Child thieves on the prowl in Lagos
Police rescue suspected syndicate leader from being lynched
Suspected criminals, who specialise in abducting children and teenagers are on the prowl in Lagos. The police in the state have, however, expanded their dragnet to restrict their moves.
One of them, leader of a child thief syndicate, confessed that his gang has stolen three children since February this year from different locations in the state.
The suspect, Samuel Adebanjo, was reportedly rescued from being lynched by an angry mob at Tunkarimu Street in Ajegunle, on February 29, 2016, by policemen attached to Ajeromi police station.
It was gathered that Adebanjo and four others he identified as Tunde, Bidemi, Sunday, and another kingpin, identified as Uncle Rasheed on February 25, 2016 abducted one Rokeeb Adebisi at Tunkarinmu Street, and escaped with the kid.
They attempted to kidnap another on February 29, when luck ran out on Adebanjo. His other gang members, however, managed to escape. The victim was said to have been saved by vigilant neighbours, who swooped on Adebanjo and gave him the beating of his life.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ajegunle Police Station, Aminu Gusau, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), was said to have been alerted. Gusau swiftly deployed a team of anti-robbery policemen to the scene.
Though the policemen rescued Adebanjo, the angry youths turned their attack on the cops, pelting them with stones. Adebanjo, who was detained by the police, confessed that they had already kidnapped three victims, who were delivered to Uncle Rasheed.
A police source told The Guardian that Adebanjo provided useful information, but unfortunately police were unable to effect arrest in all the areas he took them to, including Ipaja and Aiyetoro in Ogun State. The source said the police were still trailing the fleeing suspects while they had vowed to prosecute Adebanjo.
Last week, the Lagos Police Command disclosed that it was investigating a 26-year-old woman, Happiness Uma, for alleged child theft. The spokesperson of the command, SP Oladapo Badmos, told newsmen that the woman was found with a child of about one-year old.
According to Badmos, the woman could not explain how she got the baby in her possession. “We got a case of suspected child theft last Wednesday at about 8:15p.m. Police operatives, while on a routine patrol at Eric Moore Road, Surulere, intercepted one Happiness Uma.
“She was lurking around with a baby of about one-year of age in her hands. When questioned on how she came about the child, she could not give any satisfactory answer. She first claimed that the child was her baby; later, she claimed to have found the child in a bush crying,” Badmos said.
She further disclosed that the baby and suspect would be handed over to the command’s Gender Unit for further investigation and assured the public that the command would not relent in fishing out unscrupulous elements in the society.
In a similar vein, an Ikeja Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Lagos recently remanded a Cameroonian, Christine Amosson, in prison for allegedly attempting to steal a baby in her care.
Few weeks ago, three female boarding school students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Agunfoye-Lugbusi village in Ikorodu, Lagos State, were abducted by gunmen in their hostel at night.
The students spent about one week in the hands of their abductors before they were rescued by the police.Experts have, however, called on the police to boost security around primary and secondary schools rather than drafting a huge chunk of police personnel to protect Very Important Personalities (VIPs) and banks.