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Kidnappers demand 50 million naira for kidnapped INEC officials

The kidnappers of six Independent National Electoral Commission officials who contested the gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Kogi state are reportedly demanding the sum of 50 million naira for their release.

This was revealed on Monday March 27 by the families of the kidnapped victims during a press conference in Lokoja. Against Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer SP William Aya’s claim that only two victims are missing, a Deputy Speaker II, in the March 18 election for the House of assembly of Kogi identified as Babalola Peter, revealed that his sister was among those still being held captive.

Peter also said that Muhammed Maimunat and Abdulrahaman Raji, two active members of the corps, are still in captivity alongside some ad hoc INEC staff whom he identified as Oyaniran Atinuke Ruth, Florence Shayo Ajayi, Opara Tina and Blessing.

Recounting how the incident happened, Peter said;

“We were actually coming from North and South Kupa for the Kogi State Assembly election. I was working in the North, so we left the North a few minutes after 6:00 p.m. and arrived in the South at 8:03 p.m. where our SPOs asked us to move to Lokoja.

“I told them personally that we would not go, that they should allow us to sleep and the next day at 4 am we would get up and leave, as we did in the presidential election. But the SPO South said they wanted to move. As APO two, I can’t just say no to them. All the other corps members told them to let us sleep but they insisted. So we had no choice but to move.

“When we arrived in Obajana, the armed robbers attacked us. We had six vehicles, and our vehicles happened to be the second. The first vehicle was able to drive away, while the second accidentally hit the culvert and could not move. But before we could know what was going on, the third vehicle rammed us from behind.

“We had three policemen but only one was armed. When the armed robber attacked us, the armed policeman ordered us to take off our white and run for our dear life. After everyone ran for their lives, I found out that I hadn’t seen my sister, Oyaniran Atinuke Ruth.

“The incident happened between 1am and 2am. These people who were kidnapped came directly from our bus. We told the security agency including INEC that we were still looking for six people including my sister. They said we shouldn’t worry about finding them. So far nothing has been done. I was shocked when I read in some newspapers that the kidnapped victims had been rescued. Nothing like They contacted us recently, demanding 50 million naira.

“The kidnappers keep calling us with different numbers. You cannot call them, but they can only call you. They even told us to send them a top-up card, which we did just because we don’t want them hurting my sister and all the other victims in their care.

Rock called on the government and security agencies to work for the release of the abducted victims.

The husband of one of the kidnapped victims, Olawafemi Olakanmi, further revealed that the last time he spoke to his wife, Florence Shayo Ajayi was around midnight before the incident happened.

He said;

“I haven’t slept since my wife was kidnapped on March 19, 2023. I only ask God to set my wife free.”

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