Olu Falae, the former secretary general to the federal government, disclosed why he was abducted by Fulani herdsmen over a lasting conflict with them around his farm. He also downplayed the role of the Nigerian police in his release claiming that his family had to pay a hefty ransom for his freedom.
Olu Falae told the press that he was abducted by six Fulani herdsmen aged between 25 and 35 years old and armed with three or four guns.
A former minister Olu Falae told the press on Monday that his family had to pay a hefty ransom for his freedom to kidnappers.
Falae said he was freed him on Thursday only after his captors received an undisclosed sum of money.
Reportedly, his abductors first demanded N100 million ransom for his freedom, but later agreed to reduce the sum to N90 million.
Olu Falae also told the press: “When I told the kidnappers that my family could raise N2m for ransom against the N100m they demanded, they rejected it and told me, ‘Is it Boko Haram you are giving N2m to?’”
“They were Fulani, they spoke Hausa,” told Olu Falae, adding that only two of the abductors could speak some English. He said that they slashed him with their cutlasses and dragged him into the bush, threatening to kill him every half an hour.
Falae said that he wasn’t surprised that the police couldn’t track the abductors because they were changing locations at two to three times a day. The 77-year-old ex-SGF told that he had to cover long distances barefooted with his clothes in tatters without any food or water. At night he had nothing to cover himself while it was raining.
However, the 77-year-old man told he didn’t break down during his ordeal. “Each time they said, “Baba we will kill you,” I will tell them, no, insha’Allah, you will not kill me”.
Despite the kidnappers knew by the Wednesday afternoon that the ransom was paid, they didn’t let Falae go until next morning.
Olu Falae connected the abduction with the conflict he had with Fulani herdsmen two months ago.
He told that Fulani herdsmen often brought their cattle to the dam on his farm to drink water, and then their cattle ate other people’s crops. Falae lost his patience after the cattle ate up two hectares of his maize crops, and filed a complaint with the police demanding compensation. “They begged and paid half of what we claimed and we accepted it,” told Falae, concluding that “I have every right to farm here and live in peace here… I hope that we as a community in Ondo State and in Yoruba land as a whole must go into consultation to ensure that we enhance our protection. We cannot be slaves in our own territory.”
Olu Falae also confessed that immediately after his release he had to walk for 15 kilometres before he was found by the police officers in Owo, 51 kilometres from Akure, the Ondo state capital.
Olu Falae’s claims cast shadow on previous reports by the Nigeria police spokesmen that no ransom was paid to Falae’s kidnappers prior to his release.
Chief Olu Falae, the former secretary general to the federal government, was abducted by unknown gunmen on Monday, September 21. Investigations reveal that Falae was abducted on Monday, September 21, at his Ilado farm along Igbatoro Road, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo state.
He was released after having been kept four days in captivity. On Thursday, shortly after the release, the kidnap victim narrated how he had slept on bare floor in the kidnappers’ den.
The claims by the Nigerian police force that they rescued the former secretary to the government of the federation, Chief Olu Falae, are false, claimed earlier a member of Falae’s family, who declined to be identified.
The source also berated the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase for claiming the police released Falae telling that “police did not have any input in Baba’s release.”
“I wonder why people don’t investigate well before talking. It will be very unfair to give any kudos to the police over Chief Falae’s release having being held hostage for four days”, the source in Falae’s family told, adding that“if we relied on Police to rescue Baba and ignored his abductors on the ransom they demanded by now we would have been telling another story. But we thank God our Baba came back alive.”
Many Nigerians reacted to the abduction and called on the federal government to ensure that the former minister of finance is released in one piece.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his reaction to the sad development, promised that chief Falae would be released on time.
The president gave strict directives to security agencies, ordering a prompt release of the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Following President Buhari’s directive, Solomon Arase directed all security agencies in Ondo state to engage in a massive search and rescue operation for elder statesman.
The Inspector-General of police, directed that all resources are to be channeled towards the rescue of the statesmen.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has blamed Olusegun Mimiko, the governor of Ondo state, for the recent abduction of Chief Olu Falae.