October 6, 2023

Ondo abduction: We were beaten, paid N50m ransom — Victims recount ordeal

20 Ondo church members

— Victims weak, frail, hospitalised- Regional Pastor

— We’ll enforce law on kidnapping – Ondo Assembly

By Dayo Johnson, Akure

Choir members of the Christ Apostolic Church, CAC, Oke Igan, Akure, Ondo state, abducted a week ago, have regained their freedom but after coughing out N50m ransom.

Church leaders confided in newsmen that the kidnappers rejected the N22 m taken to them and insisted that they wouldn’t compromise the ransom demanded.

According to him” We had no choice but to look for the N50 m to give to them before our members were released. It was tough but we thank God, we were able to garner the amount.

” The joy there’s that our members have regained their freedom and we’re not hurt except the beating they received when we were negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers.

Recall that their abductors had on the second day of the abduction demanded N50 m ransom for the release of the remaining 17 victims after eight of the 25 abducted narrowly escaped from the kidnapper’s den last week Saturday.

The choir members of the church were abducted along Ifon-Benin road on their way to a funeral ceremony.

Church leaders who confirmed the release of the abducted victims said they were dropped at the same point they were picked up last Friday night when they arrived in Akure around midnight.

He confirmed that a substantial amount of money was paid as ransom by the church and the families of the victims to secure their release.

According to him “The negotiating team of the church returned with the remaining victims at 11:47 pm to the premises of the church in Akure.

“They were subsequently taken to the hospital as they all look weak and frail and we rushed them to the police clinic in Akure. They are responding to treatment”

The Regional Superintendent of the church’s Odubanjo Region, Pastor Benjamin Akande, who confirmed the release of the church members, expressed gratitude to God for the release of the victims

He said most of the victims are tired and look frail, saying they have been taken to hospital for medical treatment.

Akande said that the church fervently prayed for the release of the victims since the ugly incident occurred.

A thanksgiving prayer session took place at the church premises last night as the women gathered to sing praises to God for the release of the members of the church.

After the shout of 21 Halleyah, the women were seen rolling on the floor to show their gratitude that the victims were released unhurt by their captors.

Meanwhile, the leadership state House of Assembly led by the deputy speaker, Rt Hon Abayomi Akinruntan, who visited the church, described the incident as unfortunate.

Akinruntan said that “There’s a law put in place for kidnapping and it’s time to go back to the drawing board to find a way to review the law and see how it can be strengthened to ensure that the lives and property of the people of Ondo State are protected.

The Deputy Speaker added that the House would also liaise with the security agencies to ensure that maximum security is being put in place along the road so that people travelling in and out of Ondo State can travel safely.

The spokesperson for the state police command, Funmi Odunlami, didn’t pick up several calls put across to her for confirmation.

But a top police officer confirmed that the victims have been released but claimed ignorant of the payment of ransom to the abductors.