mastermind of the kidnap of the Orekoya and the Esharegaran kids in Lagos. She was arrested on Wednesday last week by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos police command, Ikeja.
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, 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 on Tuesday last week after nine days in their abductors’ custody.
She also admitted that her gang arranged the December 2014 kidnap of two kids; Raphael and Michael Esharegaran in Magodo area of the state. She equally confessed that her husband, Rasheed Kareem, brother-in-law, Hakeem Kareem and their mother who are still at large are members of the kidnap syndicate, which she called ‘family business.’
In an exclusive encounter by DailySun with Funmilayo’s mother, Prophetess Esther Adeyemi at the police station, she looked visibly shocked at the confession of her daughter on TV. She stormed Lagos police command, Ikeja to confirm that the suspect being paraded on TV was actually her first child, Funmilayo.
Prophetess Adeyemi claimed that her visit to the police station to identify the suspect on Monday was the first time she was seeing her daughter since she left home in 2005.
“She told me that she was going back to school and never came back home. She left us eight years ago. They kidnapped and hypnotized my daughter”, she lamented.
Mrs Adeyemi said she had borne the burden of training Funmilayo and three others all alone ever since their father died in the 90s.
“All has always been well till their father died. He was killed during the Ife and Modakeke fight. During that time, we were based in Calabar and as expected we were evicted from the barracks and we relocated to Osun State.
He died as a Chief Superintendent of Police. Luckily, I am a prophetess and I decided to embrace my ministry. I had to get closer home and most importantly close to the mountain. By the grace of God, I became popular in Lagos and Ajah.
As the first daughter of the house, I wanted the best for her, so I invested in her education. She got admission to study Survey at Osun Polytechnic. After her graduation, she worked briefly as a receptionist till one day in 2005, she came to me that she wanted to go back to school for her HND.
I gave her enough money to sustain her for months. This was the last I heard from her. I was worried but anytime that I attempted to call the police, she will call her sister and tell her that she is fine. This always happened anytime I go to the mountain to pray. She is 35 years and old enough to be a mother but I never knew that I had four grandchildren from her,” Mrs Adeyemi narrated.
When asked why she did not use her gift of prophecy to find her daughter, Mrs. Adeyemi said:
“I never knew that she was lost, so I did not bother focusing my prayer on her. I felt that she is an adult and should be allowed to live her life. Most especially, since she gets in touch with her sister, I felt no need to worry. The only time I spoke with her, she said that she was in South Africa.”
She called on the Orekoya family and others who have fallen victims of Funmilayo’s kidnap syndicate to forgive her daughter as she was hypnotised.
“They kidnapped my daughter and placed her under a spell. What sort of human being from a Christian background will suddenly decide to sell their soul to the devil?
Please, forgive my daughter and give me the chance to break the spell. You all heard that she claimed that she wanted to expand their family wealth. Which normal woman would be working for a man who has refused to marry her after four children? Please, have mercy on my daughter. I thank God that none of the kids died in the process,” she pleaded.
How she learnt about her arrest, Mrs. Adeyemi said that it was her little daughter that tried to draw her attention to the news on social media.
“She called me that a lady who looks like my daughter is on her whatsapp. I waved it aside till I saw her pictures everywhere. It was a great shock. I prayed for the ground to open and swallow me. The shame was too much but no matter how bad a child turns out to be, a mother cannot abandon him or her. I am ashamed but all the same I thank God that she is truly alive.
It could be God’s way of rescuing my daughter from the hands of those criminals. She is under a spell and almighty God will help me deliver her,” Mrs Adeyemi stated.
As soon as the Orekoya’s kids were taken, the news was all over the social media, while the family reported the matter at the nearest police station in Itire, Surulere. Funmilayo and her gang contacted the family and demanded N15 million ransom.
Not happy that the Itire police station didn’t act promptly when they got the first complaint on the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti ordered that the case be transferred to the state command.
A team of SARS detectives led by Abba Kyari swung into action and traced the criminals to their hideout in Shasha, Akowonjo area of Lagos. As soon as the kids were released Tuesday night, detectives stormed the hotel where Funmilayo and her maid were moved to by her husband and arrested her while they were busy plotting how to escape from Lagos. Though three other gang members escaped and are still at large, Funmilayo was not as lucky.
Saturday Sun gathered that out of the ransom money paid into a bank account, the kidnappers were only able to withdraw about N400,000 using ATM before the bank placed it on red alert and blocked further withdrawals.
Giving Saturday Sun an insight into how she came into crime, Funmilayo, in an exclusive interview at the police station, claimed that it was her relationship with the family of the father of her children that landed her into crime.
“I am a graduate of Osun polytechnic and I have Diploma in Survey. After my studies, I got a job as a receptionist in Osun State, it was there I met Rasheed Kareem and we became friends. I was worried that at the age of 27, I was yet to get married. Luckily, I got pregnant for him and he accepted responsibility for the pregnancy. He introduced me to his family and they accepted me. He also promised that as soon as his finance improves, that he would marry me in church. Since I knew that he would finally become my husband, I had three other kids making them four”, she said.
Desperate to be called Mrs. Kareem, Funmilayo said she did not bother to ask what her husband’s real business was.
“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.
According to the suspect, her husband and brother-in-law, Hakeem had the duty of sourcing for possible targets.
“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 co-ordinate. 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 narrated.