State police said three people have been detained in connection with the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Alhaji Ibrahim Bodunde in Ondo state.
The sixty-year-old cleric is the chief imam of the Uso community in Owo Local Government of the state.
He is said to have been kidnapped while working on his farm last month but released the next day after paying a $2 million ransom.
However, Ms Funmilayo Odunlami, a public relations officer at the State Police Command, said the three were arrested in connection with the abduction of clerics.
Showcasing the suspects at the headquarters of the command in Akure, the state capital, on Tuesday, Odunlami said they were arrested following swift action by operatives of the command.
According to her, the suspects include Muinah Mohammed, Aisha Bello and Isah Bello. She said, “On June 18, 2023, at around 6 p.m., a lady Bodunde came to the Uso subdivision to complain that her husband, Alli Ibrahim Bodunde had come to the farm and was supposed to be back around 2 pm but unfortunately when they did not see him, they sent two men to the farm to find him.
“When they got to the farm, they found his car and cellphone, but couldn’t see him.
After the case was reported, the police took immediate action and the man was eventually released.
“But in the cause of the investigation, we realized that the man in question is the chief imam of the Uso community and thanks to our intelligence team, we were able to arrest the suspects.”
One of the suspects, Isah Bello, said that Mohammed (the third suspect) got his cell phone sim from his daughter Aisha and that the sim was used to call the victim’s family for ransom bargaining.
Bello said: “My daughter (Aisha) came to see me to get my other sim.
I asked what she wanted to use the sim card for and she didn’t give me a serious answer, but since I don’t use the sim card anymore I gave it to her.
I didn’t know what they used the sim card for.
I don’t know this guy (the third suspect, Mohammed). I don’t know anything about it.
I was not arrested, it was my people who told me about the case, so I went to report to the area command office.
On her part, Ayesha admitted that she had given her father’s SIM to Mohammed, but claimed to be oblivious to the purpose for which she had collected the SIM.
“We met at Ogbese market and he begged me to get him a sim. So I gave my father’s sim to him, but I didn’t know what he wanted to use the sim for. He is not my boyfriend.
We are all Fulani,” Aisha stated. PPRO said the suspects will soon be charged in court at the conclusion of the investigation.