Kidnappers lay siege to Oyo communities

Posted by Moses Alao | 18 March 2018 | 2,276 times

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•Governor Isiaka Ajimobi of Oyo State

Residents of Igboho, Igbeti and Kisi communities of Oyo State now live in fear as a result of what they described as the incessant attacks and kidnapping by bandits operating along the Igboho-Ilorin axis of the area.

The bandits, Sunday Tribune gathered, had in the last few weeks, taken over the Old Oyo National Park forest that spans the three communities, terrorising travellers and abducting victims for ransom running into millions of naira.

It was reliably gathered that ransoms taken from families of victims in the last four weeks “are already over N15 million,” with a resident of the axis, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, pointing that the kidnappers made away with N13 million from an abduction carried out last Thursday.

The latest of such attacks, it was learnt, took place on Friday evening, when a transporter was kidnapped around Budo Sika village close to Igboho, a day after a similar abduction of two officials of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), two drivers from Igboho and Ogbooro towns at the Old Oyo National Park and four others.

The abduction of the WAEC officials and drivers was said to have taken place in the evening, with the assailants only taking the male passengers hostage while robbing female passengers of their belongings such as cash, jewellery, handsets and laptops.

A similar attack was said to have been carried out at the Igbeti-Kisi axis of the Old Oyo National Park some weeks ago, with the kidnappers reportedly getting a ransom of N2 million from the families of a cashew nut trader they abducted.

Sunday Tribune, however, reliably gathered that the transporter kidnapped on Friday escaped the assailants but those kidnapped on Thursday were not that lucky, as the kidnappers reportedly collected a ransom of N13 million; N5 million each as ransom for the WAEC officials and N1.5 million for the two drivers, with other victims’ families said to have parted with unspecified amounts.

Kidnapped WAEC staff members regain freedom

The ransom, it was gathered, was asked to be taken to an inactive filling station in Igbeti, from where the kidnappers demanded that the ‘negotiator’ move to another area on the outskirt of the town, with a source noting that the negotiator, after paying the ransom, was later waylaid by another set of armed men believed to be working with the kidnappers.

When contacted, WAEC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Demianus Ojijeogu, told Sunday Tribune that two of its officials were, indeed, kidnapped on Thursday, but that they were released without paying ransom, claiming that the assailants released them after showing their Identity Cards to them.

A member of the Board of Trustees for the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria and former chairman of the association in the axis, Alhaji Fatai Bankole, told Sunday Tribune that motorists in Igboho had resolved to abandon the route pending the time the situation would be brought under control, lamenting that 85 per cent of traders from Igboho, Ogbooro and Saki go to Ilorin to buy goods.

But the caretaker chairman of Oorelope Local Government, Honourable Samuel Okunlade, said that efforts were being made to contain the insecurity situation, noting that the road would not be abandoned to assailants, “because the forces of evil cannot prevail.” (Sunday Tribune)

Source: News Express

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