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The police in Oyo State on Monday paraded seven suspects as the kidnappers of the two-year-old twins of a popular Ibadan Islamic cleric, Taofek Azeez, better known as “Akewugbagold.”

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Shina Olukolu, paraded the suspects at the command headquarters in Eleyele, Ibadan, on Monday.

The suspects include six men and a woman.

“Following the consistent and concerted efforts put in place by the Command’s Special Anti-robbery Squad, (SARS), Anti-kidnapping Squad (AKS) and other Police Tactical teams and the unflinching supports of the good people of Oyo State through credible information supplied to the Police, all suspect connected to the case of the kidnapping of the 2-year old twins of Alhaji Taofeek Azeez “Akewugbagold” on the 25th April, 2020, have been arrested and substantial parts of the ransom collected with the gun used for the operation, and the two operational vehicles, with one motorcycle were recovered from suspects,” he said.

Mr Olukolu recalled that the Ojoo Divisional Police Headquarters, Ibadan, received a report on April 25 that some criminals had invaded the residence of the Islamic cleric with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons.

“The notorious criminals attacked his wife and subsequently abducted his two-year old twins to an unknown destination. The criminal assailants later demanded for ransom of fifty million Naira before the two abducted babies would be released life,” the police boss said.

“As soon as the incident was reported at Ojoo Police Station and later transferred to AKS Eleyele/SARS office Dugbe, Ibadan, a team of AKS/SARS operatives swung into action while concerted efforts were intensified to rescue the abducted babies and arrest the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

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“The abducted babies were released unhurt eight days later after their father had parted with an alleged sum of four million naira only as ransom to the hoodlums,” Mr Olukolu said.

“Consequent upon this, the investigating team embarked on a painstaking detailed discreet investigation that traversed several states, including Adamawa and Sokoto and in the process, the following members of the notorious armed robbery cum kidnapping syndicate who later identified themselves as Rildwan Taiwo ‘m’, Rafiu Mutiu ‘m’, Olumide Ajala ‘m’, Fatai Akanji ‘m’, Bashiru Mohammed ‘m’, Opeyemi Oyeleye ‘m’ and one Rafiu Modinat ‘f’, a female member of the gang who was detailed to take care of the babies while in captivity, were all arrested in their respective hideouts in connection with the crime.’

“Exhibits recovered are: one locally made cut to size single barrel gun, eight live cartridges, one Nissan MICRA Car with REG NO. JJJ 703 BJ which was used for the criminal activity and another Nissan MICRA Car with REG NO NRK 864 YR partly paid for from part of the ransom, the sum of Two million, eight hundred and sixty-three thousand naira only, (N2, 863,000.00) being part of the ransom, an unregistered TVS Motorcycle which was equally used to monitor, execute the operation and buy food for the abducted babies were all recovered from the hoodlums.”

The commissioner said the suspects have confessed to the crime and given details of their individual roles in it. He said the police will continue to investigate the incident, and urged members of the public to always support the police with “credible, timely and useful information that will enable them to combat crimes and criminalities in the state.”

Speaking at the event, the father of the abducted twins, Mr Azeez, denied a report that he was not taking care of his domestic staff which led to some of them planning the abduction of the infant twins.

“I am taking a proper care of my staff but it is just that someone who is not contented can never be satisfied in this life.”

He said the two suspected masterminds of the kidnapping, identified as Opeyemi and Basir, were his casual workers.

“They are casual workers introduced to me by Oriyomi Hamsat when I need social media handlers. They were just casual workers to me because I employed them based on some agreement which I fulfilled.”

The cleric thanked the commissioner of police, saying the “Nigeria police is not as bad as what people used to think they are.”

One of the suspects, Mohammed Bashir, while speaking with journalists, said he and his friend masterminded the kidnapping of the twins.

“I don’t have much to say than for God to forgives us for what we have done. I’ve been working with him as one of his media team for the past two years. It is not that he is not paying us, but all I can say that it was the work of devil.”

The female suspect, Ms Modinat, was alleged to have provided custody for the abducted twins.

“I was given N20,000 for keeping custody of the children. I collected the money and used it to buy some goods I am selling. I asked them the purpose of the money but they told me they just gave me the money,” the suspect said.

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