31 persons abducted in Ekiti in 3 months, N19.5m ransom paid
By Rotimi Ojomoyela
The last three months have been tough for the government and people of Ekiti State, especially those living in the extreme northern part of the state, as kidnappers appeared to have relocated to the area from neighbouring states of Kogi and Kwara, tormenting the inhabitants daily.
At the last count, about 31 persons have fallen victim to these daredevil marauders, while a total sum of N19.5 million has been paid as ransom.
Vanguard gathered that lack of security presence in the border communities has made the area a soft target for kidnappers.
Areas such as Itapaji-Ayebode and Irele-Oke Ako have no police post nor any semblance of security, the nearest police station is in Ikole Ekiti, which is over 40 minutes drive to the troubled spots.
On the 3rd of August 2021, a commercial driver, Mr Dare Ayelabola, was kidnapped along Isan/Iye-Ekiti road in Oye Local Government Area of the state.
The commercial driver was in the captivity of the kidnappers for four days but was later freed after his family paid N2 million.
A few weeks later, 9th of August precisely, six travellers were kidnapped by suspected gunmen along Otun/Iye-Ekiti road in Ilejemeje Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the victims, who were commuters in commercial vehicles, were abducted at about 5:30 pm on the fateful day and were taken to an unknown destination.
The gunmen, who were said to be armed with guns and other dangerous weapons, attacked the vehicles while navigating through the bad portion of the road at a spot close to the boundary with Kwara State.
It was gathered that the abducted passengers were in three vehicles when they were attacked by the daredevil bandits and were all taken to the bush including the drivers, while one of the drivers narrowly escaped from the scene.
The vehicles were left open in the middle of the road, which attracted members of the public who raised the alarm.
N4 million was paid by the families of the victims before their release.
On the 3rd of September 2021, five persons travelling in a utility Lexus 330 Jeep between Ewu/Ayetoro-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State were abducted.
The victims were residents of Lagos State, who were in Ekiti for a burial ceremony.
They were whisked away to an unknown destination in the forest in the area, as their vehicle, a Lexus Jeep with registration number: LAGOS- KRD 264 GV was parked facing the bush.
The victims were on their way to Lagos when they were accosted by the suspected gunmen believed to be herdsmen.
A few days later, a total of N3 million was paid as ransom before the victims could gain their freedom.
Also, on September 13, four persons identified as rice farmers were abducted by suspected kidnappers at Ikosun-Ekiti in Moba Local Government Area of the state.
Two of the victims were said to be tractor operators, they were said to have been abducted on their farmland in the community at the early hours of the day and whisked away to an unknown destination.
They were set free by their abductors four days later, after paying about N3 million as ransom.
Similarly, two weeks after, a popular farmer in Ajipowo farmstead in Ikun-Ekiti, Moba Local Government Area, Alhaji Jimoh Oloje, was kidnapped in the presence of his family on his farmland and whisked away to an unknown destination.
After spending five days in captivity, Alhaji Oloje, a popular and successful farmer in the area was released after N4 million was paid by his family.
On the 5th of October, an intending couple was kidnapped along Ayedun/Ilasha-Ekiti, in Ikole Local Government Area of the state.
The couple, who were said to be heading to Ado-Ekiti on that fateful day to buy some of the materials in preparation for their wedding ceremony, were kidnapped and whisked away to a forest in Oke-Ako Ikole Local Government Area.
They were said to have paid N2.5. million after spending eight days in captivity.
On October 16th 2021, two travellers along Ayobode-Ikole road were accosted by gunmen and whisked away to a nearby bush.
Three days later, they were said to have contacted their family and demanded a sum of N10 million, but the ransom was later reduced to N3 million after thorough negotiation by the family with the suspected kidnappers.
On October 26th 2021, eight persons who were funeral guests were abducted in Itapaji-Ekiti, an agrarian community in Oye Local Government Area.
The victims, who came from Ondo State, were in the town for the burial ceremony of a 93-year-old woman.
Suspected kidnappers in about six motorcycles stormed the place they were quartered in the community at 2:30 am and made away with the guests.
They were said to be shooting sporadically, apparently to scare people away before pouncing on the eight persons and whisking them away on motorbikes.
After two days, N50 million was initially demanded by the kidnappers but was later reduced to N4 million and a carton of cigarettes before the victims regained freedom.