A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, has been kidnapped by gunmen on Monday on his farm at Iladovillage in the Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The incident occurred on the day the former presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party clocked 77.
It was gathered that the gunmen, numbering 20, invaded the farm at about 12.30pm, beat up Falae, who is also a former Minister of Finance, and his workers before whisking him away in their vehicle and heading towards the state forest reserve.
Efforts to meet Chief Falae’s wife, Rachael, or any member of his family, were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.
But the spokesman for the state Social Democratic Party, Mr. Remi Olayowola, said the abductors had contacted the family and demanded N100m as ransom.
He said, “The kidnappers have called baba’s wife and they demanded N100m, which they said must be paid between today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) before he could be released. They said baba is in their custody hale and hearty, but the money has to be paid before they would free him.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wole Ogodo, said it had not been established whether the septuagenarian was kidnapped or not.
He, however, confirmed that some Fulani herdsmen invaded the farm and attacked Falae and his workers.
He said, “We cannot say it is a case of kidnapping yet because the information I have said some Fulani herdsmen invaded the farm, beat up everybody on the farm, including Chief Falae. Some of the workers were injured by the attackers.”
Ogodo added that the command had deployed over 50 policemen, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operation, Mr. Ishola Adbullahi, in the farm to secure the release of the National Chairman of the SDP, adding that the injured workers had been taken to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.
“This is not the first time the Fulani herdsmen would attack the farm; they had come before and some of them were arrested. So, they came today (Monday) again. I don’t think it is a case of kidnapping until the team that went there comes back before we can establish whether it is a kidnapping case or not,” he said.
The state government, while reacting to the incident, said it was sad that an eminent elder statesman like Chief Falae could be abducted.