DAY 3: Falae Still Missing | Independent Newspapers Limited
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DAY 3: Falae Still Missing

Posted: Sep 24, 2015 at 12:24 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chesa Chesa (Abuja) and Clement Ekong (Yola)

The former Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) and Afenifere leader, Chief Olu Falae, is still missing, three days after he was abducted by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

The confusion over the septuagenarian’s whereabouts heightened yesterday following rumours that he had regained his freedom after all.

But the Ondo State Police Command was quick to dispel the stories flying around as unfounded.

Assuring that the police were on top of situation, the Command had urged the Falae family not to pay ransom to his abductors.

The abductors had been reported to reduce their initial N100 million ransom demand to N90 million.

The state’s police spokesman, Wole Ogodo, said police would never support the idea of paying ransom before the release of the elder statesman.

Ogodo said rescue efforts were ongoing, adding that police team led by the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mike Ogbodu, was doing its best to rescue Falae alive.

Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, and other security agencies to ensure the safe and speedy rescue of the Ondo traditional chief and national chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The president gave the directive after being briefed on the incident. He condemned Falae’s abductions as “callous and reprehensible kidnapping”, even as assured that Nigerians would not be left at the mercy of criminals.

In a statement signed by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in Abuja yesterday, Buhari is said to have tasked the police to give him constant update on the rescue efforts, assuring Falae’s family that government would do all within its powers to ensure his swift and safe release from the abductors.

Adesina said: “The President assures Chief Falae’s family, friends and other concerned Nigerians that the Federal Government will do all within its powers to ensure his swift release.

“President Buhari, who has requested constant updates from the police and security agencies on efforts to find and rescue Chief Falae, also denounces the recurring incidents of criminal abductions across the country.

“He assures all Nigerians that ongoing efforts to significantly enhance the security of lives and property in the country will continue apace and that under his leadership, Nigerians, irrespective of their status, will no longer be left at the mercy of criminal elements.”

However, the Federal Government has been accused of not living up to its constitutional responsibilities of protecting the citizens in the hands of hoodlums and other criminal tendencies in the country.

The SDP member representing Numan, Demsa and Lamurde Federal Constituency in Adamawa in the House of Representatives, Barrister Kwamoti Laori, made the accusation yesterday while addressing newsmen at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Yola.

Hon. Laori who chided the Federal Government over the abduction of Falae, maintained that it was unfortunate that the government’s responsibility to protect the people was completely sliding away.

He described Falae’s kidnap as a sad reminder that Nigerian was on the edge of collapsing, and unless something drastic is done over the issue, the country may be completely overwhelmed by criminals.

Laori expressed dismay over the rate of kidnapping in the country, noting that its prevalence has shown that kidnapping has become a big business venture in Nigeria.

The member, accompanied by members of the state executives the party in Adamawa said the party had received the news of Falae’s abduction as “shocking and unbelievable”, stressing that at 77 years of age, he has contributed enormously to the development of the country.

He lamented that the Federal Government had allowed the issue of kidnapping to become a lucrative business in the country and should as a matter of urgency live up to its constitutional responsibilities before the phenomenon would put the country in a monumental disgrace.