• Osun CP, Olokode Olawale
The family of a farmer, Alhaji Jimoh Olodan, who was abducted last Friday from a farmstead in Iyemero Ekiti, Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State, has disagreed with the police over the payment of N2m ransom before he regained his freedom on Monday after three nights with gunmen in the forest.
Sources said the farmer was found at the Kwara State end of the sprawling forest by a search party comprising local hunters and security agents around 5.30am.
A source said following a passionate appeal by the farmer’s family, the gunmen agreed with the family to collect the N30m ransom demanded in tranches, following which it coughed out N2m on Sunday.
The gunmen, who sources said were about 18, had invaded the farmstead around 11pm on Friday, shot indiscriminately and took Olodan away, but on Saturday, they demanded N30m, which threw the family into confusion and fear for the farmer’s safety.
The family source said, “Although the family paid the first tranche of N2m on Sunday night and hoped to continue with negotiations regarding the other tranches, I believe it was the concerted efforts of local hunters, the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, the Oodua People’s Congress and the Amotekun Corps that paid off.
“The security men were able to tighten the noose on the bandits through the thorough combing of the sprawling forest between Ekiti, Kogi and Kwara states. The search team in Iyemero Ekiti, which combed the entire forest to the borders with Kogi and Kwara states, went deep into the forest and pursued the gunmen.
“It was upon realising that the search party was closing in on them that they abandoned Alhaji and ran away. That was at Kwara State side of the forest. We thank God that Alhaji was released unhurt and he is in good and sound health.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in Ekiti State, Sunday Abutu, said the farmer had regained his freedom following aggressive manhunt for the abductors by a combined team of police personnel and other groups.
“Immediately the police were informed of the incident, we swung into action. We led the search team that chased the bandits into the forest to ensure that the victim was freed,” Abutu stated.
The police spokesman, however, said the command was not aware of the N2m allegedly paid by the family as the first instalment of the ransom to secure Olodan’s release.
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