By Emeka Mamah
The Secretary to the Kaduna state government, Mr.Waje Yayok, has been reportedly kidnapped by unknown persons who are now demanding a ransom of N40 million for his release.
Sources said that Mr. Yayok was allegedly kidnapped on Monday night when he drove out of his Yem Kpop street residence, Barnawa in the Christian dominated area of Kaduna metropolis at about 8pm to distribute invitation cards for his daughterâ€™s wedding on October 10 this year.
Family members of the SSG told newsmen at his residence that they got worried when he failed to come back until yesterday morning and alerted the police.
Later, one of the kidnappers called his wife to inform her about the kidnap and demanded for N40 million ransom. However,the state government is doubting the story ostensibly because Mr. Yayok was said to have been sent on assignment to the southern part of the state with a large sum of money when the alleged kidnap report started making the rounds.
The kidnap of Mr. Yayok, brings the number to three, those who have so far been kidnapped in the state.
The first kidnap story in the state involved two pastors of a new generation church, while the second case involved a Canadian woman, Mrs. Juli Mulligan who visited for a Rotary programme in April this year.
Among the early callers at Mr.Yayokâ€™s residence were the stateÂ Commissioner for education, Alhaji Suleiman Karu,Â his counterparts from the ministries of Water Resources and Economic Planning, Tshiru Bako and John Bezart, respectively as well as the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Danladi Bissallah.
The Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Bezart, told newsmen at Yayokâ€™s house that he was sad about the development but stressed that â€œgovernment will certainly do something about it.â€
The NLC chairman, Comrade Bissallah however blamed what he described as the ineffectiveness of the security agencies in the state over the kidnap of Mr. Yayok.
The state Police Commissioner, Tambari Yabo Mohammed, told Vanguard on telephone that his men had started investigation into the matter and expressed the belief that the SSGâ€™s abductors were still within Kaduna state.
The state government in reacting to the kidnap story said that it is not yet proper to declare the SSG missing as the incident is not up to 48 hours which is the internationally accepted standard to declare a person missing.
In a five-paragraph statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on media and Public Affairs, Alhaji Umar Sani, the government said, â€œwe have been inundated with enquiries as to the whereabouts of the SSG of Kaduna state, Mr. Waje Yayok, over a case of abduction.
â€œThese enquiries necessitated that we respond appropriately to these rumours in order to set the records straight.
â€œWhile it is true that the SSG was on official assignment to the southern part of Kaduna, we are yet to get in contact with him over his supposed location. We believe he will get in contact with us soon.
â€œHowever, the gravity and the intensity of the rumours require us to takeÂ steps to ensure that everything is in order. The security agencies have been detailed of the place, the nature of the assignment and all his contact details to enable them trace his whereabouts and douse the tension created by such rumours.
â€œMembers of the press, in line with the internationally accepted standards that a person cannot be declared missing until after 48 hours and because the rumours started this morning we shall address you properly very soon on the matter.
â€œHowever, the essence of this is to keep you informed on the situation, by tomorrow (when) the picture will become clearer.â€