June 18, 2009

Ondo: Kidnappers release commissioner, perm sec wives

…as Police engage captors in gun duel

By Dayo Johnson
Security operatives had to engage the kidnappers that abducted wives of the Ondo Lands and Housing Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary before they were freed on Tuesday.

The two women have rejoined their families as Vanguard saw them at their Ajipowo and Alagbaka GRA residences Wednesday with their husbands. They declined to speak to newsmen but family members were singing praises to God for their freedom.

Ondo State Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Alhaji Sikiru Basaru said he went to pick his wife from a town in Edo State, saying he did not pay any ransom for her release.

Vanguard also gathered that Mrs. Sola Alli, the permanent secretary’s wife had been released Monday by the kidnappers at one of the new generation banks outside the state after an undisclosed ransom was paid, contrary to earlier reports that she escaped from their captors. The ransom of N10million was allegedly paid before they were released after spending four days somewhere in Edo state.

Vanguard learnt that the N5m requested for Mrs Alli had earlier been paid before she was released but when that of Mrs Basaru was to be dropped the security operative engaged the kidnappers in a shoot out, and Mrs. Basaru was said to have been used as a shield.

Ondo State Police Commissioner, Charles Dawodu, however, said Wednesday that the police have arrested some of the kidnappers, saying two policemen were injured in the shoot-out which lasted about thirty minutes.

Vanguard also learnt that the shoot out took place in Benin, Edo State where the kidnappers have been staying since Sunday when they abducted the two women.

The kidnappers, it was learnt, phoned the Lands and Housing Commissioner, Alhaji Sikiru Basaru whose wife was still being held to bring the ransom to Benin.

The police was informed and they followed him and while trying to collect the ransom, the policemen rounded them up and they resisted, following which a gun battle ensued.