Speaking with newsmen during the visit of Chief of Defence Staff, General Alani Akinrinade yesterday at his residence in Akure, Chief Olu Falae, has spoken out for the first time and recounts his ordeal in the hands of his abuductors.
The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation also revealed that his family paid a ransom before he was released last week Thursday from Fulani herdsmen who kidnapped him for 72 hours.
A close family source revealed exclusively to Vanguard that N5 million was paid as ransom before Falae was released. Pa Falae recounted his ordeal and said his abductors threatened to kill him every 30 minutes until they received information that money had been given to them as demanded.
Below are excerpts from the all-revealing interview;
Recounting his experience:
There were six of them with three or four guns and every half an hour or so, they will say, ‘Baba we are going to kill you if you don’t give us money. We are going to kill you.’ On Wednesday, one of them came and said, ‘look we are going to leave here on Thursday morning. Since we cannot leave you here alone, if we don’t get what we want, we are going to kill you.’ And they said they gave me until 3pm and if at 3pm they don’t get the money that they would execute me. I thank God that at 21 minutes to 3pm, one of them came and said, ‘the money don complete.’
On how he was abducted:
When the hoodlums came, they slashed me with their cutlasses, they said I was not cooperating. And they dragged me barefooted into the bush. After dragging me around for about two hours, they stopped somewhere for us to rest and there they asked me to phone my wife and tell her that I have been kidnapped and taken out of Ondo State by car which was a lie.
It was about 2.30pm on Monday we started walking with very few stops until 2am the following morning. I suspect that I must have covered a minimum of 15km. That morning I did not take anything.
So all day, I had no food, no water and I walked close to 15km. How I survived I cannot really remember. I had no food in my stomach, I had no shoes, my clothes were torn to shreds. At some point, one of them gave me rubber slippers. We walked until about 2am. At some point, they called for an okada.
At about 2.30am, the okada man took me away and I had no clue where we were going. Finally, they dumped me somewhere. We stayed there until I was released on Thursday.
In that place, we all slept on bare ground, unfortunately, the rain came in the night and I was thoroughly drenched where I was lying down. One of them brought a small umbrella to cover my head, my head was covered, but the rest of my body was not covered.
They offered me bread, but I told them I cannot eat it. I demanded for a bottle of coke, which was what I drank everyday to have the strength to survive and to continue the march, because they were permanently moving.
They were changing locations at two to three times a day. I suspect because they did not want the police to succeed in tracing them.
On Confirmation of ransom payment:
The confirmation of the payment of ransom was made on Wednesday afternoon, I was not allowed to go until Thursday morning. So the following morning, they said I should go. One of them took ropes to stitch my buba which was already in tatters, so that it could at least stay on me and I wouldn’t look like a lunatic while leaving that place.
So when I came out of the bush, I was able to find an okada rider, who gave me a lift to Owo. The place was about 10km from Owo town. The place was between Owo and Ifon. And I walked most of the distance between my farm to that place, that is about 25km that we had to trek.
On not being tired, not hungry, and not afraid:
As I said, miraculously I was not tired, I was not hungry and I was not afraid of them at all. Each time they said, ‘Baba we will kill you,’ I will tell them, ‘no, Insha Allah, you will not kill me.’
I did not break down, but I want to tell you that when I got back home I became completely exhausted. But I am now 80 per cent fit and I know in the next few days, I will be up again.”
Crying out for future occurence:
This sort of thing should not be allowed to happen again as it could result to even graver consequences. It is not because of me. As for me, I am a very humble person, but by virtue of what God has made me and the status God has given me, it is an insult to our race that a man like me could be abducted by a bunch of hoodlums. By the way, one of them told me that if after I had left them, talk nonsense that they will come and catch me again. That is the kind of insult I received.
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