FORMER finance minister ex-secretary to the federal government and one-time presidential candidate, Chief Olu Falae, has been rescued from his captors four days after he was kidnapped at his farm in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer, Wole Ogodo, who confirmed his release on Thursday, however declined to provide details of his release.
“Go to Baba’s house, whatever you find there, that is it,” he said.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria had directed the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, and other security agencies to take necessary actions to ensure the safe and speedy rescue of Falae.
Falae was abducted at his farm on Monday by gunmen, who demanded N100 million as ransom. The abductors later reduced the ransom to N90 million but Falae’s family said they could only raise N2 million. Chief Falae, 77, was abducted while on his farm, at Ago-Abo near Akure, the Ondo State capital, where he has worked since his retirement from public service.
Chief Falae was secretary to the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida from January 1986 to December 1990 and was briefly the finance minister in 1990 before resigning to run for president in 1999.
He was apparently kidnapped by Fulani cattle herdsmen, who he had been having disputes with over grazing rights recently. Apparently, the abductors, who attacked the over 200 workers on Chief Falae’s farm, contacted his wife, Rachael, demanding N100m as a ransom for his release.
Upon hearing about the abduction, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the security forces to mount an immediate search for Chief Falae and release him. It is unclear if there was any confrontation between the kidnappers and the police or if Chief Falae was released upon the payment of a ransom.
According to some sources, Chief Falae received a call that herdsmen had again invaded his farm on Monday morning and he immediately rushed there, where he was attacked and whisked away.
Immediately after the kidnapping, Ondo State Police Command spokesman Wole Ogodo, said they deployed 50 riot policemen, led by the deputy commissioner of operations, Ishola Abdullahi, to Chief Falae’s farm.