Lagos monarch’s kidnappers demand N500m ransom

The family of the abducted monarch of Iba town in Lagos, Yushau Oseni, on Friday said the kidnappers have contacted them demanding N500 million as ransom for his release.

One of the king’s daughters and former Chairperson, Iba Local Government Council, Mrs Ramota Oseni,‎ said the abductors had contacted the family since July 20.

The 74-year -old traditional ruler was abducted in his palace at Iba ‎on July 16 at about 8 p.m.

He had celebrated his 40 years on the throne on November 22, 2015.

Ramota said the family decided not to make the ransom public then for security reasons, as they thought they could resolve it internally.

She said the family had negotiated with the abductors ‎to pay N40 million which was not available but had contacted the state government to augment so that he would be released.

‎According to her, it was to the family dismay that the state government, through the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy matters had not responded since then.

“I immediately called the commissioner to inform him of the development and to get across to the state government.

“But ‎subsequent calls to his phone since then were unanswered and he did not get back to us either,’’ she said.

Ramota said the family also called on the Commissioner of Police, Fatia Owoseni but to no avail.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai ‎Owoseni in a telephone interview with newsmen, said it was not advisable to make the ransom public.

Owoseni said such issues when discussed in the public domain would encourage the kidnappers.

He said that investigation was ongoing to rescue the monarch and disclosing the strategy of the police toward this would jeopardise their effort.

Meanwhile, the Iba Youth Forum had planned to stage a protest to demand the release of their community’s ruler.

They barricaded the Iba expressway early in the morning on Friday until one of monarch’s sons‎ appealed to them to maintain peace.

The youth resorted to accusing the state government of neglecting the matter and being unresponsive to the ransom for his release.

“After all, the ‎state government had paid about N200 million for the release of a Chinese expatriate kidnapped in Epe sometime ago.

“So, why that of a first class king who is aged 74 different?’’

They also accused the police of withdrawing its personnel from the Palace and town, three days after the incident.

‎Mr Owolabi Ashade, a former Supervisory Counsellor, Iba Local Government, said the‎ abduction of the king was a bad omen.

He said that members of the community had not been sleeping since the ugly incident.

Ashade, who spoke on behalf of the youth and 24 communities in Ibaland appealed to the state government to ensure the monarch’s release.

He also debunked speculations that Iba indigenes ordered the non-indigenes to vacate their town, stating that they were all one and that people should go about ‎their businesses.

“We urge the government to beef up security in the town, as the police had withdrawn its men,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, joint prayers were held by the Muslim and Christian groups for the safe release of the local king.

The Chief Imam of Iba, said the Jumat service was dedicated for his safe return, adding that as his presence was needed for continuous piloting of the kingdom and quick recovery of his wife, Ganiyat.

According to him, such incidents have never happened since the existence of the town as Oseni is the ninth ruler of the kingdom.

‎Also the Council of traditional rulers in Lagos State visited to sympathise with the Iba palace and held a close session.

Among the rulers are the traditional rulers of Isolo, Onigando of Igando, Onijanikin of Ijanikin, Oba of Isheri, Amuwo Odofin, Elegbe of Egbe and Oloto of Oyo among others. (NAN)

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