Kidnappers of the Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, have allegedly demanded $1m (about N160m) ransom for his release.
Bamigbetan, a former Chief Press Secretary of ex-Governor Bola Tinubu, was kidnapped at about 11.30pm on Monday while returning from office with his driver.
But his driver, who escaped from the four kidnappers sustained injury.
A ranking council official, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, said the kidnappers called Bamigbetan’s wife and demanded $1m ransom.
He said, “The kidnappers called the chairman’s wife around 2.30am on Tuesday. She is the only one they (kidnappers) have established communication with. They however warned her against letting the police into the matter.
“After that call, the family tried the number they used in calling but it indicated it was switched off. It is believed that the kidnappers would call again since they had established contact with the chairman’s wife.”
Efforts to talk to Bamigbetan’s wife were not successful as family members said she was so downcast to speak with journalists.
It was learnt that council chairmen in the state met today (Tuesday) and resolved that they should rally round Bamigbetan and raise the sum.
The chairmen were said to have agreed that every council chairman should contribute N1m each to facilitate the payment of the ransom.
Efforts to speak with the driver also proved abortive as he was said to have gone for treatment at a nearby hospital.
On how the kidnapping was executed, another council source, who did not want his name mentioned, said Bamigbetan and his driver noticed the kidnappers near them.
He said, “When they sighted the kidnappers, Bamigbetan driver reversed. The kidnappers gave them a chase. In the process, his driver hit an electric pole and the car stopped.
“It was in the process that they started shooting at his car. Since the road in the area is in deplorable condition, the driver could not meander his way. That was how the chairman was caught. But the driver, who sustained injuries, managed to escape.”
When journalists visited Bamigbetan’s residence, a prayer session was in progress.
Outside the compound, scores of sympathisers were in pensive mood discussing the incident.
Prayers were also held at the secretariat by both Christians and Muslims for the safe return of the LG boss.
At the offices in the council, work literally stopped as workers were seen discussing.
A Jeep with plate number LAGOS KOK in which Bamigbetan was kidnapped was parked on his compound, riddled with bullets.
Fasehun orders manhunt
President and Founder, Oodua People’s Congress, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has ordered members of the group in Lagos and other South-West states to collaborate with security operatives to find Bamigbetan.
Fasehun, who gave the directive in a statement on Tuesday, demanded the immediate release of the council chairman.
He said, “We just heard about this unfortunate incident, which has filtered through Lagos State and is all over the Internet. Kehinde Bamigbetan is our son, a Yoruba man.
“Whoever touches any Yoruba man touches the apple of OPC’s eye and will pay dearly.”
He asked OPC leaders, including the National Secretary, Mr. Dare Adesope, to call for meetings with the organisation’s leadership in Ejigbo , in order to guarantee Bamigbetan’s safe return to his family.
“We warn whoever is behind this evil act that Bamigbetan must be released unharmed. Not one strand of his hair must be hurt,” he said.