By Adeola Ogunrinde in Lagos
Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State has said the abduction of an Oba in Yorubaland is a sacrilege and complete desecration of the cultural values of the Yoruba people that must not go unpunished.
Ambode said at a news conference on Sunday in Ikeja that those who kidnapped the Oniba of Iba, Oba Goriola Oseni, must face justice. The traditional ruler was abducted on July 16 in his palace in Iba.
One of the monarch’s guards was killed while one of his wives was also shot during the abduction. The monarch had just retired to his bedroom along with one of his wives when the abductors stormed his palace.
Ambode, who was represented by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said Oseni was rescued alive on Saturday and that two of the nine kidnappers were also arrested.
Ambode said the arrest of the suspects was a clear warning to criminal elements that the Yoruba tradition was valued and cherished.
“We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the tradition is protected from violation by those who have desecrated our values,” he said.
Ambode commended the police and other security agencies for their efforts in securing the release of the Oba and effecting the arrest of the kidnappers.
“I want to thank our security services for the ongoing Operation Awatse designed to flush out militants and criminals who have been terrorising our riverine communities,” Ambode said.
He said the operation was yielding desirable results and would continue until the criminal activities were completely stamped out.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni while fielding questions from newsmen on whether ransom was paid to effect the release of the Oba, said it was not a matter of ransom being paid or not.
“What matters is that the Oba is back in his palace safe, hale and hearty,” Owoseni said.
He said the success in securing the release of the Oba was as a result of the combined pressure of all security apparatus of the state.
Owoseni, however, declined further information on the matter, saying it would be inappropriate to disclose information on operational strategy since investigation was still ongoing.
One of the suspects paraded, Isaiah Ododem, however, told newsmen that they received an initial ransom of N12 million and a subsequent ransom of N3.1 million.