Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Olu Falae Tells How Kidnappers Dealt With Him, Says Full Ransom Was Paid

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae yesterday while receiving a former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alani Akinrinade, at his home yesterday narrated how the men who kidnapped him on his farm last week Monday dealt with him and how he almost lost his life in the process. It’s indeed a sad story for a man of 77. And more sadly, the elderly man confessed that a ransom was paid, and it was paid in full. His story;
“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, they would execute me. I thank God that at 21 minutes to 3pm, one of them came and said, ‘the money don complete.’

“When the hoodlums came, they slashed me with their cutlasses; they said I was not cooperating. They dragged me barefooted into the bush. After dragging me around for about two hours, they stopped somewhere and asked me to phone my wife and tell her that I had been kidnapped and taken out of Ondo State and that was a lie.

“It was about 2.30pm on Monday that we started walking with very few stops until 2am the following morning. I suspect that I must have covered a minimum of 15 kilometres. That morning, I did not eat anything. So all day I had no food, no water and I walked close to 15km. How I survived, I cannot really remember. At some point one of them gave me rubber slippers. We walked until about 2am. At some point they called for an okada (motorcycle). At about 2.30am the okada man took me way down; I had no clue where we were going. Finally they dumped me somewhere, where I was until I was released on Thursday.

“In that place, we all slept on the floor on leaves. Unfortunately, the rain came in the night and I was thoroughly drenched. One of them brought a small umbrella to cover my head, but the rest of my body was not covered. They offered me bread, but I told them I could not eat it. I asked for a bottle of coke, which was what I drank everyday to have the requisite strength to survive and to continue on 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.

“The day they said I should go, one of them stitched my buba, which was in tatters. When I came out of the bush, I was able to find an okada rider, who took me to Owo. The place was about 10km from Owo town. The place was between Owo and Ifon. I walked most of the distance from my farm to that place. 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.’

“It was when I got back home that I became completely exhausted. But I am now 80 per cent fit and I know that in the next few days, I will be up again.

“Something urgent has to be done on the part of the government. This type of things should not be allowed to happen again. 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 said, ‘Baba, if after you leave us you talk nonsense I will come and catch you again.’ That is the kind of insult I received.”

The elderly man also said he suspects Fulani herdsmen were the ones behind his kidnap because they have had series of clashes in the past.

He said, “The cattle rearers have been giving me a hard time for the past two or three years. Because I have a dam on the farm, they like to bring their cattle there to drink water. The cattles would then eat other people’s crops, There was a time they ate up my maize farm – two hectares. We took pictures and recorded it on video and we invited the police. They cattle rearers were asked to pay compensation; they begged and paid half of what we claimed and we accepted it.

“That was about two months ago. Whether it was one of them who went to bring his brothers to come and deal ‘with this wicked man,’ I don’t know. It is plausible. My view is that this is my home. I have not gone to farm in any other person’s territory. This is my home where I was born. I have every right to farm here and live in peace here. So, this is totally unacceptable.

“I once told the Commissioner of Police that if he could not protect us and protect my farm, I would protect myself. There will be self help if the government fails to protect its citizens. It would have been unfortunate if that were to happen.”

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