Against the backdrop of violent attacks and threat to life by suspected gang of kidnappers, human traffickers and cultists, the founder of Olive Centre, Mr. Foluso Adisa, has fled Nigeria with his family to seek safety in the United States of America.
Adisa, a prominent member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (Jesus The Rock Parish) Ibara, Abeokuta, along with his wife and son, fled Nigeria for U.S. as threats to his life, and that of his family, had become rampant by an unknown gang of hoodlums who are demanding his co-operation to carry out their nefarious activities of child trafficking and kidnapping.
The Olive Centre which Adisa co-founded with his wife, Kehinde in 2010, trains and empowers children/youth that are drawn largely from their church and outside. The centre also offered vocational activities to youth in order to make them live meaningful lives in society.
The root cause of these constant threats to the life and safety of Mr. Adisa and his family, our investigations revealed, could be traced to his uncooperative attitude with the gang in respect of kidnap for ransom, human trafficking and money rituals.
”His refusal to use Olive Centre as the bastion for the gang’s evil and criminal intentions put his life under constant harassment” a close relative told this newspaper.
Speaking with our correspondent on phone from United States, Adisa explained that his troubles started in December 2017, when he received an SMS on his mobile from unknown numbers commending him for the activities of the empowerment centre. About a week later, Mr. Adisa got another text message from an unknown number, detailing his daily personal routine, including his whereabouts in the spate of two days; where he worked, his residence, and the name of school his son attended
Adisa was said to have been visibly perplexed upon receiving these messages and his effort to reach the sender proved abortive. Two weeks after, he got another text message inviting him for a meeting. It was at the meeting it dawned on him the real character of the people who have been sending him text messages.
“At the meeting they made me realize that they were aware of the children/youth empowerment programme that I and my wife are coordinating and they would want to be part of the project”, he said.
He added said that the gang offered to sponsor the youth participating in the Empowerment centre to some African and European countries.
“It was at this moment, I realised they were specialised in human trafficking and money rituals. Their plan was to storm the venue of our events and kidnap as many teenagers as possible at gun point and request for ransom, or export them to Europe or kill and sell body parts for rituals’’.
He said that when they realized that he would never cooperate as a channel for their evil, the kidnappers warned him (Adisa) never to report their interactions with him to the authorities or else, they would wipe him out and his whole family.
Threats and attack
Apart from series of attack and attempt to kidnap Mr. Adisa, his residence at No. 7 Sodubi Street, Onikolobo Abeokuta was randomly burgled and ransacked. This even continued after he had left Nigeria.
The first physical attack by this gang reportedly occurred in March 2019, when the windscreen of his car was shattered where he parked it during an outing.
According to him “The criminals left a small piece of paper tucked in between the windscreen wiper, which read “this is just the beginnining”.
Adisa also told our newspaper that his wife reported some occasions, when strange cars and motorcycles were trailing her whenever she was out from home.
On Sunday, March 17, 2019, this gang reportedly stormed the Adisa residence with an intention to snuff out life of him but was lucky to have left for church. The entire apartment was ransacked and burgled.
March 23, 2019 around 4am, a week after an attack on his home, another incident occurred when these hoodlums attacked and attempted to kidnap him and his family while he drove his family out of the parking lot of RCCG, Jesus the Rock parish located at Sweet Sensation, by OPIC, Ibara, Abeokuta Ogun State.
Narrating the ordeal to our correspondent, Adisa said that at about 4am while he was about driving out from the car park to go home, he and his family were attacked by four masked men.
“They tried to forcefully pull me out of the car, shattered the car’s windscreen and threatened to blow off my head with a gun if I tried to prove stubborn” he recounted. Luck however smile on him when a patrolling local vigilante group came to his rescue and the criminals fled.
Adisa also told the newspaper about an unsuccessful attempt made by the gang to kidnap his son from him school.
“On this particular day, two men pretending as relatives went to my son’s school to take him home, but were denied entry by the school authority who insisted that such instruction from him was not passed to the school authority”.
According to him, he viewed these attacks and attempt to kidnap and kill him as dangerous to his personal and family lives. Though, he said the matter has been reported to the Nigeria Police, yet he felt the best option was to hurriedly run out of the country.
“After the above mentioned incident, I kept receiving random messages from this gang of criminals, telling me where I was spotted within the metropolis and my office area and that I should know that my life is no longer safe, unless I do the needful.
Speaking on how he finally landed in the U.S, Adisa said “with the recent attack and attempt on my life, we were left with no other choice than to look for a safe place where we can keep our heads down as a family”
“This situation was gradually causing depression and high blood pressure which was never in my health history. However we had the plans of going on summer vacation as a family to Canada and stop over to spend two weeks with my sister in-law in America because we have both Canadian and American valid visa running. The incessant threat to our lives by this gang made us to quickly conclude on this trip, hoping that if we could take out some break out of the country, hopefully these kidnapping gangs would let go of our case.
“My wife and son left the country in April last year and I joined them in May. After spending few weeks in America, we proceeded to Canada where we spent about 2 months and we decided to go back home (Nigeria) hoping that these kidnapping gang would have forgotten our case. But to our greatest surprise, which made us very sad, we received several calls and messages from relatives in Nigeria that some men suspected to be members of this gang randomly invaded our residential home to attack us, so everybody kept telling us to remain where we are, for the sake of our safety’’, Adisa sadly narrated.
He further said “These criminal and evil minded people would be aware upon our arrival because credible information at our disposal reveals that they keep checking from time to time at our residence, to find out if we have returned”.
Local violence like the one experienced by Adisa and his family, though reported daily are not given as much attention as the general national concerns against insurgents and highway criminals.
Adisa corroborated this by expressing his concern about the magnitude of challenges, security agencies in Nigeria are currently contending with.
“My greater concern is that the Nigerian security agencies are overwhelmed with wanton nationwide violence on the highways with insurgents, bandits and herdsmen. The Police have had to contend with many of these violent kidnapping gangs in the past, yet no arrest has been made. Likewise in my own case, since I reported the incident to the police, they kept saying they are working on it till I fled the country,” he said.
Despite various anti-trafficking laws in Nigeria, Westernlifenews recalled that kidnapping for ransom and child trafficking have increased, even in more violent dimensions between 2018 to date.