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7 Aug 2016

How we received N15.1m ransom to free Lagos monarch — Suspect

Isaiah Ododem, one of the suspected nine kidnappers of the rescued Oniba of Iba, Oba Goriola Oseni, on Sunday in Lagos confessed to journalists that his gang received N15.1 million ransom in two tranches.
Mr. Ododem said this when he was paraded before newsmen at a news conference addressed by Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State at Ikeja.
Mr. Ambode was represented by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem.
Mr. Ododem said that they received an initial ransom of N12 million and a subsequent ransom of N3.1 million.
He, however, failed to mention who gave them the amount, where and when.
Mr. Ododem also told newsmen that he and others were into illegal bunkering before they kidnapped Oba Oseni.
“We had to stop the business because of the renewed onslaught of government’s security agencies against us,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oba Oseni was kidnapped from his palace on July 16.
The kidnappers had asked the Oba’s family members to pay them a N500million ransom after almost a week of their kidnapping him.
NAN also reports that in the process, two persons were shot dead by the kidnappers.
Also on Sunday, the family of the abducted monarch, admitted that an undisclosed amount was paid as ransom before his release on Saturday night.
The monarch’s son, Saheed Oseni, who confirmed the release, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the first class traditional ruler returned to his palace “hale and hearty’’.
Mr. ‎Oseni said the family had decided not to disclose the amount paid as ransom but confirmed that the family paid to secure the release of the kidnapped royal father.
“We paid an undisclosed amount for his ransom which the family sourced without the involvement of the Lagos State Government‎,’’ he said.
‎Mr. Oseni, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Lagos State University (LASU) Chapter, said the traditional ruler returned through the waterways around Iba expressway.
According to my father, the kidnappers had put him in a canoe and asked him to paddle it to the other side of the river‎, which he did.
“On getting to the other side of the road and confirming ‎the location where he was from passerby, he discovered that he is on Iba expressway and that was how he found his way home,’’ he said.
The prince said the family was grateful to God for the release and safe return of the traditional ruler.
Mr. Oseni said the family also thanked the Police and other security agencies for their efforts which led to his release.
He added that the king was in good health condition since his return home.
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, while answering questions from newsmen on whether or not ransom was paid to seek the release of the Oba, said the most important thing was that the traditional ruler was rescued alive.
It was not a matter of whether ransom was paid or not, he said.
“What matters is that the Oba is back in his palace safe, hale and hearty,” Mr. Owoseni said.
The police boss said the success in rescuing the Oba was made possible by the combined pressures from all security apparatus of the state on the kidnappers.
Mr. Owoseni, however, declined to comment further on the matter and the security agency’s operational strategy since its investigations were still ongoing.
The74-year -old monarch, who celebrated his 40 years on the throne on Nov. 22, 2015, was abducted in his palace at Iba ‎on July 16 at about 8 p.m.
Four days after the abduction, the kidnappers demanded N500 million, which the family said they could not raise.
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