◗ Says I was there when my wife was arrested but signaled to me to run
Four years after the arrest of Funmilayo Adeyemi, the notorious nanny who confessed to be the mastermind of the kidnap of the Orekoya and the Esharegaran kids in Lagos, police detectives have finally arrested her fleeing husband, Rasheed Kareem.
She was arrested sometime in 2014 by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos police command, Ikeja led by DCP Abba Kyari who was the officer in charge of the squad then.
Detectives who kept tab on the fleeing members of the kidnap gang finally picked Rasheed, the husband to Fumilayo. During her interrogation, she had confessed that her husband, Rasheed; brother-in-law, Hakeem Kareem and their mother, who are still at large, are members of the kidnap syndicate, which she called ‘family business.’
It could be recalled that the mother of four and aged 35, Funmilayo was declared wanted when the news of the kidnap of the Orekoya three kids by their nanny hit the media. The story was that Funmilayo, who claimed that her name was Mary Akinloye, was recruited through a popular online platform. She disappeared with the kids on April 10, 2014, barely 24 hours after she resumed work at the Orekoya family residence in Surulere, Lagos.
The kidnap syndicate initially demanded N15 million from the Orekoyas, a ransom that was later negotiated to N13 million out of which N2 million was paid into a given bank account to bait the suspects. The children identified as Demola, 6, Adedamola, 4, and Aderomola, 11months, were later dumped naked in an uncompleted building after nine days in their abductors’ custody. A team of SARS detectives subsequently traced the criminals to their hideout in Shasha, Akowonjo area of Lagos.
In her confession at the police station, she also admitted that her gang arranged the December 2014 kidnap of two kids; Raphael and Michael Esharegaran in Magodo area of the state.
On the arrest of Rasheed, police source told Saturday Sun that although Funmilayo had been charged to court, they were still on the trail of the other fleeing suspects.
Police however got a hint recently that Rasheed had returned from exile. He was immediately picked up at Ikorodu where he had relocated to.
I thought the matter was over
Although his wife identified him as Rasheed Kareem, the suspect told the police that his real name is Abubakar Waheed aged 41. At the police station, Rasheed confessed that he was the one who persuaded his wife to assist him and his brother to kidnap children.
“His real name is Adizat Olawale but my wife knows him as Hakeem. He is my closest cousin and whenever I have need he normally comes to my rescue. Sometime in 2013, my wife gave birth and I had no money to pay hospital bill or buy children stuffs. He came to my rescue and paid the bill and gave us some money. I was so impressed and happy. Months later , he asked to allow my wife to do a job for him. I asked him the details and he explained and assured me that it was safe. Most importantly that the money we will make will be enough to rescue me from poverty.
I did not want to disappoint him because of what he did for me in the past. I agreed and coached my wife. My duty was to persuade her to play along. Initially, she refused but when I threatened to leave her with the children she agreed to cooperate”, Rasheed stated, referring to how their partner still at large, Hakeem lured them into kidnap business.
According to him, Hakeem came with the first job and briefed his wife on the way to go about it. “She is very sweet with children and hardworking, so in less than one week, she was able to convince her employers that she is trustworthy. During the period that she stayed in that house, we visited her severally to study the environment and decided the best approach to take to avoid raising suspicion.
“As soon as Hakeem called her, she smuggled the children out of the house and brought them to my place in Egbeda, it was there that all the negotiations were done and the family paid N2million. He gave me my share although I cannot remember the exact amount. A month later, he came with another job which did not end well.”
On why he abandoned his wife when the bubble busted, Rasheed said he wanted to stay with her but was asked to flee. “I was in the house that day when policemen stormed our house. My wife was the one who opened the door, so when she realized that they were policemen, he signaled to me to run away. I fled through the back door and alerted my brother that policemen had arrested my wife.
“With the little cash with me I relocated to Abuja and monitored the news. I knew when she was charged to court and I kept sending money to her in the prison through friends. It was early this year when I felt that the police are no longer looking for me that I came back to Lagos. I moved to Ikorodu and went back into my transport business. I was shocked when police arrested me over a matter that happened almost four years ago”, Rasheed stated.
On the last time he saw or spoke with his wife, Rasheed said he was in contact with her especially now that she was released from prison on bail. “Her court case is till on, it’s just that they have released her on bail and she is with our children living in her mother’s house. I thought that since she is on bail that meant that no one is looking for us.”
What Funmilayo said after 2014 arrest
In an interview with Saturday Sun after her arrest in 2014, Funmilayo claimed that it was her relationship with the family of the father of her children that landed her in crime.
“I knew that there was something wrong about him but I needed to marry as I was not getting younger. I knew that if I complained, I would lose him to other women. This was why when my brother-in-law came up with the idea that they wanted me to help them kidnap children, I accepted. I accepted because since I am a mother, I will ensure that all the children kidnapped were well taken care of.
“They gave me different names, including Mary Akinloye. All I know is that as soon as they get anyone, I will be the one to make the call and follow it up. This was how they contacted the Esharegaran family in Magodo and several others, including the Orekoya family. I will paint a picture of a poor lady who was looking for nanny job. I will demand to know the kind of accommodation. Even when I go to their houses, my husband and in-law will follow me to assess the environment. If there is any need for a guarantor, my mother-in-law will pose as my mother who lives in Ikorodu. Everybody in that family was involved, so it was very easy to coordinate. If it is not good, I will call and give an excuse for my lack of interest in the job. The one at Magodo was a good one”, she had narrated.