Kidnappers, who disguised as policemen, have left the family of a Lagos-based businessman, Mr. Basil Agha, in misery after they abducted him.
It was learnt that Basil, who is a fuel supplier, was kidnapped in his country house in Umuofor village in the Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.
He was said to have travelled home to renovate the house ahead of the Yuletide when his family members in Lagos would come home for the celebration.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the 69-year-old was seeing off an electrician when the attackers stormed the compound and abducted him.
His son, Ikenna Agha, told our correspondent that the kidnappers later contacted the family members and demanded N50m ransom, adding that they eventually paid them a total sum of N2.6m when efforts by the police to rescue him proved abortive.
Ikenna said, “He was kidnapped on Friday, October 28, inside his compound around 1pm. The kidnappers told him that they were from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department and ordered him to follow them into a waiting vehicle.
“I told my brother who broke the news to me on the phone that we didn’t have any issue with anybody. On Sunday, they called me and demanded N50m ransom. My relatives reported at the Orlu Police Station and I also submitted a petition at the Federal SARS in Adeniji Adele.
“Five policemen from the Federal SARS followed me to Orlu. But for the six days that we spent in Owerri, the kidnappers did not call me again. On November 9, we came back to Lagos and they called again. I negotiated with them and we agreed on N2.5m. They asked me to drop the money somewhere in Onitsha and promised to release him the following day.
“After dropping the money, we waited throughout the day, but he was not released. Two days after, they asked for another N2m. We negotiated and they reduced it to N500,000. I said I could only afford N100,000 and they agreed. They called me with my father’s number. On November 14, I told my brother in Owerri to take the money to where we dropped the N2.5m.
“Since they collected the N100,000, I have not received any call from them. I have gone back to the Federal SARS. They said they were communicating with the DPO, Orlu division.”
Ikenna called on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and other security agents to come to the family’s aid and rescue the businessman.
“I am totally confused now and so is every member of the family. I don’t know whether my father is dead or alive. We want the IG to intervene. Anybody with useful information should help us,” he added.
A resident, who witnessed the incident, Thomas Idochi, said he was surprised that what appeared like an arrest to him turned out to be a kidnap.
He said, “I am an electrician. I came to help him fix the wiring of the house on that day. When I was done, he saw me off. As we were about to reach the gate, three men armed with guns stormed the compound. They were in mufti. They identified themselves as policemen from the SCIID and asked him (Basil) to follow them.
“He asked them what his offence was. But they insisted he would know when he got to their station. They dragged him into the car.”
A police source at the Federal SARS toldPUNCH Metro that some arrests had been made by the police in Imo State with respect to the matter.
“We don’t want the complainant (Ikenna) to spend unnecessarily. We are making progress on the matter and some persons have been arrested. We have been liaising with the police in Imo to see how we can succeed,” the source added.
The Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Enwerem, said the police had yet to get any clue about the victim’s whereabouts.
He said, “We will continue to investigate to unravel those people behind the kidnap. If arrest has been made, investigation has to follow. No information yet as to where the man is. As soon as we get his location, we will go there and rescue him.”
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