Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan
By Chiemelie Ezeobi
The abducted Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, has been released.
Though details of his release were still sketchy Saturday night, reports said Bamigbetan was sighted in his house around 10:30 pm .
The State Police Command had denied knowledge of the freedom of the Local Government chief who was kidnapped about five days ago on his way home in Lagos when THISDAY sought to know the truth about the news of his freedom at about 9:30pm.
The Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the Police Command was making concerted efforts to secure the safe release of the abducted Council chairman.
While debunking claims that the victim had been found, he said the police were not in the know. According to him, calls made to the Ejigbo Divisional Police Officer reinforced the truth that they hadn’t seen the chairman.
“There is nothing to hide. Why would we hide his release? It is good news but the truth remains that we haven’t seen him. That doesn’t mean that we are not working for his release; but note that his safety is paramount to us, so there are things we can’t talk about or it will jeopardise investigation,” he said.
The Police reaction came as an Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) stalwart in Lagos , who spoke on condition of anonymity, also told THISDAY that the chairman was yet to be freed.
Although he could not categorically state the stage at which the negotiations were, he said progress had been made.
“He has not been released yet but we are at his house keeping vigil and praying for his safe return. I don’t know where the story of his release emanated from. We are all keeping our fingers crossed.
“If he has been released, you would have seen him at home. At least, he would have reported to the police so that the search party would be called off. We are however hopeful that he would be back soon,” the ACN chieftain said.
But indications strongly suggest that the victim may be released soon as considerable progress is said to have been made concerning negotiations between the kidnappers and the victim’s family on the terms of his release.
Bamigbetan was kidnapped on Tuesday night few meters away from his residence at Ejigbo. The Police and the State Security Service (SSS) have embarked on a massive search for him since then.
His abduction came barely hours after the State Police Commissioner, Umar Manko, debunked claims that kidnapping was rife in the state.
Manko, who was reacting to claims that kidnapping was on the increase, said investigations revealed that the kidnappers do not operate in Lagos State rather, they just come and go.
THISDAY gathered that the kidnappers had initially demanded a whooping $1m (about N158million) as ransom.