Uncertainties Over Falae’s Abduction | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Uncertainties Over Falae’s Abduction

Posted: Sep 22, 2015 at 12:48 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

By Yemi Akintomide (Akure) Oladele Ogunsola (Ibadan) and Temidayo Akinsuyi (Lagos)

Former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) and Afenifere leader, Chief Olu Falae, was yesterday abducted from his farmland near Akure, Ondo State capital, but clues as to his abductors remain uncertain.

Initial reports had suggested that Falae, who is also the National Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), may have been abducted by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

Chief Olu Falae

Chief Olu Falae

Falae, aged 77, and also the Olu of Iluabo, was reported to be having a running battle with those who graze their cows in his farm and destroy the produce.

The Ondo State Police Command has confirmed the abduction.

The state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Wole Ogodo, who confirmed the incident to newsmen, said 50 mobile policemen had already been deployed to the farm to search for the abducted politician and statesman.

Ogodo said: “Baba Falae has been having running battle with the herdsmen who always invade his farmland with herds of cow; and this morning, we learnt that he visited the farm and he was allegedly attacked by these herdsmen. But we have sent 50 of our men to the farm to begin the search for him.”

The report that Falae was abducted by Fulani herdsmen had raised fears about his safety as people reasoned that the abductors might not mind how he is handled as the search for him continued.

The anxiety over Falae’s safety was fueled by the feeling that the Fulani herdsmen might not be interested in negotiating his release as usual for cash like what is now popular in the Nigerian underworld practices as commercial abductors.

But confusion set in later in the day when another report came that the abductors had contacted Falae’s family and demanded N100 million ransom to set him free.

Unconfirmed report said one of the abductors had called Falae’s wife, Rachael, demanding for N100 million as ransom to be paid within the next 48 hours before he could regain freedom.

However, the state PPRO said it looked like a case of reprisal by the Fulani herdsmen over persistent resistance from Falae and the villagers over their grazing activities which destroyed farmlands in the village.

Falae was reported to have got two of the herdsmen arrested and made them to sign an undertaking before the police few days before the kidnap gang came for him.

Ondo State Government has condemned Falae’s abduction.

The Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, told newsmen that Governor Olusegun Mimiko felt bad about the news and has called for an emergency State Executive Council meeting to urgently look into the incident.

Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Monday decried the incessant kidnapping in the country, saying it has assumed a frightening dimension.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka  Odumakin, shortly after the kidnap, said the party urged the Federal Government to wake up to its primary responsibility, which  is the security of lives and property of  Nigerians.

The statement reads: “The kidnap of former presidential candidate and traditional ruler of Ilu Abo, Chief Olu Falae, this morning has added a frightening dimension to the state of insecurity in Nigeria.

“The Afenifere chieftain, according to eyewitness reports related to the family, was kidnapped on his farm in Ilu Abo by some Hausa-Fulani men who injured his farmhand who was forced to lead them to where he was.

“He was taken to an unknown destination from where the abductors have been speaking with the family demanding outrageous ransom if they wanted him to return alive.

The kidnap of Chief Falae is coming on the heels of recent abductions of Vanguard columnist, Ms. Donu Kogbara, and Toyin Nwosu, wife of Deputy Managing Director of The Sun Newspapers, Steve Nwosu.

“As kidnappers are invading the South, Boko Haram continues the festival of bloodshed in the North.

These are clearly intolerable and the security forces must rise to the occasion by taking concrete steps to combat the mindless lawlessness goings-on across the country.

“The first responsibility of every responsible government is to secure the lives and property of citizens.

“We demand the immediate release of Chief Falae and call on the security agencies to track his abductors swiftly,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, a Social Democratic Party (SDP) chieftain in Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has called for the unconditional release of Falae who was kidnapped in his farm yesterday.

He described the septuagenarian as a statesman who has dedicated his life to ensure good life and social justice of all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, ethnic, religion and political leaning.

The Oyo State candidate for SDP in the 2015 governorship election called on all security agencies to rise to the occasion and rescue the politician from the kidnappers unharmed.

Makinde said: “Chief Falae did not deserve this kind of treatment at this time of his life, having served this country meritoriously in both private and public sectors of the economy.

“I use this medium to call on Nigerians to provide useful information that could lead to his release to appropriate security agencies and concerned individuals in the society,” Makinde said.

The businessman cum politician also used the opportunity to charge the security agencies to improve on their intelligence gathering and be more proactive than being reactive in nature.

Comments (1)

  • Sep 22, 2015 at 5:24 pm aderibgbe48

    OPC should demonstrate their action at this time. This old-man deserves respect. Please, give this abductors no Kobo. OPC take into action right now.

Comments are closed.