20-year-old student faked kidnap, demanded over $700,000 ransom – Lagos police

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The Lagos State Police Command said it has uncovered what appears to be a staged kidnapping involving a 20-year-old student, Collins Ikwebe, and five of his schoolmates.

The case came to light on Saturday after a distressing social media post by a friend of one of the suspects went viral.

According to the post, the friend, identified only as 888 @FlackoT on X, claimed, “Guys, I’m locked up in Ikeja Police Station. I don’t have enough time and I don’t know what to do. So, this is my only alternative. So, y’all know what happened to me.

“Someone faked his kidnapping and requested for ransom from his dad. his dad reported the case to SARS. They tracked his phone. I genuinely knew nothing about it until I reached the station.”

The X user further expressed concern about potentially facing a lengthy legal process, stating, “His dad came to the station and requested his release but they insisted on taking the case to court which could take up to three years to resolve. Oher people that were in the apartment with him are locked up as well.”

Responding to these claims, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, provided police report and details of the case.

“Following a report from his family, our investigation established that 20-year-old Collins Oluchukwu Ikwebe faked his own kidnap,” Hundeyin confirmed.

The police spokesperson revealed a complex scheme involving multiple ransom demands. “His dad received several calls from Collins’ number but with different voices giving instructions on what amount of money to be paid and methods of payment,” Hundeyin explained.

He added that over two weeks, various sums were demanded, ranging from $500,000 to as low as N30,000.

“At different times spanning two weeks, different sums – $500,000; $200,000; N2,000,000; N50,000 and N30,000 – were requested from Collins’ dad,” he wrote.

The breakthrough in the case came on Thursday, June 20, 2024, when “detectives of the Lagos State Police Command eventually busted a short-let four bedroom apartment in Lekki where Collins and five of his school mates (one male, four females) had been staying for the past 10 days,” Hundeyin stated.

While the investigation is ongoing, the police said they are working to determine the level of involvement of the other five individuals found in the apartment.

Hundeyin emphasised, “For now, none of the suspects has been exonerated.”

Punch

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