Eight days after they were kidnapped by gunmen, the families of an artisan and his cousin are still confused about their fate.
The victims – Olugbade Ibikunle and Rafiu Isiaka – were reportedly waylaid by the assailants on Akunu Road, Ondo State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the scene of the incident was not far from a police post.
Operatives attached to the post were said to have engaged the kidnappers in a gun duel, but they escaped with their targets.
The captors were said to have contacted the families of the victims and demanded N10m ransom for their release.
Ibikunle’s younger sister, Folusho Adeyomoye, told our correspondent that the victims were travelling to Abuja from Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, with a lady last Monday when they ran into the gunmen.
She said the lady was freed by the kidnappers, who whisked away the other victims.
She said, “My brother and cousin live in Ado Ekiti. They were travelling to Abuja from Ado Ekiti on Monday with a lady who is a family friend. They were going to see someone who promised to get them a job.
“According to the lady; when they got to Akunu Road, two kidnappers suddenly emerged from a bush and started shooting. They were forced to park. The road is bad and motorists usually slow down. So, the kidnappers took advantage of the bad road.
“The kidnappers released the lady and took away my brother and cousin. The lady said policemen at a police post near the scene of the kidnap exchanged them in a shootput, but they (the policemen) did not chase them.”
Adeyomoye explained further that the car the victims were travelling in was abandoned at the scene, adding that the case was reported at the Ikare Police Division.
“The policemen there promised to look into the matter, but we have not heard any positive development from them. The kidnappers are asking for N10m. We pleaded with them to collect N3m. They rejected it and said they would not even accept N5m,” she said.
An uncle of the victims, Kayode Afolayan, said the kidnappers had threatened to “waste them” if they failed to raise the N10m ransom.
The 70-year-old man said, “They left Ado Ekiti around 11.30am and got to that spot where they were abducted at about 1.30pm. We have met with the Ondo State Commissioner of Police. He said he had told his men to comb the bush.
“We have been negotiating with the kidnappers on the telephone. They said we were not serious. We heard gunshots and the cries of the victims.
“We have tried to raise N5m, but they are still insisting on N10m. There is no means to get that sum.”
The Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer, Femi Joseph, said the command was making efforts to rescue the captives.
He said, “We are still investigating and we have made some progress. But we don’t want to disclose anything for now.”
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