A 52 year-old pastor in Sagamu, Ogun state, Adetokunbo Adenopo, has been arrested by detectives attached to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) for kidnapping.
The pastor who the police said is the founder and general overseer of New Life Ministry, in Lukosi, Sagamu in Ogun state was arrested along with three other members of his gang.
The police identified the three suspects as Chigozie Williams 22years, native of Umuahia North, Abia State, Ugoji Linus 30years, native of Ezinifite in Imo State and Emmanuel Chris Ani, 27years, native of Aniri in Enugu State.
They were all arrested in connection with the kidnap of a 35 year-old Jonathan Ekpo, staff of a delivery company.
Ekpo, from Benue state was kidnapped on 17 July when he came to Sagamu to deliver goods.
According to the police, after the kidnap, Ekpo was kept by his abductors in an underground cabin inside the Pastor’s church building in Ogijo town in Ogun State.
They demanded N20m ransom.
However the police said the man was rescued nine days later, without paying the ransom. He had since reunited with his family.
When Pastor Adenopo, who the police described as criminally minded, was arrested, he told the policemen that he embarked on the crime for the expansion of his church and charity works.
The pastor and his three-man gang were among the 35 suspects arrested by the police across the country for their active involvement and participation in series of kidnapping, armed robbery and other heinous crimes across the country.
The Police also arrested one Udodiri Bright aka Ability ‘m’ 30years old, native of Osuachara Village, Isiala Mbano LGA of Imo state.
Bright was arrested along with three other male suspects: Ekwuru Shadrack aka Escobar 26 years old from Arondizuogu village in Okigwe LGA of Imo state, Chimerie Igwe aka 4real, 30 years old, from Umucheke Village in Orlu LGA and Chibuike Sunday, 28 years old, also from Arondizuogu.
They were arrested on the 5th of July, 2020 for the abduction and killing of a Nigerian US Soldier, Chuks Okebata who came into Nigeria for holidays in his home town, Okigwe, Imo State in 2017.
The suspects who are one of the leading kidnapping groups terrorizing the South Eastern part of the country were arrested 31 months after following intensive manhunt by the Police team.
The Police team also arrested a nine-man inter-state robbery and car snatching syndicate led by one Yakubu Hayatu, a 30 year-old from Borno State.
Members of the gang include; Adamu Awalu, 28 years old from Kano State, Abdulrahman Yakubu, 23 years old from Zaria, Yusuf Adamu, 22 years old from Zaria, Kamal Japhet, 22 years old from Katsina.
Others are Abubakar Samaila, 20 years old from Zaria, Muhammadu Abdulahi, 20 years old also from Zaria, Yahaya Mohammed, 18 years from Kaduna State, Ibrahim Abubakar, 21 years old from Kwara.
Police said their investigation revealed that the syndicate had snatched over thirty cars at gun point and killed two Policemen.
They use anti-tracker devices to evade arrest and deliver the vehicles to one Alhaji Garba in Maradi, Niger Republic.
Eighteen vehicles have so far been recovered by the Police team.
The team is working with the INTERPOL to apprehend Alhaji Garba and to recover the remaining vehicles.
Police recovered from the 35 suspects 4 Ak47 Rifles, 5 Assault Guns, 378 Rounds of Ammunition, 18 Vehicles and 1 Anti-Tracker Device, amongst others
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, said the suspects would be charged to court on conclusion of investigations.