A ritualists’ den was, yesterday, uncovered at Ogolonto area of Ikorodu Lagos, with at least eight victims, said to have been kidnapped from different parts of the country, rescued.
One of the victims, a 52-year‑old man, who identified himself simply as Onwurah, alleged that his wife had a hand in his kidnap, saying he had spent two years in the enclave.
The den was uncovered following a foiled attempt by a mother of four to take one of her victims, a seven year‑old boy, to the den.
The woman identified as Mrs Rosemary Chukwu, who resides at 33, Omologede Street, behind C&S Primary School, allegedly abducted the seven-year‑old primary school pupil, Emmanuel Emeka, on his way to fetch water from a public well at about 6.30 a.m, Vanguard had learnt.
Chukwu was alleged to have kept the boy inside her toilet and engaged her four children in a prayer session, apparently to prevent her co‑tenants from hearing the abducted boy’s cry for help.
Meanwhile, back in the abducted boy’s home, located four buildings from his captors, his mother became apprehensive over his unusual delay. She was said to have raised alarm which caused residents to conduct a search round the neighborhood for Emeka.
Eye witnesses told Vanguard that Chukwu even went out and suggested areas where the search party could search for the missing boy. She was said to have been sighted with a suitcase on her head, accompanied by her children.
An eye witness, who gave his name as Oyetoye Gbemi, said: “She told us she was travelling to the village. But one of the area boys who was among the search party, ordered his colleagues to search the box.
“Immediately she heard that, she flung the box away and took to her heels. We all suspected something was amiss. When the box was opened, Emmanuel was found inside, half dead.
“The area boys descended on her and stri*ped her unclad. On interrogation, she said her pastor, the General Overseer of Holy Family Ministry a.k.a House of Mercy, asked her to bring the boy.
“The area boys followed her to 319, Lagos Road, Ikorodu, where the church is situated, where they saw her pastor waiting for her. But on sighting the crowd, he took to his heels.
“But for the arrival of Policemen from Owutu division, the woman would have been lynched. The angry mob also attempted to set the church ablaze but were also prevented by the policemen. They, however, succeeded in torching some parts of the property.”
When Vanguard arrived the scene, a crowd had gathered, giving varying accounts of what happened.
But to the astonishment of all, another building alleged to be used for ritual purposes by Pastor Ernest Nwankwo was discovered.
The building located at 7, Oshodi Street, was behind the church. It was gathered that some miscreants uncovered the building while they were chasing the fleeing pastor.
The mob was said to have forced some apartments in the building open, where they found an undisclosed number of persons in chains.
The victims were said to have recounted how they were kidnapped from Anambra, Bayelsa, Ogun and Oyo states at different times. One of them, according to eye witnesses, who pleaded anonymity, said she was kidnapped 11 years ago.
According to an eyewitness, “the woman said she is about 50 years old and that she was kidnapped along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway while returning from a vigil.
“The rest were males and were wearing briefs. They looked haggard and tired. The area boys set them free when they opened the apartments. I believe some of them should be with the police.
“There were also ‘Ghana must go’ bags of currencies . The area boys looted some of the things they met before the arrival of the Police.” [Vanguard]