Two suspected kidnappers were set ablaze on Tuesday after residents of Obadeyi-Ijaiye end of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway discovered a suspected kidnappers’ den in the area.
Clothes, slippers, bags, among other items, were said to be found in the abandoned, uncompleted building near the canal, which was also reportedly used as a hideout by the suspects.
The Punch reports that the crowd laid siege to the hideout from 7am till in the evening after a highway sweeper with the Lagos State Waste Management Agency – who is on morning duty – raised the alarm, after she had heard the voice of a woman calling for help from the canal.
During the siege, five persons suspected to be kidnappers and ritual killers, were accosted while trying to escape from the tunnel.
It was gathered that two of them were set ablaze by the mammoth crowd before the arrival of the police who were lucky to have rescued the three others from the scene.
Speaking on the incident, a resident, Bola Salaudeen, said that as people maintained vigilance at both sides, one of the suspects came out around 8am.
Salaudeen said, “People asked him what he was doing in the canal, but he insisted he would not say anything about his mission there. They demanded to know the whereabouts of the woman calling for help; he said he would never divulge any information even if they killed him.
“Despite the beating he got, he didn’t disclose any information. Some angry boys put a tyre on him and set him ablaze. As the fire raged on, another suspect came out from the other end of the canal. He said they were about 20 in the canal. The policemen did not allow him to say more than that before they took him away. Around 12pm, two other persons fled from the canal. People chased and caught them. They were also rescued by the police.”
Also speaking, a mechanic said some members of the Oodua People’s Congress eventually summoned up courage and went into the canal.
“They discovered that there was a gate in the middle of covered area of the canal. They saw another suspect there. They dragged him out and a mob set him ablaze. We believe more people are still in the canal,” he added.
Confirming the incident, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who visited the scene, said the police would carry out scientific investigation on the items recovered, adding that it was too early to say that the tunnel and the building were used for ritual or kidnapping purposes.
He said, “At about 9am, there was a shout from a female in distress under that tunnel. The people in the area contacted the DPO who rushed to the scene.
“The DPO and the crowd removed the woman. While they were doing that, they found out that two persons were also coming out from the tunnel.
“They believed those people were pursuing the woman. When the police wanted to take them into custody, the crowd surged and put fire on them. A policeman was badly injured.
“Reinforcement got there and trailed that tunnel to the building, where they saw clothes and bags. The building looks like a place where criminals share their loot.
“About seven persons that emerged from that building are in custody now. It became necessary that we do a thorough scientific profiling of the place. We have to send our sniffer dogs to the place. We have appealed to the crowd that jungle justice is not the way.”