CITIZENS COMPASS – THE Zone 2 Police Command has arrested a 50-year-old Beninoir father, Mr Pome Banda, and three others who allegedly lured a nine-year-old boy from Benin Republic for money ritual.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Mr Ari Mohammed, disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos.
Mohammed said in the process of their plans, Zone 2 Criminal Investigation Department got information about them and the police acted as the herbalist who wanted to help them to use the boy for money ritual.
He said the operatives started discussing with the boy’s father, his brother living in Nigeria, one Benjamin Balobi, and two Nigerians – Segun Shile and Ige Koshelu.
The AIG said that Banda left Ajah Jakatome, his hometown in Benin Republic and came to Nigeria on May 30, 2023 with his son after telling him that they were coming to secure a housemaid job for him.
He said the boy was handed over to a man simply identified as Baba Shina, now at large, as his house help.
Mohammed said after the boy lived with Baba Shina for a month, he was then taken back to Cotonou and N35,000 was given to his father in his presence as salary so as to confuse the boy.
He said that between June 17 and 23, Banda, after making final arrangements with other suspects, returned the boy to Nigeria for money making ritual purposes.
The AIG said the four suspects involved were arrested at Sango Ota in Ogun, the presumed native doctor place, stressing that all suspects have confessed to the crime.
He said they would be charged to court soon at the completion of the investigation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during interrogation, the boy’s father who spoke through an interpreter at the Zone 2 Police Command Headquarters, Onikan Lagos, said he wanted to use his fifth child for ritual because he was poor.
He said he called his brother living in Nigeria, Mr Benjamin Balobi, to make contact for a house help job and also assist in the money ritual.
Banda said his brother was able to secure one Baba Shina as his house help master.
He said he was connected to a Nigerian, one Ige Koshelu and discussed with him what he wanted his son to do.
He said he met Koshelu at the Ilaro area of Ogun, who then contacted another Nigerian, Segun Shile, who allegedly made arrangements for a herbalist at the Owode Yewa area in Ogun.
Banda said Shile became the middleman and coordinator between Ige, himself and the suspected herbalist, who they never knew was a policeman.
On the part of Benjamin Balobi, the boy’s father called him to know what he was doing in Nigeria and wanted him to help get a place where his son would work as a house boy.
Balobi said he told Banda that the job he saw paid N5,000 salary monthly.
“It was later he opened up to me that he wanted to use his son for a money ritual, that is when I connected him with one Baba Shina who is on the run now. The boy was taken to Baba Shina house.
“He said he wanted to be rich, that was why he wanted to use his son for the ritual, but I don’t know anything about it. I only assisted him to secure a house help job for his son,” he said.
Ige Koshelu said that when Banda brought his son from Benin Republic, it was Baba Shina ( the boy’s master) that called to inform him that he wanted to use his son for a money ritual.
Koshelu said that he told Banda that he did not know anything about ritual, but promised to help them to ask another friend who may help them to get a herbalist.
“It was a friend of mine whom I contacted that promised to get someone for them at the Oja Odan area of Ogun, who finally helped them.
“It was that my friend who later took us to the herbalist house at Owode Yewa, and from Owode Yewa, we moved again to Sango to meet the herbalist. Unfortunately, we were arrested at the scene where the policemen were already waiting,” he said.
Segun Shile said he was at Oja-Odan working as a welder when Koshelu met him that someone wanted to do a money ritual with his son.
Shile said that the herbalist called on phone at Owode Yewa about the matter and said that there was nothing like a money ritual.
He said five days after, the herbalist called him again requesting to see him and the man who wanted to use his son for a money ritual and they visited him.
“The herbalist called me two days after again saying that he had contacted another herbalist, who promised to help them but will collect N100,000.
“Balobi then told me he would donate N50,000, while I and Koshelu should contribute the remaining N50,000, as the father of the boy will not bring a dine, because he presented his son for the ritual.
“After the contribution, we took the money to the herbalist, after collecting it, he kept it under his mat and picked his phone to call someone.
“Few hours later, we were arrested on the spot by the police while we were waiting for the second herbalist,” he said.