The family of a cattle dealer, Olushola Ayanshola, has been thrown into confusion after kidnappers, who abducted him along Otu-Alaga Road, in the Itesiwaju Local Government Area of Oyo State demanded N30m for his release.
gathered that Ayanshola was returning from his farm around Alaga Road, close to Radio Station, Otu town, on Sunday evening when two gun-wielding kidnappers, intercepted his motorcycle and shot sporadically into the air to scare motorists and passersby.
Thereafter, the farmer was whisked away into the bush and efforts by his family members and security agents to locate his whereabouts proved abortive.
Speaking with our correspondent, Ayanshola’s son, Olawale, said the kidnappers contacted the family on Monday to demand N30m ransom, adding that his father pleaded with him and his elder brother, Emmanuel, to find a way to raise the money because the abductors tied him down at a location in the bush.
Olawale said, “The incident happened around 6pm on Sunday. My father visited his farm to supervise the labourers working on the farm and to settle them. After he was done at the farm located at Alaga, close to Radio Station, Otu town, he was returning home around 6pm when two armed kidnappers came out of the bush and ambushed him.
“We were told that my father left the motorcycle on the road and was making an attempt to run into the bush like other people at the scene of the attack when the kidnappers started shooting.
“Because my father was the target, they stopped him and whisked him away into the bush. Those that escaped said they were hiding in the bush when they heard gunshots and that it was when they no longer heard gunshots that they came out of hiding.”
Olawale said the people who escaped the attack said they were expecting his father to also come out of hiding but when he was nowhere to be found, they raised the alarm that he had been kidnapped.
He noted that the kidnappers abandoned Ayanshola’s motorcycle at the scene of the attack, adding that the suspects had been adamant about collecting N30m ransom before releasing his father.
He added, “When I was informed about the attack, we started calling my father’s phone number but it was switched off. But on Monday morning, we got a call from a number which our father used in explaining that he was kidnapped and had been tied down in the bush.
“He said the kidnappers gave him a phone to contact us to raise the N30m ransom they demanded. He said it was N50m they initially demanded and that when he pleaded, they reduced it to N30m.
“When the kidnappers spoke with my elder brother, Emmanuel, he pleaded with them that the money was too much and they said we should provide it if we want our father alive.
“I also called the number that they used in contacting my elder brother and heard my father crying for help. He pleaded that we should not let the kidnappers kill him as they are making him suffer in the bush.”
Olawale said his father urged them to sell his property to raise the money but he told him there was nothing to sell to raise N30m as all his property was not worth N2m.
He said, “As he was crying, I was also crying till the kidnappers collected the phone and hung up. When I tried speaking with one of the kidnappers, he did not understand Yoruba and English but Hausa.
“We reported the matter at the Otu Police Station; his motorcycle is also there. We have sold two cows to raise N500,000. The Amotekun Corps heard of the kidnap and its men have been combing the bush but could not find them.
“We were surprised when the kidnappers called to inform us that they are aware that hunters and the Amotekun operatives were on their trail and threatened to kill our father if we did not tell them to back down.
“My father, while pleading for help, also said the kidnappers are aware that the Amotekun officials and hunters are combing the bush and that their informant usually updates them as to when to go deeper inside the bush.”
Contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said, “An investigation is ongoing. Updates would be provided accordingly.”