Kidnapped Ondo cleric freed after 11 days

Akure—AFTER 11 days in kidnappers den, a 70-year-old cleric at Ikare-Akoko area of Ondo State, Japhet Obafemi, has regained his freedom.

Pastor Obafemi of the Apostolic Faith, Ilepa in Ikare-Akoko, was ambushed by some suspected Fulani herdsmen who abducted him along Augu/Akunmu Expressway, while coming back from a church engagement in Kogi State.

His son was said to be driving his SUV when his abductors, numbering about 13, reportedly ambushed him.

The kidnappers later called the wife, identified as Olu, that her husband was with them and that the family and the church should pay N16 million ransom for his freedom.

Vanguard gathered that the family and the church were able to raise N300,000 but the kidnappers insisted they won’t go below N3 million.

They reportedly told the wife to sell his property and that of the church to raise money to pay the ransom.

Vanguard, however, could not ascertain if the kidnappers ended up collecting the N300,000 or that the family and the church paid more.

But it was reliably gathered that the family parted with some “good money” before the pastor was freed.

A police source said the pastor was seen at Ise-Akoko, a few kilometres from where he was kidnapped.

Narrating his ordeal, Pastor Obafemi who reportedly sustained injury on his head, said he trekked over six kilometres to Ise-Akoko from the bush where he was  released.

His family members prevented him from going into details of how he was kidnapped and where he was taken to by his abductors.

They stated  that his health was of more importance to them now than granting press interview.

Vanguard gathered that the family are planning to take him to a private hospital in Lagos for a thorough medical examination.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, had last week declared three days fasting and prayer for the release of the abducted pastor.

Speaking with newsmen, the chairman, Akoko North East Local Government Area of the state,  Alhaji Azeez Al-Amam, expressed appreciation to journalists, security agencies and the state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, for their

efforts in ensuring the release of the cleric.

Religious leaders and his church members have continued to flock his residence, singing and giving praises to God for his release.