By Adejoke Adeleye/Abeokuta
Officers of Ogun Police Command have arrested seven members of a family led by one Oweniwe Okpara over alleged involvement in series of kidnappings in the Sagamu axis of the state.
The family made up of the father, brothers and their children were arrested with the support of Akarigbo of Sagamu, the Police Command said in a statement by its spokesperson, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi on Friday.
According to the statement, based rising cases of kidnapping in Sagamu and its environs, Ogun Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun had mandated the Area Commander and all divisional police officers in Sagamu to fish out the culprits behind the abductions within the shortest possible period.
In compliance with the directive, the DPO Sagamu division, CSP Okiki Agunbiade and his crack detectives with the support of Shagamu security council under Akarigbo of Remo embarked on intelligence and technical based investigation, which led to the arrest of one Oweniwe Okpara from Delta state and three of his children namely:Samson Okpara, Bright Okpara and Eze Okpara as well as one Christian Ishaha who accommodated them.
According to the Police, the suspects were all arrested in Ajaka area of Sagamu for their roles in the kidnap of eight persons at different times in the town and other areas.
Police said in the course of investigation, it was discovered that three other members of the family were also part of the criminal gang.
The family members – Godwin Okpara, Godspower Okpara and Mathew Okpara served as the armed squad of the kidnapping syndicate, while Samson, Bright and Eze Okpara were the one spying on their targeted victims.
Police investigation also revealed that one Emmanuel Joseph, a native of Ebele in Edo state was later recruited into the fold, having confronted their sister, Eze Okpara about the source of money they used to count every day.
The family gang subsequently opened up to him that they are into the business of kidnapping and he also joined them.
According to the police statement, the family- criminal gang was responsible for the kidnap of one Okechukwu Onwubiko on the 4th of June 2019, one Omotayo Sobowale on the 16th of June 2020 and one Lamidi Akeem on the 20th of July 2020.
In addition, the gang on the 3rd of November 2020, kidnapped one Mrs. Areoye Olufunke, and on the 11th of November 2020, also abducted one Mrs. Adijat Adeleye.
Also the gang kidnapped one Ashaye Olayinka Tobi on the 12th of November.
According to the police statement, having heard about the arrest of their father and their 3 siblings, Godwin, Godspower and Mathew Okpara ran to Delta state with their operational car and their arms. But they were subsequently apprehended by the Delta Police command after carrying out another kidnapping there.
The den being used by the family as its kidnapping camp was at a forest in Ayepe-ijebu where the head of the family used to farm.
Already, the camp has been located by policemen and subsequently destroyed. Items recovered at the camp include; three expended cartridges, cooking gas, tarpaulin, cooking utensils, women bags and twine.
CP Ajogun expressed satisfaction with the intelligence and painstaking investigation by police detectives that led to the busting of the gang.
He reiterated the stand of the Command not to relent in accomplishing the onerous task of providing adequate security for the good people of Ogun state.
He therefore appealed for cooperation of the general public in the area of giving useful information that will assist in eliminating criminals from the state.