…abductors demand N26m ransom
Relatives of two farmers allegedly kidnapped by gunmen at Ileogbo town in Ayedire local government of Osun State, on Tuesday, said two other persons who went to drop N6 million ransom demanded by the kidnappers have also been abducted in Kogi State.
Samuel Oladotun and Fashola Tobiloba were reportedly abducted last Wednesday by suspected kidnappers, at Ileogbo town while returning from their farm, but two others who went to deliver a ransom to the kidnappers to secure their release were also abducted in Kogi State.
Samuel Eyitayo, a reverend and Oladotun Abiola, father-in-law and brother to one of the victims, stated this on a radio programme in Osogbo, that two members of the five men sent to deliver ransom to the kidnappers were detained in Egbe, Kogi State.
According to Eyitayo, the kidnappers contacted them on Saturday and initially demanded $200m before changing it to N200 million.
He said, “After we negotiated with them, they later reduced it to N50 million before they finally agreed to collect N6 million as ransom.
“They gave us five hours to raise the money and after we rallied round and got the money, they contacted us on Sunday to bring the money to Offa and later Omu-Aran (both in Kwara) before finally directing us to take it to Egbe in Kogi State.”
He added that five members of their church (Osun Baptist Convention) were sent to drop the money, but the kidnappers instructed them that only three of them should come to drop the money at the location.
Eyitayo said when the three persons got to the drop-off location, the kidnappers detained two of them and released the third person (who drove them) and asked for additional N24 million to release all the persons in their custody.
Oladotun Abiola, the brother of one of the kidnapped victims, added they did not inform the police about the ransom because they feared for the life of his brother.
Abiola said when they spoke with his brother on the telephone, he was just begging and employing them to get the ransom to save their lives and that the kidnappers equally threatened that if they involved the police or army, they would kill their loved ones.
He said what equally scared them was when one of the police officers that accompanied them to the scene of the kidnapping on Wednesday, told them that if they find the kidnappers, they would arrest them if they cooperate, but would engage them in a shootout if they resist arrest.
He said they feared their people could get killed if the police engage the kidnappers in a shootout, so they decided to pay the ransom so as to get them released unhurt.
Reacting to the development, Yemisi Opalola, the police public relations officer, said that the police were working behind the scene to rescue the kidnapped victims; assuring Nigerians that the victims would soon be rescued unhunt.
Opalola, however, said that the police were not aware of any contact made by the kidnappers to the kidnapped families or any demand for ransom.
Meanwhile, Governor Ademola Adeleke has directed an immediate search and rescue mission for all the members of Baptist Church who were recently kidnapped under controversial circumstances.
The governor directed the commissioner of police and other security agencies to take up the matter and ensure the safe return of the victims.