Abductors of Chief Olu Falae, the former Presidential Candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the All Peoples Party (APP) have contacted his wife, demanding payment of sum of One Hundred Million Naira (N100million) within the next 24 hours for his release.
The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) who turned 77 years of age on Monday was abducted on his farm by yet unknown men who attacked over 200 workers before whisking him away to unknown destination.
Chief Falae is the traditional ruler (Olu) of Ilu Abo, a village in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, while his farm in Ilado village, also in Akure North, is about 15 kilometres to his home on Oba Ile Road in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
According to police sources, the septuagenarian had been having a running battle with Fulani herdsmen on his farm before Monday’s abduction incident. The political economist had rushed to his farm after receiving a phonecall altering him that herdsmen had invaded his farm. And upon arrival, Mr. Falae was reportedly attacked and whisked away by the assailants.
Meanwhile, Ondo police spokesman Wole Ogodo said the police had deployed 50 riot policemen, led by the Deputy Commissioner (Operations), Mr. Ishola Abdulahi, to Falae’s farm. According to Mr. Ogodo, the matter is still under investigation. “For now, I cannot conclusively say whether it is kidnapping or not. But what we learnt
from his Chief Security Officer (CSO) is that the Fulani herdsmen came to attack them on the farm.
He went further: “But before now, they have been having a running battle over the grazing on his farm. There was a time he reported them and two of them were arrested and brought to the Police Command where they made an undertaking. So they came today and launched an attack. Two of the workers were injured. Others fled into the bush and we were told that “baba” was whisked away.
“Immediately we were alerted, 50 policemen were deployed,” he said. Ondo state government described the abduction as “unfortunate”, saying the security of the country had deteriorated to the level of abducting a personality of Falae’s status.
Commissioner for Information Kayode Akinmade, said an urgent security meeting had been summoned. He assured the family members that the government will do everything possible to ensure Falae is rescued alive.
The Asamo of Akure, High Chief Rotimi Olusanya, also described the development as a huge surprise, wondering what such an old man has done to warrant such treatment. Hear him: “He does not have money. He is an old man. We are shocked. The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladesulu Aladetoyinbo, has made efforts to contact the state government. We appeal to the security agencies to do something about it urgently.
In October 2013, Falae’s son, Deji, a commissioner in the Olusegun Mimiko administration died in a plane crash while on a delegation taking the body of the late Governor Olusegun Agagu from Lagos to Akure. The state has recently witnessed a series of kidnappings.
In July, the Regent of Akungba-Akoko, Mrs. Toyin Omosowon, was kidnapped on her way to Akungba after attending a programme at Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA). She spent two weeks in the kidnappers’ den before being rescued by security agents.
In August, Mrs. Omogbene Adeborile, the mother-in-law of the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government Area, Oba Frederick Akinruntan was abducted at Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Government Area. She was released after one week in captivity. The former chairman, Ondo State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Ibrahim Jimoh, was also abducted.
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)