Department of State Services, DSS says it has arrested over 20 kingpins in a nationwide campaign against kidnappers.
The secret police said the operation is a combined action of special tactical operations and robust actionable intelligence.
According to a statement issued yesterday by DSS spokesman, Mr. Tony Opuiyo, the onslaught came against the backdrop of the upsurge in kidnapping incidents perpetrated by criminal syndicates/elements in the past few weeks.
He said the Acting Director-General of DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura, sanctioned the operations, which succeeded in the arrest of the masterminds and other facilitators of these kidnapping syndicates.
Among those in custody is one Victor Afikparobo, who was arrested on July 20, 2015, at Owheologbo, Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Opuiyo said these groups have terrorised their victims and members of the public across the states in the South-South, South-West and the North-West zones of the country.
He said: “In the course of their dastardly acts, these criminals rape, maim and even murder their victims. They inflict psychological pains, humiliation and grief on such victims and their families. They extort huge sums of money from families or friends of victims.”
It was gathered that the secret operatives, in line with its statutory mandate, initiated a series of special tactical operations in the states prone to the nefarious activities of these criminal gangs.
The DSS spokesman said that the capture of Afikparobo, a key member of the “Federal”, a kidnap syndicate which perpetrated several kidnap incidents within the Ikorodu/Ota axis of Lagos State, gave further leads on their leader and other gang members.
He said on July 22, 2015 at Ovara Orugun village in Ughelli North LGA of Delta State, one John Felix aka Austin, Rowson Anufa aka Amori and Obukoko Emoabe, a herbalist and supposed talisman to the group, were also arrested by the DSS. He said that the trio are key members of the kidnap gang which has been terrorisinpeople on Lagos-Ikorodu Road and Owo in Ondo State.
Also, on July 20, 2015, at Uduere Village in Ughelli North LGA, Delta State, one Joseph Ojobor aka Chairman said to be the leader of the Lagos cell of the “Federa” kidnap syndicate, was arrested. He was linked to some incidents of illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism.
On July 24, he said, the team arrested another member of the Lagos cell of the “Federa” kidnap syndicate, one Timothy Japhet in his house at Onokpasa Avenue in Okhan village in Ughelli North LGA, Delta State.
The DSS official further disclosed that on July 19, another member of the notorious gang, one Howell Anufa, was apprehended by the men of the State Security Service, SSS.
The suspect was instrumental to the kidnap of the Regent of Akungba in Ondo State. Anufa was also said to have participated in the spate of kidnap incidents in Lagos and Ogun states before he relocated to Warri, Delta State, where he was arrested.
Similarly, the Service arrested a member of the Ekiti kidnap syndicate, Ayodeji Oluwafemi as well as one Rachael Oladapo, a female, who was used by the gang as a reconnaissance spy and informant. Also, in a follow-up tactical raid in the state, DSSS claimed that five other members of the notorious Ekiti kidnap gang were intercepted by operatives of the DSS including Felix Omaiwa, Bose Ajayi, Tope Gabriel, Olayemi Ogunmola and Damilola Obamayegun.
Not relenting, the DSS’ tactical team at Ibokun in Obokun LGA, Osun State, arrested three kidnap suspects, Owolabi Olarewaju (aka Owo Blow), Olajide Ayobami (aka Gongo Aso) and Gbenga David (aka Oruma).
The men of the SSS further spread their tentacles to the Abia and Imo states axis, where one Henry Chibueze aka Vampire, the leader of a kidnap gang which operates around the South-South and South-East, was arrested on July15, 2015.
He continued: “Subject is a ruthless criminal who derives joy in shooting his victims on the leg whenever there is delay in the payment of ransom. Chibueze was arrested at his hideout in Ohafia, Abia State, where he was being treated for an injury he sustained when he escaped during an earlier operation in Owerri, Imo State. Similarly, one Akeem Bello, a lance-corporal who deserted his unit in the Nigerian Army, while deployed in Maiduguri, to join vampire’s kidnap gang, was also apprehended by the Service.
“On July 19-20, 2015, at various locations in Danko-Wasagu LGA of Kebbi State, the Service apprehended four suspected kidnappers of one Maryam Mohammed Rabiu, the daughter of Mohammed Rabiu, who was abducted on July 13, 2015. The gang has been identified as the syndicate which perpetrated the recent kidnap of Abbas Mohammed Jega, the driver of the brother of former Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega. The gang in its bid to evade detection used one of the three mobile phones stolen earlier from Maryam Rabiu, to establish contact with the family, in which they demanded a ransom of N20m”.
“On July 24, 2015, at Mailaka village of Danko-Wasagu LGA, the Service arrested three key members of another kidnap syndicate operating across Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger, the FCT, Kwara and Oyo states. These elements are Umar Gide (Dudu), Ibrahim Mugu and Baban Garna. Dudu was found to be involved in the kidnap of the daughter of former council chairman of Danko-Wasaju LGA and the mother of the Post-Master General of the Federation, among several others. Another member of the gang, Mohammed Sani aka Sani Majawas arrested by the Service in Zamfara State,” he said.
Opuiyo noted that while the judicial processes are being perfected to arraign the suspects before the courts, the Service assured “the good and responsible citizens of this great country, that it would not relent in its efforts to check the activities of any criminal gang that terrorises innocent citizens across the federation thereby creating a climate of insecurity.”

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