Bamigbetan: N15m Ransom Paid To Regain Freedom

4134ca39cdb6b2d1d155a6941a8b81e6The Chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, yesterday described his experience in the hands of kidnappers as traumatising.

Bamigbetan was released on Saturday, upon the payment of N15m ransom, five days after he was abducted near his house by a gang of kidnappers.

Speaking with journalists, the council boss relayed his experience, saying he was tortured, blind folded and beaten by his abductors.

He said the kidnappers also said they had been paid N35m by some people to kill him over a purported third term ambition.

According to him, the kidnappers got angry when he told them that he cannot afford the $1m ransom they initially demanded.

“They asked who was the closest person to me, I said my wife. So they asked me to call my wife and I called her and they spoke to her and told her I was in their hands and they want to save me and I have to pay $1m.

“My wife asked where she was going to get that money from, she said it was not possible, that she couldn’t get that kind of money from anywhere, so they cut the phone.

“And they were angry and said we didn’t want to cooperate. So the torture started; my hands were tied to the chair and my legs as well, they blindfolded my eyes and used a scarf to hold my mouth and then they beat me at intervals. I couldn’t talk anyway.

“After some time, they slowed down. By that time, I realised they would not change their demand and I had to respond to their issue. So when they came back, I told them I was ready to talk but the money was too much.

“They reminded me that they had been paid. I told them that I am 48 years old and I have three children, if that is the way God wants it, I have tried my best.

“So they asked me if I could pay N50m. I said N50m is a big amount and I can’t pay it because I don’t have that kind of money, I have only N800,000 in all my accounts, and I asked them to check the records in my laptop, so they started dillydallying.

“One suggested they hit me more, some said let them ask how much I could pay, they were desperate, and then someone asked if I could pay N15m, I said I don’t know but I have a friend if he knows I am in this condition he can help me.

“So, I gave them the name of the friend, I can’t give you his name though. So they said they will explore the option. They came back and said they were talking to my friend and they were negotiating.”

According to the council boss, the hoodlums sent one of their own to the LCDA headquarters apparently to find some information about him.

He said: “So, they sent one of their own to go to my LCDA and see what people were saying about me, and they said a lot of people said I was a good man and then when the newspapers started writing the reports, they said everyone was talking so well of me and I must be a good man, so they said what can they do for me.

“From the point of coming to the LCDA, their orientation changed, they saw I was a nice man and they won’t let me die, they would ensure I was released. They started asking me what I was going to eat, forcing me to eat water melon.

“I had lost sense of days, I couldn’t count the days, all I could see was darkness. Normally, when they ask for what I want to eat, I requested for water or Pepsi to charge my brain, but they said no, that I have to eat Indomie, so they cooked Indomie for me. They assured me that if their Oga (master) who had gone for the money returned, they will ensure I was not harmed, even if he doesn’t come, they will ensure I will not die.

“They asked me to take off my clothes, they washed it for me, they allowed me have a bath, they pushed me into a place and asked me to take a bath there, then asked me to take off my blindfold and then I took my bath.

“They also threw in toothbrush and toothpaste for me. When I was done, they tied my hands again and brought me out. They kept emphasising that I was a good man. From the carpet, they took me to a mattress and there was air conditioner there, they kept saying they were in the situation because of unemployment, they said they needed jobs, they could not be qualified engineers and be handling guns, their lives could be taken anytime.

“They asked me that when I eventually get out, I should tell the government to give them jobs so that youths will not trouble anybody, they also want to live good lives. I promised to relate their message. From that moment they took care of me and provided anything I wanted. They even went to buy me Mr. Biggs (fast food).

Bamigbetan said he was not allowed to see the face of any of his abductors. He also said that he was given a car with which he drove home when he was released.

“I couldn’t talk to them by face, it was only voice communication. Besides I was blindfolded. They asked if I wanted to take beer, all this was happening while they were waiting for their Oga promising that when he comes, they will effect my release, but they would come back someday to ask for job from me and I shouldn’t deny them.

“Then at some point they asked me if I could drive, I said yes, so they said once the road is clear, they will drive me to a point and I will drive home. They said before my house, I should park the car there, so that was what happened yesterday.

When asked the type of car he was given, Bamigbetan said: “I really don’t know, it was dark, around 9:30pm. I just entered the car, it was a manual car. What was on my mind was to get home. I was just happy to have come out alive.

“I kept on going and then I got to LASU and then to Iyana Iba. When I got home, I did what I was supposed to do and when I got to my house everyone was shocked. It was a miracle; it was just God’s grace.

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