BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI & ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
LAGOS — Children of the kidnapped Ejigbo Local Council Development Area chairman, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan now curious about the large crowd that mills around their house without their father among them are asking anyone that cares to listen about their father’s whereabouts.
According to a reliable family source, “the three children, two boys and a girl (names withheld) with the eldest being about 12 years old, have been suspicious of the high number of people who have been visiting the house since Tueday, prompting them to ask for their father.
“The children believe that their father, as a grassroots politician, used to receive the kind of crowd they see in recent times personally but with his absence, they have been demanding for his whereabouts.”
Also, when Vanguard visited the residence at 21, Ona-Iwa Mimo Street, early yesterday, sympathisers gathered in groups discussing the development in hushed tones.
Family, kidnappers negotiating ransom
Sources confided in Vanguard that the kidnappers have been negotiating the ransom, which they pegged originally at $1 million, with the family members towards possible release of the chairman.
Also the wife, Fatimah, is said to have declared indefinite fasting until her husband returns.
Meantime, a high powered delegation from the state, led by the deputy governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, has visited the family.
The deputy governor, during the visit, led a prayer session where God was sought to intervene in the matter.
Majority of the sympathizers who thronged the house expressed shock at the way the matter was turning, with residents and neighbours describing him as a gentleman who has done a lot for the local government.
“He is a man of the people; you can even see from his house that it’s not different from many others here,” said a resident, who pleaded anonymity.
At the local government secretariat, where he is chairman, the mood of the workers was pensive, while work has literally stopped as workers were seen discussing the incident in groups.
A prayer session was earlier observed by the council workers.
Other sympathisers that visited the family, yesterday, included Akeem Munir, a lawmaker representing Isolo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives; Omowunmi Edet, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly; Dele Alake, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Ademorin Kuye, former member of House of Representatives; Jaiyeola Ajatta; Abdul Lateef AbdulHakeem; Mushin Local Government Chairman, Babatunde Adepitan; Egbe Idimu LCDA Chairman, Waheed Adebayo and his Odi-Olowo counterpart, Yemi Ali among others.
OPC has spread dragnet across S-West —Fasehun
Founder and President of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, yesterday, maintained that his group has spread its dragnet across the South-West states to locate Bamigbetan’s whereabouts.
In a telephone interview with Vanguard, Fasehun said since the incident happened, his group, as a defender of Yoruba nation, had taken it upon itself to see how the abducted local council boss would regain his freedom hale and hearty.
Fasehun who said he was out of town, noted that his group was doing what was necessary to ensure that Bamigbetan was released without being hurt by his abductors.
However, he said he could not disclose what exactly the OPC was doing to get Bamigbetan off the kidnappers hook.
He said:, “I am not in Lagos now. Definitely, I will get detailed field report tonight. I am expecting the field officers to update me with report tomorrow morning.
“Though, we are yet to get a specific report on the negotiation, but I believe by the grace of God, we will get somewhere soon.
“But the important thing I know is that he is alive. With the information that the abductors asked for ransom shows that the matter will be resolved soon. The field officers couldn’t have reported to me since I am not in Lagos and for your information, we don’t discuss this type of issues on the telephone. My assurance to you is that our people are working across the states of the South-West.
“OPC has spread its net beyond Lagos. I was surprised when I got to Ondo today (yesterday) when the people here are discussing the issue in their meeting. By the grace of God, we will succeed and he will be released” Fasehun said.
Lagos NUJ wants unconditional release
Meantime, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Lagos State Council has called for Bamigbetan’s unconditional release.
The council chairman, Mr Deji Elumoye and Secretary, Mr Sylva Okereke, in a release, yesterday, expressed concern over the kidnap of Bamigbetan, wondering why the demand for a ransom before his release
Describing Bamigbetan as a seasoned journalist and consummate politician, Lagos NUJ wondered about the level of insecurity in Lagos metropolis.
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