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Victim: Female Friend Lured Me Into Kidnapper’s Den

Victim: Female Friend Lured Me Into Kidnapper’s Den

A businessman, Ayodele Olaoye, on Thursday told an Ikeja High Court how his female friend conspired with others to kidnap him and collect N5 million ransom from his parents.

Victim: Female Friend Lured Me Into Kidnapper’s Den

The victim became friends with Esther Philips after meeting her at the club.

Mr. Olaoye, 28, was testifying at the commencement of the trial of Esther Phillips, 23, and six others.

Ms. Phillips is alleged to be the mastermind of the kidnap on April 22, 2012. She is being prosecuted alongside Patricia Nna, 26; Kingsley Okonwa, 24; Osita Adigwe, 35, and Uzochukwu Ezioha, 25.

The other accused persons are Jude Sunday, 36, and Michael Olarenwaju, 31. The accused persons – two females and five males – were arraigned before Justice Olabisi Akinlade on March 5.

They are facing a five-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery and kidnapping. They, however, pleaded not guilty and were remanded in prison custody.

Olaoye, who was led in evidence by the Lagos State Attorney-General, Ade Ipaye, said that he met Ms. Phillips in February, 2012.

He said, "I met her at a club called Pegas in Opebi, she told me that her name was Jane and that she was a student of Lagos State University (LASU)."

The witness said that Ms. Phillips was "just a friend" but admitted that he had sexual intercourse with her twice.

He said Ms. Phillips asked him on April 22, 2012 to come and know her hostel in LASU, which he obliged.

He testified that he carried her in his Nissan Murano SUV from a branch of the Guaranty Trust Bank at Opebi, Ikeja, and that they headed for LASU.

"We later picked up Nna (second accused) at Dopemu. She told me that the lady was her schoolmate. After driving for some time, they told me to stop at an isolated place because they were feeling pressed," he said.

The witness told the court that immediately he stopped the car, three men who he identified as Messrs Okonwa, Adigwe and Ezioha entered the car through the back door.

Mr. Olaoye said they were armed with a battle axe and knives, adding that they dragged him to the back seat. “They took my mobile phone, wristwatch and necklace.

"After that, I was tied, blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination by the first, second, third, fourth and fifth accused persons.

They told me to cooperate or they will kill me. Ms. Phillips specifically told me to convince my parents to pay the money or the guys will kill me," he said.

The witness said he was incarcerated for four days, adding that the accused persons called his parents on telephone and demanded for $400,000 (N60 million) as ransom.

He said his father, Segun Olaoye, later paid N5 million to them which they shared. He said that while they were sharing the money, he sneaked outside the house, where he was being held, and escaped.

"I took a motorcycle and told him to go and drop me at my father’s office on the Gowon Estate in Iyana-Ipaja. After then, I wrote a statement to the police but I can’t remember the exact date or the particular police station," Mr. Olaoye said.

The judge adjourned the matter till May 17 for Mr. Olaoye’s cross-examination.

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