But for the timely intervention of passersby and residents, a suspected kidnapper, identified as Taiwo Ojo, would have killed a 10-year-old boy, Moses Idowu, on Ayo Odugbesan Street, Oworonshoki, Lagos.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Moses, who lived with his parents on Agbarajesu Street, had strolled out to meet his friends on a neighbouring street at about 8.30pm on Monday, July 7. While Moses was on his way back, the suspect, Ojo, who is about 26 years old, had allegedly swooped on the boy from behind, and began to beat him up.
Our correspondent learnt that some residents and passersby who heard Moses’ cries for help had gathered round the kidnapper and when he could not give reason for beating the boy, they also beat him up almost to unconsciousness.
Some of the residents told PUNCH Metro that the beating by Ojo was meant to weaken the boy before he would kidnap him.
It was learnt that it took the intervention of men of the Oworonshoki Police Division to rescue Ojo from the angry mob.
Speaking with our correspondent on Monday, Moses’ mother, Abike Idowu, said that if not for the timely intervention of the residents, the kidnapper could have beaten the small boy to death and taken the body away.
She said, “Moses had strolled out that evening to play with his friends. I was at home with the two younger ones. The kidnapper, Moses later told me, was sleeping by the roadside. People had asked him what he was doing there, and he had said he was just enjoying the breeze.
“But when my son passed, he suddenly attacked him. It was the nearby residents who became suspicious. They were the ones who came to his rescue. Otherwise, maybe it would have been a different story.”
Abike added that about four hospitals where they initially rushed Moses to after the incident had rejected him before he was eventually treated and given injections at another hospital.
Our correspondent learnt that Moses could not go to school throughout last week, and only resumed on Monday (yesterday).
Another resident, who identified himself simply as Olanrewaju, said Ojo, when caught, had feigned madness to prevent the mob from beating him.
He said, “We just heard screams from the street. It was evening and so, everywhere was dark. But we saw a man struggling with a boy.
“We suspected he was a kidnapper, and he then pretended to be mad. However, policemen from the Oworonshoki station came to take him away.”
Our correspondent however gathered that three days after Ojo was detained at the police station, his father showed up to tell the police that the young man was actually mentally-challenged, and had been missing from home for many days.
Ojo’s father, it was further gathered, had also paid for the hospital bills where Moses was being treated.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, confirmed the arrest of the suspected kidnapper, adding that the case was under investigation at the State Criminal Investigation Department.
She said, “On July 7, policemen attached to the Oworonshoki Police Division rescued and arrested one Ojo from an angry mob. Ojo allegedly wounded one Moses Idowu, 10, of Agbarajesu Street, Oworonshoki while attempting to kidnap him. The case is under investigation at the SCID, Yaba.”