Police react to Falae’s claim of paying ransom to abductors
Though several calls were put to the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (Ag.ACP) Olabisi Kolawole to confirm the position of the force, an unsigned statement sent through the police usual mailing address said that it was not involved in the ransom arrangement with either the family nor the abductors.
The Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has condemned the kidnap of one of its leaders, Chief Olu Falae, describing it as a shame on the entire nation and insult on Yoruba race.
In a meeting at the house of Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, the Ondo State capital yesterday, the Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, issued a statement to newsmen, stating that the wounds on Falae would not heal until the culprits are brought to book.
Afenifere described Falae’s experience in the hands of the kidnappers as demeaning and gory, arguing that it was not a mere coincidence because “Chief Olu Falae for two to three years has been having running battles with the Fulani herdsmen on the same farm before he was abducted.”
According to the police, “the unprecedented and massive deployment of police resources and men to support search and rescue operations put pressure on the criminals to release the elder statesman.”
Recall that Falae was reported to have told Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade, when he paid him a visit after he was released that the kidnappers threatened to kill him if they did not get the ransom money before 03:00 pm local time on the day he was released, but just a few minutes to the deadline, one of the kidnappers informed his colleagues that “the money don complete.”
The statement reads in part, “As a law enforcement agency guided by rule of law and professional ethics we do not under any circumstance encourage the payment of ransom to kidnappers or other criminals as it is tantamount to rewarding crime and motivating other criminals to follow that path.
“As such, the police was not in any way privy to any arrangement that would have led to payment of ransom by the elder statesman or his family. For the respected chief to declare that he paid a ransom for his release is therefore, a demotivating news.
“Our approach was a professional response to what we saw as a crime against a respected national personality known to embrace peace and who has dedicated most of his valuable life to selfless service of our nation.”
The statement said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase deployed the unique intelligence and operational capabilities including police helicopters for aerial surveillance, besides the special anti-kidnapping team, who followed the paths from the point the chief was said to have being abducted, through the bushes.
“Whatever the family did as regards payment of ransom was outside the knowledge and consent of the police and at this point we wish to advice that in future families who fall victims of such acts should rather work closely with the police component of the rescue initiative so that we can achieve the primary purpose of rescuing the victim alive instead of wittingly or unwittingly giving the impression of encouraging criminal activity by rewarding criminals with payment of ransom,” it stated.