A suspected kidnapper, Femi Animashaun, has been thanking God for using the police to rescue him from the hands of a mob that almost lynched him in Ikorodu, Lagos State recently.

Animashaun, although happy to be alive to tell his story, lamented that his friend, Yemi Taiwo, did not survive the attack as he died on the way to the hospital.

The police had said they received distress calls that some angry youths were about lynching two suspects whom they allegedly attacked the palace of their traditional ruler.

The police raced to the scene, where they rescued the suspects and took them to the hospital, but one of them gave up the ghost.

Animashaun said: “I thank God and the police who rescued me. I went to the area to inspect my building project in company with my friend, Taiwo. Taiwo was my linkman in the area, so each time I wanted to go to the land, I would call him to accompany me. On a fateful day, Taiwo arrived at the scene and he was attacked by the youths. As I got to the place, some of them who identified me as Taiwo’s friend also attacked me. The mob inflicted machete cuts on us. They used other weapons, including charms, to beat us. It was while we were being brutalized that the police arrived at the scene and rescued us.

“We were rushed to the hospital for treatment, but Taiwo didn’t make it as he gave up the ghost. We were beaten by the mob, not the police. I am grateful to the police. If not for the police, I would have been dead. The police did well for me, but I am sad that my friend did not make it. I am not a kidnapper as the Oba had alleged. I am a victim of circumstance.”

Meanwhile, the royal father in question, the newly crowned Oba of Isiu, Oba Kayode Raji, said after he was installed as Oba, some residents were coming to the palace to place congratulatory banners in his honour: “Unfortunately, on September 4, I was in the palace when I saw some hoodlums led by Yunusa, a land-grabber who invaded the palace in an attempt to abduct me around 7 am. They vandalised cars and so many things in the palace. The local vigilante was able to apprehend two of the hoodlums after they had exhausted their ammunition, but they were beaten up by an angry mob before they were rescued by the police who were deployed to the community to maintain law and order.”

However, operatives of the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, Lagos, gave more insight into the circumstances that led to the death of Taiwo.

At a briefing at his office in Onikan, Assistant Inspector-General of Police Ahmed Iliyasu said he was shocked by the report alleging that it was the police that murdered Taiwo, describing it as “false and unfair.”

Wife of the deceased, Olabisi Taiwo, on Wednesday, alleged that it was while the police were taking her husband back to their annex office in Ikorodu that he died in custody, but the police have denied the allegation.

The AIG who was represented by the officer in charge of Zonal Monitoring Unit, SP Adams Uba, said, over a period of time, reports reaching AIG Ilyasu on the activities of cultists in the community were disturbing, and the police were doing their best to curtail the activities of the hoodlums.

He said: “The hoodlums always hold the community hostage and, as a result of that, shops, schools and all business in the town are forced to close down, with people, young and old, scampering for safety, while several properties are destroyed each time the hoodlums go on a rampage.

“On September 4, the hoodlums, numbering over 20, stormed the community, wielding guns, and invaded the palace of the Isiu, shooting sporadically into the palace. While the clash was going on, some youths in the community, in reprisal, apprehended two of the marauders and inflicted serious injuries on them. It was the quick arrival of our officers at the scene that saved the two victims from the mob, who were about to lynch them, and we took them to the hospital for urgent treatment.

“We gave the victims necessary medical treatment, but one of them, Taiwo, could not make it. We recovered a gun and cartridges from the victims. What do we stand to benefit after rescuing the victims, by killing one and leaving one alive? It is not logical. We were not there when they were fighting; we only responded to distress calls and, as police officers, we rescued the victims.

“There was no time that we tortured the land agent and his friend. We only went to the community to maintain law and order. We also have blood running in our veins. We don’t know where the information emanated from that we didn’t take them to hospital” Uba added.

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