Kidnappers Demand N50 Million Ransom for Six Abducted INEC Officials in Kogi State
A group of armed men has kidnapped six ad-hoc officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who were returning from Kupa North and South in Lokoja Local Government Area, Kogi State. The kidnappers have demanded N50 million before they release their captives. The police have claimed to have rescued 96 persons, while three were injured and two victims are yet to be accounted for.
Speaking on behalf of the victims, Babalola Oluwatobi Peter, an Assistant Presiding Officer II, who worked with his sister, one of the kidnapped victims, stated that the police’s claim of rescuing all the victims was untrue. According to Peter, the victims still in captivity are Muhammed Maimunat, Abdulrahman Raji, two serving corps members, and INEC Ad-Hoc staff, Oyaniran Atinuke Ruth, Florence Shayo Ajayi, Opara Tina, and Blessing.
Peter explained that the incident occurred during the Kogi State House of Assembly election. He and the other ad-hoc officials were asked to move to Lokoja by their SPOs. While Peter suggested that they should sleep over and leave by 4 am the next day, the SPO South insisted they move. When they got to Obajana, the kidnappers attacked them, and the victims were taken directly from their bus.
The kidnappers contacted the victims’ families, demanding N50 million for their release. They have been calling from different numbers, and the victims have had to send them recharge cards to avoid being hurt. The families of the victims have called on the government and security agencies to work towards their release.
The husband of one of the victims, Olawafemi Olakanmi, last spoke to his wife (Florence Shayo Ajayi) around midnight before the incident. He has not slept since then and is calling on God to set his wife free.
Efforts to speak with the Police Public Relations Officer, SP William Ovye Aya, were unsuccessful. Recall that the ad-hoc INEC staff were kidnapped during the Kogi State House of Assembly election on Sunday, 19th March 2023, in Obajana.
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