A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, on Monday admitted that “certain amount of money” was paid as ransom before he was set free on Thursday by his abductors.
Falae’s statement contradicted the claim by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, that no ransom was paid before the elder statesman was rescued.
Falae, who was kidnapped by some suspected Fulani herdsmen on Monday, September 21, and released on Thursday September 24, 2015, however, did not disclose the amount paid. But he said it was when the money was fully paid that he was freed.
He stated this when a former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alani Akinrinade, paid him a visit at his Oba Ile, Akure, Ondo State residence on Monday .
He said, “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, 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.”
This contradicts what the IGP, Solomon Arase said on the day Olu Falae was freed.
On the 23rd of September, Arase went to the state on the order of President Muhammadu Buhari to secure Falae’s release, said he was happy that the septuagenarian was rescued “hale and hearty.”
On how Falae was rescued, the IG said, “I cannot tell you, it is not for you. It is purely a security matter, but I am happy he is rescued alive.
“The most important thing is that baba has come home safely, that is the mandate the President has given to me and that is exactly what I have done.
“On the arrest made in connection with the crime and the amount paid as ransom, the police boss said, “I will let you know about arrest later, but no ransom was paid.