Abductors Of NYSC Members, INEC Officials In Kogi Demand N50 Million Ransom
Kidnappers have left families of their victims in a dilemma after asking for N50,000,000 (fifty million Naira) ransom to release serving members of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) they abducted in Kogi State a few days ago.
Naija News understands that six Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials were kidnapped a week ago in Kogi State during the State’s House of Assembly election.
The INEC officials, including the serving corp members, were abducted along Obajana road in the early hours of Sunday, 19th March 2023.
They were reportedly returning from Kupa North and South under the Lokoja Local Government Area of the state, where they had gone to conduct the Assembly election before the assailants ambushed them.
Narrating their awful feelings, families of the victims, during an interactive session with newsmen in Lokoja, the state capital, today said the abductors would not budge unless the ransom is paid.
Speaking on behalf of the family, 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 still held in captivity.
Peter, who faulted the claims from the Nigeria Police Force that all the kidnapped victims have been rescued, said those still being held include two serving corps members, Muhamme Maimunat and Abdulrahman Raji.
“The INEC Ad-Hoc staff still in captivity are; Oyaniran Atinuke Ruth, Florence Shayo Ajayi, Opara Tina and Blessing,” Peter revealed.
He added: “We were 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 were 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 sleepover, 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 knew 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 were still looking for six people, including my sister. They said we should not worry that we would 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 didn’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 releasing 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 free my wife,” he stated.