By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
Two persons, who went to drop the N6 million ransom to free the two farmers allegedly kidnapped by gunmen at Ileogbo Town in Ayedire Local Government Area of Osun State have also been detained by the kidnappers.
The two farmers; Samuel Oladotun and Fashola Tobiloba, were abducted on Wednesday by suspected kidnappers while returning from their farm.
Speaking on a radio programme in Osogbo on Tuesday, Rev. Samuel Eyitayo and Mr Oladotun Abiola, father-in-law and brother to the victims, explained that two members of the five men sent to deliver ransom to the kidnappers were detained in Egbe (Kogi State).
Eyitayo said the kidnappers contacted them on Saturday and initially demanded $200 million before changing it to N200 million.
“After we negotiated with them, they later reduced it to N50 million before they finally agreed to collect N6 million as ransom.
“They gave us five hours to raise the money and after we rallied round and got the money, they contacted us on Sunday to bring the money to Offa and later Omu-Aran (both in Kwara) before finally directing us to take it to Egbe in Kogi State,” he said
He said five members of their church (Osun Baptist Convention) were sent to drop the money but the kidnappers instructed them that only three of them should come to drop the money at the location.
He said when the three persons got to the drop-off location, the kidnappers detained two of them and released the third person (who drove them) and asked for additional N24 million to release all the persons in their custody.
He, however, said his son-in-law and the other person, initially kidnapped, were kept in Osun State, as reiterated by one of the kidnappers calling him on phone, but those that went to drop the money were detained in Kogi State.
Mr. Abiola, the brother of one of the kidnapped victims, added they did not inform the police about the ransom because they feared for the live of his brother.
Abiola said when they spoke with his brother on the telephone, he was just begging and imploring them to get the ransom to save their lives and that the kidnappers equally threatened that if they involve the police or army, they will kill them.
He said what equally scared them was when one of the police officers, that accompanied them to the scene of the kidnapping on Wednesday, told them that if they find the kidnappers, they would arrest them if they cooperate, but would engage them in a shootout if they resist arrest.
He said they feared their people could get killed if the police engage the kidnappers in a shootout, so they decided to pay the ransom so as to get them released unhurt.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), in the state, Yemisi Opalola, on Monday, during an interview programmme, said they were working behind the scenes to rescue the two victims, assuring that they would soon be rescued unhunt.
Opalola also said that the police were not aware of any contact made by the kidnappers to the victims’ families or any demand for ransom.
Meanwhile, Governor Ademola Adeleke has directed an immediate search and rescue mission to free the victims.
The governor directed the state Police Commissioner and other security agencies to take up the matter and ensure the safe return of the victims.