How N15.1m ransom was paid for Oniba’s release – prosecutor

1596, Oniba's release

A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of four men charged with the kidnapping of a traditional ruler of Iba in Lagos State, Oba Goriola Oseni, on Tuesday told an Igbosere High Court that a ransom of N15.1 million was paid to the kidnappers.

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Sgt. Dele-Ojo Oduayo, an Investigation Police Officer (IPO) attached to the Inspector General of Police force headquarters, Abuja, who was assigned to investigate the case, said this while testifying during Tuesday proceedings.

The IPO said that the family of the Oba had paid the ransom to the kidnappers before he was moved to Lagos to investigate the case.

He also said that the family were about to pay another ransom to the kidnappers before his team swung into action.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the traditional ruler was kidnapped at his palace at Iba on July 16, 2016.

Four men — Duba Furejo, Ododowo Isaiah, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh — were arraigned on Oct. 24, 2016, on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping.

The police had said that the accused murdered ‎a security guard, Sunday Okanlawon, a commercial motorcyclist, Joseph Okeke and also robbed the monarch’s wife of her mobile phone before shooting her several times.

The offences contravened Sections ‎233, 230, 299, 297 (2) (b) and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Lagos State, 2015.

At the resumed trial of the case on Tuesday, Mr. Jide Martins, an Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, introduced Oduayo as the seventh prosecution witness.

Oduayo said his team ambushed the first accused, Furejo, at the creek and arrested him.

“Furejo was carrying a nylon bag containing N200, 000 at the time of his arrest, he confessed that the money was part of the ransom,” the IPO said.

According to him, Furejo, linked the second accused, Isaiah to the crime and said Isaiah was escaping to Abeokuta.

“We arrested Isaiah at Iyana Ipaja garage, as he was boarding a bus to Abeokuta,” he said.

The IPO also narrated to the court how the third and fourth accused were arrested.

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He said that Isaiah had confessed to his team that the third accused was given N800, 000 from the ransom which the fourth accused got a share from.

The IPO, however, told the court that the statements of all the accused were taken and the video recordings was taken during their interrogations.

After the testimony of the witness, the prosecutor tendered the statements of the accused, the video recordings, the photographs of the scene of crime and the N200, 000 cash found with the first accused.

The accused counsel, Mr. S. W. Baidi, Anthony Onwueze, and G. O. Egwuaroje, all objected to the admissibility of the documents.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, however, admitted the other documents in evidence but said that the video recordings must be viewed in the open court to ascertain its contents before it would be admitted.

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