The Ondo State Police Command has arrested three persons in connection with the abduction of a Muslim cleric, Alhaji Ibrahim Bodunde in the state.
The 67-year-old pastor, who is the Chief Imam of Uso Community in Owo Local Government Area of the state, was allegedly kidnapped while working on his farm last month but was released the following day after payment of N2 million ransom.
Parading the suspects at the command headquarters in Akure, the state capital, on Tuesday, the Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Mrs. Funmilayo Odunlami, said the suspects were arrested following swift action by the command’s operatives.
According to her, the suspects include Muinah Mohammed, Aisha Bello and Isah Bello.
She said: “On June 18, 2023, a Mrs. Bodunde at about 6:00 pm went to the Uso branch to complain that her husband, Alli Ibrahim Bodunde went to the farm and was supposed to come back at about 2:00 pm but unfortunately when they did not saw it. him they sent the two persons to the farm to look for him.
“When they got to the farm, they met his car and his mobile phone, but they couldn’t see him. And immediately the case was reported, the police went into action, and at the end of the day the man was released.
“However, in the cause of investigation, we realized that the man in question is the Chief Imam of the Uso community and through our intelligence team, we were able to arrest the suspects.”
One of the suspects, Isah Bello, said Mohammed (the third suspect) retrieved his mobile phone sim from his daughter Aisha and the sim was used to call the victim’s family to negotiate the ransom.
Bello said: “My daughter (Aisha) came to me to collect my second sim from me. I asked what she would use the sim for and she didn’t give me a serious answer but since I don’t use the sim anymore, I gave it to her. I didn’t know what they used the sim for. I don’t know this boy (third suspect, Mohammed). I don’t know anything about the case. I wasn’t arrested, it was my people who told me about the matter, so I went to report myself at the Area Command’s office.”
On her part, Aisha admitted that she gave her father’s sim to Mohammed, but claimed to be unaware of the purpose for which he collected the sim.
“We met at Ogbese market and he begged me to get him a sim. So I gave him my father’s sim but I didn’t know what he would use the sim for. He is not my boyfriend. We are all Fulani ,” said Aisha.
The PPRO said the suspects would soon be charged in court at the conclusion of the investigation.