Three abducted landlords at Oshorun Heritage Estate, during a fitness
exercise, their trainer and some farmers kidnapped last weekend In
Isheri and Epe areas of Ogun and Lagos States have been freed.
Kennedy Ucheagwu, Dr. Omololu Bello, Fidelis Esang and trainer Olalere
Olawale, as well as Toyosi Aboderin, Ogechi Maku, Toju Amorighoye, and
six-month-old Funniyi Tayo Lawal were freed by their abductors in the
wee hours of yesterday.
Although the gunmen, suspected to be Niger Delta militants had allegedly
demanded N1.2 billion for the freedom of the four Isheri victims, it
was learnt that they eventually collected N16million ransom.
The Nation learnt that the ransom was paid at about 10pm by a group of
men, who went close to the island where the victims were held and
deposited the amount at a designated spot.
It was learnt that the victims were then dropped off at a place near the
estate as agreed by the kidnappers at about 12am, while the Epe
farmers, were said to have returned home into the waiting arms of their
family members around 1:30am.
The Nation gathered that the operatives of the Department of State
Services (DSS), the Nigerian Army and the Air Force have been combing
the bushes and gathering footages of the kidnappers. It was learnt that
the service provider (Etisalat) whose simcard was used in contacting
relatives for ransom was tracked and the name, pictures and other vital
information of the leader of the gang was revealed.
He was said to be a young man buy with affluence as he allegedly owns a huge mansion with several exotic cars.
Also revealed was the identity of the lady who ran errand like buying food and other basic things for the gang and hostages.
It was however learnt that the security operatives were unable to use
force on the kidnappers since the victims were still in their custody.
At the estate yesterday, residents rejoiced over the safe return of the
victims, urging that security be beefed up in the area to avoid
recurrence. They said the victims were sighted at about 11:45pm near the
creek by vigilantes who thought they were criminals.
“The local vigilantes wanted to shoot but the victims told them that
they were those kidnapped last Saturday. The vigilantes then used their
motorcycles to take them to their homes one after the other,” said a
resident. They urged the police to equip its marine unit, as well as
establish a post within the neighbourhood, expressing fears that they
gunmen could strike again.
The Nation gathered that the victims were taken to an isolated island, where the militants ensured that they were ‘comfortable’.
A resident who refused to be named, said victims and all those aware of
the ransom were warned by the police to not mention it, adding that they
were told that admitting to it could attract more danger to the estate.