Abductors of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, chairman, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, who was kidnapped in Lagos has asked his wife for a ransom of $1 million (about N158m).
Bamigbetan was said to have been kidnapped by four gunmen on his way home after the close of work as he was about entering his street, Ona Iwa Mimo Street, Ori-Oke, before Egbe bridge in Ejigbo, at about 11pm.
The Lagos State Police Command said, yesterday, it had recovered Bamigbetan’s vehicle where it got stuck in the mud.
Bamigbetan and his driver, Abiodun Olayiwola, were the only occupants of his black Sports Utility Van with customized number plate, Lagos KOK, when the kidnappers struck, but Olayiwola was said to have managed to escape. The kidnappers who saw him as insignificant apparently let him go as the gunmen shot into the air repeatedly, threatening to shoot Bamigbetan dead if he made any move.
An eyewitness said the driver tried to escape thinking they were armed robbers, but the SUV got stuck in the mud.
“I did not know the victim was our chairman. In fact, it was God that saved me because I ran into them when they were firing. I hurriedly reversed and informed other road users to turn back that robbers were operating. I had to go through Ijegun road. It was this morning that I learnt our chairman was the target,” the eyewitness said.
The Lagos State Police Command Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr Damasus Ozoani, who confirmed the abduction said the command was making effort to ensure he was rescued.
“His safety is important to us. We are managing the situation to ensure he is rescued safely. At this point, all hands are on deck. All men are on ground doing what is expected of us.”
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Manko, also said they were monitoring the situation and would ensure the abductors were arrested.
“We are monitoring the situation. The kidnappers are using the telephone of the victim to call the family. We will get them.”
Bamigbetan’s driver, Abiodun Olayiwola while recounting his experience during the kidnap, Bamigbetan’s driver said: “My boss called me that we were going to Ikoyi on appointment. After the event, we left the place. I wanted to pass through Third Mainland Bridge, but he said he preferred we passed Funsho Williams Avenue. That was about 11 p.m.
“We never suspected any danger was lurking on the way. My boss was chatting with his friend on the phone as we entered the street leading to his house when I noticed a black saloon car with the driver blocking my way in a suspicious manner.
“Two guys alighted from the car and pointed guns at us. At this point, my instinct told me to escape that they might be robbers and in the process, I quickly put the vehicle in reverse with the full headlamp on, at least to act as a blinder to the assailants who gave us a hot chase, shooting sporadically into the air.
“I managed to cover some distance but the vehicle got stuck in the mud after hitting an electric pole which fell on top of the car. I ran away immediately, hoping that my boss would follow suit but I later found out that they whisked him away.
“When I returned from where I hid, I saw his slippers on the road and noticed that his laptop and phones were missing, apparently taken away by the abductors.
“I saw some residents holding a young man who was said to have been dropped by the abductors and I pleaded with them not to let him go as he could be one of them.
“The unidentified man who is currently being quizzed by the police, claimed that he was a victim of the kidnappers just released after his family paid N400,000 ransom. He claimed he was abducted four days earlier and was dumped in the middle of the operation.
Meanwhile, founder and President of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, yesterday, directed his members in Lagos and the South-West to work with security agents to launch a manhunt for the kidnappers.
Fasehun in a statement warned those behind Bamigbetan’s abduction to release him unharmed.
“Kehinde Bamigbetan is our son, a Yoruba man. Whoever touches any Yoruba man touches the apple of OPC’s eye and will pay dearly.”
Fasehun said the leadership of the congress has summoned meetings with the organisation’s leadership in Ejigbo area for information, to ensure that Bamigbetan returned to his family safe and sound.