INEC officials abducted in Kogi
…As family members cries for help
By Boluwaji Obahopo, LOKOJA
Abductors of six Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Officials, in Kogi State, have demanded N50 million before they will release their victims.
The six INEC officials were abducted along Obajana road in the early hours of Sunday, 19th March 2023 during the Kogi State House of Assembly election.
The victims were returning from Kupa North and South under Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State where they have gone to conduct the Assembly election before they were attacked by armed hoodlums.
Families of the victims who revealed this on Monday in Lokoja while speaking with newsmen said the abductors will not budge unless the ransom is paid.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Babalola Peter who also served as Assistant Presiding Officer II, (APO II) in the March 18th House of Assembly election said his sister was part of those who is still held in captivity.
Peter who faulted the claims from the Nigeria Police Force that all the kidnapped victims have been rescuing, said those who are still being held include two serving corps members; Muhamme Maimunat, and Abdulrahman Raji.
“The INEC Ad-Hoc staff who are still in captivity are; Oyaniran Atinuke Ruth, Florence Shayo Ajayi, Opara Tina and Blessing.”
Explaining how the ugly incident occurred Peter said “We were actually coming from Kupa North and South for the Kogi State House of Assembly election. I worked in the Kupa North, so we left some minutes past six and we got to Kupa South at 8:03 PM in which we were asked to move to Lokoja by our SPOs. I told them personally that we are not going, that they should allow us to sleep, and that by 4 am the next day, we should pick up and go just like the way we did during the Presidential election.
“But the SPO said he wants to move. As an APO 11, I cannot just tell them no. All other Corp members told them to let us sleep over but they insisted on going. But when they insisted, we had no option but to move. When we got to Obajana, the armed robbers attacked us. We have six vehicles, and our vehicles happen to be the second one.
“The first vehicle was able to move away, while the second vehicle mistakenly hit the culvert and could not move again. Before we know what was happening, the third vehicle hit us in the back. We have three Police Officers, only one was armed. When the armed robber attacked us, the armed Police officer instructed us to pull off our white and run for our dear life. After everyone was running for their life, I discovered that I didn’t see my sister Oyaniran Atinuke Ruth.
“The incident happened between 1 am-2 am. Those people that were kidnapped were directly from our bus. We told the security agency including INEC that we are still looking for six people including my sister. They said we should not worry that we will find them. Up till now, nothing has been done. I was shocked when I read in some newspapers that the kidnapped victims have been rescued. Nothing of such. They contacted us recently, demanding for N50Million.
“The kidnappers keep calling us with different numbers. You cannot call them, but they can only call you. They even told us to send them a recharge card which we did just because we don’t want them to hurt my sister and every other victim in their custody.”
Peter, however, called on the Government and security to work towards the release of the abducted victims.
Also, the husband of one of the kidnapped victims Oluwafemi Olakanmi said he last spoke to his wife (Florence Shayo Ajayi) around 12 am before the incident occurred. “I have not slept since my wife was kidnapped on 19th March 2023. I only call on God to set my wife free” he stated.
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