Operatives of the Inspector General of Police’ (IGP) Intelligence Response Team have arrested suspected kidnappers, who allegedly murdered a senior strategist with Dangote Industries Limited, Istifanus Bello Gurama.
Abubakar Gide (24), Babuga Adamu (25), and Abdulahi Saliu (22), were arrested at Ijebu Igbo forest in Ogun State, Epe forest in Lagos State and Ipo forest in Kwara State, respectively, where they absconded to.
The operatives, led by Abba Kyari, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), also recovered three AK47 rifles and 167 live ammunition, which the suspects buried inside the forest. It was gathered that the kidnappers were the ones who led the police to where the deceased was dumped and also disclosed their armoury.
Gurama was taken hostage about three weeks ago at Ijebu Igbo in Ogun State, after he went to secure the release of four expatriates and a Nigerian working with the industry.
It was gathered that the deceased, who usually negotiated with the kidnappers and took ransom to them for the release of their workers, was detained by the gunmen, who said they were actually after him.
Sources told The Guardian that the firm raised money for his release, which the kidnappers collected before they killed and dumped him in a pit at Ijebu Igbo.
His death, it was gathered, might not be unconnected to an alleged uncovering of the identities of the kidnappers said to be Fulani men.
It was learnt that the kidnappers accused Gurama of knowing too much and also giving them away. Another source said he could have been killed because the kidnappers wanted more money.
Confirming the arrest, police spokesman, Don Awunah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said the suspects were being interrogated. He urged Nigerians to exercise caution in negotiating with and delivering ransom to kidnappers, adding that the police should always be carried along.
Awunah said: “It was when the IGP Ibrahim Idris learnt of the incident that he directed the IRT to fish out the kidnappers. One of them was arrested at Ijebu Igbo forest, the other one at Epe forest in Lagos and the third one at Ipo forest in Kwara State. The crime was committed at Ijebu Igbo in Ogun State. The suspects are being interrogated and would be prosecuted at the conclusion of investigation.”
Wife of the victim, Amina, who has been married to Gurama for 20 years, was inconsolable when the news of the latest discovery was broken to her. Lamenting, she said: “Gurama was a lovely person, if he is not in the house one day, the children will be asking after him endlessly.
“Now, I do not know what to tell the children because he is always chatting with them on social media and phone and for three weeks since his disappearance, they have been wondering where he was because all his activities on social media ceased and the children have observed that it is quite unlike him.”
A key source in Dangote Industries, who confirmed the kidnap, however, reacted to the news of Gurama’s murder with surprise.
When contacted, the head of media in the firm, Mr. Tony Chiejina, who said Gurama was very close to him, also reacted with surprise to the news of his death. He said he would make some calls and call back later. He was yet to do that as at the time of going to press.