Oniba’s Release: Suspect confirms Payment of 15.1M Ransom
One of the suspected kidnappers of the rescued Oniba of Iba, Oba Goriola Oseni, yesterday confirmed that his gang received N15.1 million ransom.
Isaiah Ododem said this when he was paraded before newsmen at a news conference addressed by Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode at Ikeja.
Ambode was represented by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem.
Ododem also said that they received an initial ransom of N12 million and a subsequent ransom of N3.1 million.
He, however, did not disclose the identity of the person who gave them the amount, where and when.
However, prior to the kidnap of the monarch, Ododem told newsmen that he and others were into illegal bunkering.
He said, “We had to stop the business because of the renewed onslaught of government’s security agencies against us.”
It would be recalled that 74-year -old monarch, who celebrated his 40 years on the throne on Nov. 22, 2015, was abducted in his palace at Iba on July 16 at about 8 p.m.
Four days after the abduction, the kidnappers demanded N500 million, which the family said they could not raise.
Conversely, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oba Oseni was kidnapped from his palace on July 16.
The kidnappers had asked the monarch’s family members to pay them a N500million ransom after almost a week of their kidnapping him.
NAN also reports that in the process, two persons were shot dead by the kidnappers.
Also, the family of the abducted monarch, admitted that an undisclosed amount was paid as ransom before his release on Saturday night.
The monarch’s son, Saheed Oseni, who confirmed the release, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the traditional ruler returned to his palace “hale and hearty’’.
Oseni(son) said the family had decided not to disclose the amount paid as ransom but confirmed that the family paid a substantial amount to secure the release of the kidnapped monarch.
He said, “We paid an undisclosed amount for his ransom which the family sourced without the involvement of the Lagos State Government.’’
Oseni(son) who is the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Lagos State University (LASU) Chapter, said the traditional ruler returned through the waterways around Iba expressway.
“According to my father, the kidnappers had put him in a canoe and asked him to paddle it to the other side of the river, which he did.
“On getting to the other side of the road and confirming the location where he was from passerby, he discovered that he is on Iba expressway and that was how he found his way home,’’ he said.
The prince said the family was grateful to God for the release and safe return of the traditional ruler.
Oseni said the family also thanked the Police and other security agencies for their efforts which led to the release.
While adding that the monarch was in good health condition since his return home.
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, while answering questions from newsmen on whether or not ransom was paid to seek the release of the Oba, said the most important thing was that the traditional ruler was rescued alive.
He said, “It was not a matter of whether ransom was paid or not.”
“What matters is that the Oba is back in his palace safe, hale and hearty,” Mr. Owoseni said.
The police boss said the success in rescuing the Oba was made possible by the combined pressures from all security apparatus of the state on the kidnappers.
Owoseni, however, declined to comment further on the matter and the security agency’s operational strategy since its investigations were still ongoing.