Newsbreak: Abductors release six people kidnapped at Itapaji, Ekiti community
Community call for release of local leader arrested by Army
By Sola Oguntimehin
Armed men who seized six people, three men and three women from their private home at Itapaji-Ekiti early this week have released the captives. A ransom was paid, after desperate community efforts that saved the victims from impending harm.
A traditional chief in the community who does not wish to be name called for the release of Chief Ilesanmi Adepoju picked by soldiers and said to have been taken to Omuo-Ekiti Army base.
” This is overzealousness. Instead of arrested the kidnappers they have come for a community leader who was in the forefront in the search for the victims. There is no justification for his arrest unless they just want to extort the community” the local chief said.
Irohinoodua correspondent was informed that the six people were released on Thursday night.
“We paid ransom to them. The community raised the money. We appreciate the efforts of the State Government who made frantic efforts to provide necessary information and to assert pressure on the kidnappers” Deji Omotoyinbo, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Counsellor representing WARD 12 where Itapaji is located told our reporter.
He said Amotekun, the police and some soldiers ceaselessly pursued the kidnappers forcing them to reduce the ransom from 100m and compelling them to hurriedly take the cash the community could muster. He said the situation in Itapaji was compounded by the lack of a police station for more than 5000 people in the area.
In 2008, the police withdrew all posts from the entire Ekamarun including Itapaji after a herdsman severed the hand of a police rating at Irele Ekiti. In 2017 amidst media blitz, the then Ekiti State Governor Mr Ayodele Fayose donated a hilix bus to Ekamarun with dane guns, he however took the bus back two weeks after the media hype.
Omotoyinbi said he would push for a police station in Itapaji. He said what happened in the community has raised the fundamental need for state police in Nigeria.
‘Amotekun is restrained by Federal laws limiting the kind of arms they can bear. Even creation of more police stations is at the mercy of the Federal Government leaving the State Governors as the No 1 Security officer only on paper. The Governor may give instructions to the police but they might not obey him and he cannot sanction any of them, not even a corporal can he punish.”
Amotekun was said to have foiled attempts by the kidnappers to abduct people and put them in the two buses that brought people to the town for a social event slated for this weekend. The kidnappers had demanded for the keys meaning they would have loaded locals into the two buses and drive them away.
He urged the Federal Government to protect local communities by allowing State policing. He said the Inspector General of Police, (IG) new policy of creating police formations in local communities is different from the Philosophy behind State police adding that the community police being created by the FG is like creating Federal Government police on local communities saying the paradigm remains the same.
A local source said the six were kept in a thick forest in the Kogi West around Ikoro, Ogbe and Oke-Ako in Ekiti State. At the same Itapaji, a woman enterpreneur was kidnapped in 2016. She was taken to a forest in Kogi State and huge ransom was paid to secure her release.
‘Kogi State is their safe haven..When they kidnap people in Ekiti North, they take them to the Western part of Kogi State” an official in charge of the local security said.