Family members of abducted Lagos monarch, Oniba of Iba community, Oba Goriola Oseni, have pleaded with the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to pay the kidnappers’ ransom and secure their father’ freedom.
Oba Goriola has spent eight days in the kidnappers’ den.
A son of the monarch, Saheed Oseni, told our correspondent that the family could not raise the huge ransom. He urged the state government to assist them urgently as the monarch’s health might be deteriorating.
On Saturday, July 16, gunmen, who were said to wear military camouflages, attacked the monarch’s palace around 8.30pm, kidnapping the 73-year-old, in two speedboats which were reportedly stationed by the waterways.
The gunmen, said to be about 16 in number, had killed a palace guard, Sunday Okanlawon; a barber, Riliwan Rasak; an unidentified motorcyclist and shot at the monarch’s wife, Kuburat, who is still recuperating in a government hospital.
A woman, her three-month-old baby and a yet-to-be-identified businessman were also reportedly abducted by the gunmen.
It was reported on Saturday that the gunmen, who are suspected to be pipeline vandals, had reached out to the family, demanding N500m ransom. The gunmen were reported to have threatened the family to raise the money as fast as they could, saying the monarch was an influential personality.
Oseni told our correspondent that no government official had reached out to the monarch’s family on the issue of ransom.
He said, “When we heard from the kidnappers, we did not delay in notifying all the appropriate government quarters. We knew we could not raise this money. But God forbids that any evil happens (to him) and we will then be blamed for keeping mute.
“Till now, no government official has asked us anything about the ransom. We are calling on the state governor, the commissioners and all stakeholders to come to our aid by paying part of the ransom. It does not stop the (rescue) operations of the police. All that is foremost in our minds now is that baba should return home safely. We are concerned about his health. His release is the most important thing to us right now.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the police would not support the payment of ransom, adding that a rescue operation was ongoing.
“Rescue mission is ongoing. The police do not work with ransom,” she said.