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Gunmen abduct Lagos council chief, Bamigbetan, demand N155 million

By The Citizen

The Chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Kehinde Oladapo Bamigbetan, was Monday night abducted by unknown gunmen at Ejigbo in Lagos. The suspected kidnappers, using Bamigbetan's handset, made contact with the wife of the chairman, Fatima, a few hours after he was abducted, demanding $1 million  (N155 million) ransom. According to a source close to the family, while close associates of the chairman were consoling Fatima in the wee hours of the morning, 'her phone rang and it was the chairman's number calling her. Immediately she picked it up, she was told by a male voice that her husband was safe and would only be released to her if she cooperated with them by not informing the police. 'A few minutes later, they called back with the same number that she should not attempt to play smart because their men were everywhere and that the ransom was $1 million.' Information available to The Guardian revealed that Bamigbetan and his driver, Abiodun Olayiwola, were the only occupants of his black Special Utility Vehicle with customised plate number 'Lagos KOK', when the incident occurred. He was reportedly on his way home from an official function at about 11pm when the incident happened. According to the driver, immediately the gunmen intercepted the chairman's vehicle, he made a frantic effort to escape by putting the vehicle in reverse. The effort was abortive as the vehicle reportedly hit a pole, trapping it. Olayiwola managed to escape, but his boss could not, as the gunmen fired into the air preventing his attempt to escape. Lagos State Police Command Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said the Command was making efforts to ensure he was released. Ozoani said: 'His safety is important to us. We are managing the situation to ensure he is released. At this point, all hands are on deck. All men are on ground doing what is expected of us'. The Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, The Guardian gathered, had set up a team of crack detectives to fish out the kidnappers and rescue Bamgbetan alive. Manko, who was quoted to say that a kidnap of such magnitude had never occurred in Lagos, assured that the Command would get at the abductors just like it had smashed others in the state. According to him, 'We are monitoring the situation. The kidnappers are using the telephone of the victim to call the family. We would get them.' However, one of those in the car, who claimed to have been abducted four days ago, was left behind at the scene of the kidnap. According to the young man in his 30s, who has since been detained at the Ejigbo Police Station, he was released on the spot by his captors after his family members paid a ransom of N500,000. Lagos State Police Command Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said the Command was making efforts to ensure he was rescued. Ozoani said: 'His safety is important to us. We are managing the situation to ensure he is rescued safely. At this point, all hands are on deck. All men are on ground doing what is expected of us.' Also, Spokesman of the Lagos chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Joe Igbokwe, has ordered the abductors to release Bamigbetan within hours or face dire consequences.  Igbokwe issued the order in a message broadcast on his Facebook page this afternoon. 'The kidnappers have just a few hours left to release the council chairman or face the unimaginable strength of Lagos security outfit,' Igbokwe said. He urged 'these criminals to run away from Lagos because nobody steals or kidnaps in Lagos without being caught and the consequences are better imagined.' Also, National President of Oodua People's Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has ordered members of the group to launch a manhunt for Bamigbetan, directing them to collaborate with security agents and other interested parties, including government officials involved in the search, to ensure his safe release.