Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday suspended the Baale of Shangisha in Magodo, Chief Yusuf Ogundare, for allegedly faking his kidnap.
The governor’s order was contained in a memo signed by the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Teslim Folami.
It directed Ogundare to stop parading himself, henceforth, as the Baale of the community till further notice.
The ‘fake’ kidnap allegedly took place on July 5 along Centre for Management Development (CMD) Road in Ikosi-Isheri LCDA.
Folami said: “I am directed to convey the approval of His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the suspension of Chief Yusuf Ogundare, Baale of Shangisha, with immediate effect.
“The suspension is in accordance with Section 38 (1) of the Obas and Chiefs Laws of Lagos State which states that ‘the Governor may suspend or depose any Oba or chief whether appointed or after commencement of this law, if he is satisfied that such suspension of disposition is required according to customary law or is necessary for the interest of peace and good government.’”
According to Folami, Ogundare’s suspension was approved moments after the Lagos State Police Command paraded him alongside his younger brother, Mohammed Adams, for allegedly conspiring to fake the kidnap.
Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said Adams, on July 5, reported the alleged kidnap to the police which collaborated with other security agencies, especially the Department of State Service (DSS), in the investigation.
Owoseni stated that Ogundare was apprehended by men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in Alausa on July 11, after he was dropped off by a car.
Owoseni said: “On July 11 at about 10pm, a team of RRS patrol officers working around Alausa sighted a vehicle which dropped a male adult in a suspicious manner close by Shoprite along the Secretariat road.
“The speed with which that car drove off attracted them to that spot and, fortunately, before they got to the spot, the car had taken off. But a quick inquiry revealed that it was the Baale that was allegedly kidnapped.
“While Ogundare was being debriefed, he sold a dummy that the kidnappers dropped him off, but, unknown to him, it had been found out that on the 5th of July, the day he was allegedly kidnapped in Lagos, investigation had revealed that he was driving around in Ibadan around Ashi; he went to Ilorin, he went to Iwo, he was just on a frolic.
“Also, unknown to him, his younger brother and his wife were being questioned because of some discrepancies that were noticed in the interaction they had with security agencies.
In furtherance of the synergy existing between the police and DSS, we jointly compared notes and our findings were such that the act of the chief was despicable and amounted to crying wolf where there was none,” Owoseni said.
He said Adams told security agencies that he was with the Baale at CMD Hotel when some people who claimed they wanted to buy land whisked them away and later freed him.
But, according to Owoseni, Adams was never in the hotel with the Baale but was only at the hotel’s restaurant but left after some minutes.
“The wife of the Baale actually drove the Venza car allegedly used to abduct the supposed victim into the hotel,” he said.
The CP added that after the suspects were confronted with the facts, they confessed.
Owoseni said immediately Ogundare was allegedly kidnapped, Adams went to the community and called the town crier to order traders to close their shops and markets.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who also spoke on the incident, demanded the unconditional release of the six children kidnapped from Igbonla Model College since May 25.
He said it was disheartening that while the state government and security agencies were working to secure the release of the children, “some unscrupulous persons deemed it fit to raise false alarm,” on kidnapping.
Kazeem said it was situations such as this that prompted Governor Ambode to sign the anti-kidnapping bill into law.,
The government, he warned, would not hesitate to prosecute anyone who runs fowl of the law.
Kazeem noted that Section 5 of the anti-kidnapping Law prescribes that “a person who overtly or covertly puts himself forward to be kidnapped or abducted by another for the purpose of extracting money or ransom, from another or for any other reason commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to fourteen (14) years imprisonment.”