Martins Kowei, 34, Lawyer Repo, 20, Pleasure George, Bamidele Blessing, 26, Monday Lucky, Hope Tamwell, Monday Uyakumig, Saby Dandi and Gadilo Agbajo who were arrested at a hotel in Ijede while planning to kidnap a hotelier claimed poverty forced them into the crime.
The gang,it was learnt, also kidnapped Otunba Lateef Ogunfowora, owner of LatOgun Petroleum in Ijebu Ode.
They disclosed that they got N6million, N5million and N3.5million from kidnapping an expatriate and two others at separate occasions in Lagos and Ogun states.
The suspects who were paraded by the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, were said to have had in their possession, two AK47 rifles and six AK47 magazines and 51 rounds of live ammunition, as well as military camouflages which they used for their operations.
Confessing to the crimes, Agbajo, who denied being the gang leader said he was only responsible for sharing the loots in the bush.
He said: “When some of my friends who did not have work and could not pay their house rents come to meet me for help, I assist them.
“When I was introduced into kidnapping by Blessing Bamidele, the first person we kidnapped was a white man. After that, Bamidele always called me anytime he had an operation. We later kidnapped a man in Ijebu Ode, one at Epe and another at Gberigbe side.
“We got N6m from one, N5m from another and N3.8 from the third victim. I am not the leader of the group like my other colleagues said. Bamidele Blessing introduced me to the work. I got N1.2m in one.”
Continuing, Agbajo said they usually got their army camouflages from his brother-in-law, a soldier, but added that the said soldier knew nothing about their operations.
“We also hid our guns inside the bush after each operation,” he said.
But Bamidele denied introducing Agbajo to kidnapping, insisting that the latter was the kingpin.
He said: “I have been living at Ijebu-Ode for one year. Agbajo introduced me into kidnapping. He leads the group and shared every money we made. I was an oil vandal before I became a kidnapper.”
Bamidele, an Ondo state indigene and father of three children said he used his share of the loot to buy a house.
“We started by kidnapping a white man, then two other people in a space of three months, we actually got paid a total of N14.8 million. I was not incharge of sharing. It was Gaifo (another suspect). I got N1.9m from the first N6million and used it to buy house. It was frustration that led me into the crime. We normally share our proceeds inside the bush.”
But to George, the group had a boss higher than Agbajo, whom they called OC (leader) of the water group.
He said they rarely saw the said OC, but added that he usually provided the guns used for the operations.
George said: “We don’t just see him anyhow. He usually came to the area only when he wanted to see his wife. One day, he sent one of his boys to deliver the guns to us and we started our operations.
“We only go to him to give him his share of the ransom. Out of the N6m we got from one of our last operations, we gave him N1.5m. His share varies according to how much we make.”
Parading the suspects, Owoseni said: “They have confessed to various crime of vandalism, kidnapping and Armed Robbery, They kidnapped a Pastor (name withheld) and two other men (names withheld). Two Ak47 rifles with six AK47 magazines were recovered from them. Also a Toyota Camry car and military camouflage were recovered from them.