had played a fast one on him as he was never taken to Edo State, but was in Ajia, a remote part of Ibadan.
Chief Omotoso, who is the Asiwaju of Afijioland, revealed that his family had already paid N10m ransom to his abductors before he was rescued by men of Oyo State SARS.