Mr Aliu Abubakar, father of a nine-year-old boy who was kidnapped, has told an Ikeja High Court that his son was traumatised when he returned home and could not speak.
Abubakar said this at the ongoing trial of three men, Lima Auwal, Abdullah Usman and Seidu Abbas, charged for alleged kidnapping of the nine-year-old boy.
The trio allegedly kidnapped the boy at Ajayi Street, Idi Araba, in the Mushin area of Lagos State on Nov. 4, 2022.
The Lagos State Government had arraigned them before Justice Adenike Coker on a two-count charge of conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping.
However, the prosecution witness, when he was led in evidence by Ms Titi Adeyegbe, told the court that his son could not speak after the kidnap.
He said his son could only nod and point at things after the incident.
The first prosecution witness told the court that his son was kidnapped on his way back from an Islamic school located on the street where they lived at the Idi-Araba area of the state.
According to him, “On Nov. 4, 2022, after other kids had returned from school, his son was nowhere to be found, hence, a search ensued.”
Abubakar said that on Nov. 5, 2022, his driver, Buhari Mohammad, got a call informing him that the boy was with them and they requested a ransom of $3,000 and N200,000, or they would kill the boy.
“We started begging them and they agreed to collect N400,000, and told us where to bring the money and the time.
“By then, I had reported to the police, so they became aware and started tracking the number they used to call my driver. The police later brought some telephone numbers and asked me if I could recognise any.
“When I dialed the number on my phone, I saw two of the numbers that I knew very well saved on my phone and I told the police that we should go and arrest them.
“They said I should be cautious because if people were aware that we were coming with the police, they might kill the child,” he said.
The witness said after all the communications and the set date to pay the ransom, one of the officers planned with him that they would lie low.
“The officer said that they would pay low and that if anybody asks where they were that I should tell them that they had gone.
“After that, people started asking where the police officers went and I told them that they had gone.
“So later, the kidnappers called and said that I should bring the money at 12:30 a.m.
“So, as we were going, we saw a bike and there was somebody on the bike and I recognised the person as Abass. I quickly told the police, that I knew him.
“At that time, there was a convention, people were plenty on the street and as we were shouting, people helped us and they caught him.
“He had dropped the sack at the junction before we pursued him, so the other police vehicle carried the sack before we got there and when we got to my house, we saw my son surrounded by people.
“So, I asked my son, everybody went to school and come back, where did you go to? He could not talk but he was only shaking his head. We asked him where they took him to and he shook his head, that he knew. So, we asked him to take us there.
“As we were driving, we got the dashboard that we should stop and he pointed to a gate, one woman was there and we asked her to open the gate.
“When we entered, my son pointed one room and when we entered the room, we saw three boys and the police arrested them. On searching the place, the money was paid as the ransom was found in the room,” he narrated.
Abubakar said that upon interrogation, one of the defendants, Lima Auwal, revealed that somebody gave him the child to hold as his wife was not around.
According to Abubakar, he had been getting voice notes and numerous petitions from some of his community people accusing him of armed robbery and kidnapping.
Justice Adenike Coker adjourned the matter until March 18, for continuation of trial.
Meanwhile, the counsel for the second and third defendants, Mrs Rukayat Owolabi, had informed the court that the counsel for the first defendant was ill and could not attend the sitting.
According to the state Prosecutor, Ms Titi Adeyegbe, the offence contravened Section 2(1) of the Kidnapping Prohibition Law, No. 10 of Lagos State 2017.