Asked if the kidnappers were educated, he replied: “Only two of them could speak some English. They were between the ages of 25 and 35. They were Fulani, they spoke Hausa.”
Falae however said it was plausible that his ordeal was closely connected to his conflict with Fulani herdsmen who consistently grazed at his farm.
Falae warned that this sort of thing should not be allowed to happen again as it could result to even graver consequences.
“It is not because of me. As for me, I am a very humble person, but by virtue of what God has made me and the status God has given me, it is an insult to our race that a man like me could be abducted by a bunch of hoodlums,” he lamented, bringing another side of his story: “By the way, one of them told me, he said, ‘Baba, if after you leave us you talk nonsense I will come and catch you again.’ That is the kind of insult I received.”
Chief Olu Falae, recounting his ordeal in the hands of those who kidnapped him recently, recalled many incidents he initially could not remember after his release, according to Daily Trust reports.
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Afenifere chieftain, Chief Olu Falae, who was kidnapped and held for days was continually threatened until his captors had established the fact that the ransom they demanded was on its way to them, the 77-year-old politician and farmer has revealed.
Falae had gone to his farm with some of his workers was still settling down when the intruders turned up and whisked him away. Before his first day in captivity was over, according to him, he was asked to contact his family that he had been kidnapped and he was warned that for him to see anyone again, a ransom of N100 million must be paid.
Recounting the ordeal, Falae said when the kidnappers picked him up, they trekked all day in the bush and for 24 hours they kept moving in order to avoid arrest. “The armed hoodlums threatened me every 30 minutes until they received information that money had been given to them as demanded,” the former presidential hopeful recalled.
“There were six of them with three or four guns and every half an hour or so they will say, ‘Baba, we are going to kill you; if you don’t give us money we are going to kill you.’
On Wednesday one of them came and said, ‘look, we are going to leave here on Thursday morning. Since we cannot leave you here alone, if we don’t get what we want we are going to kill you.’ And they said they gave me until 3 pm and if at 3 pm they didn’t get the money they would execute me. I thank God that at 21 minutes to 3 pm, one of them came and said, ‘The money don complete.’”
Continuing his recollection of his experience in the hands of the kidnappers, Falae said: “When the hoodlums came, they slashed me with their cutlasses; they said I was not cooperating. And they dragged me barefooted into the bush. After dragging me around for about two hours, they stopped somewhere for us to rest and there they asked me to phone my wife and tell her that I had been kidnapped and taken out of Ondo State in a car, which was a lie. It was about 2.30 pm on Monday that we started walking with very few stops until 2 am the following morning. I suspect that I must have covered a minimum of 15 kms. That morning I did not take anything. So all day I had no food, no water.
How I survived I cannot really remember. I had no food in my stomach, I had no shoes, and my clothes were torn to shreds.
“At some point, one of them gave me rubber slippers. We walked until about 2 am. At some point they called for an Okada. At about 2.30 am the Okada man took me way down. I had no clue where we were going. Finally they dumped me somewhere, where I was until I was released on Thursday. In that place we all slept on the floor on leaves, unfortunately the rain came in the night and I was thoroughly drenched where I was lying down. One of them brought a small umbrella to cover my head, my head was covered, but the rest of my body was not. They offered me bread, but I told them I could not eat it. I demanded a bottle of coke, which was what I drank every day to have the requisite strength to survive and to continue on the march, because they were permanently moving. They were changing locations at two to three times a day. I suspect they did that because they did not want the police to succeed in tracing them.”
Falae added that although the confirmation of the payment of ransom was made on Wednesday afternoon, he was not allowed to go until Thursday morning. “One of them took ropes to stitch my buba which was already in tatters, so that it could at least stay on me and I would not look like a lunatic while leaving that place,” he disclosed.
“When I came out of the bush, I was able to find an Okada, a man riding a bike, who gave me a lift to Owo. The place was about 10 kms from Owo town. The place was between Owo and Ifon. As I said, miraculously I was not tired, I was not hungry and I was not afraid of them at all. Each time they said, ‘Baba we will kill you,’ I will tell them,
‘No, Insha Allah, you will not kill me.’ I did not break down, but I want to tell you that when I got back home I became completely exhausted. But I am now 80 per cent fit and I know in the next few days I will be up again,” the former SGF stated.
“The cattle rearers have been giving me a hard time for the past two or three years. Because I have a dam on the farm, they like to bring their cattle there to drink water, then they eat other people’s crops,” he stated.
“This time they ate up my maize farm, two hectares. We took pictures, and it was videoed and the police went there. They were asked to pay compensation, they begged and paid half of what we claimed and we accepted it. That is about two months ago. Whether it was one of them who went to bring his brothers to come and deal ‘with this wicked man,’ I don’t know. It is possible,” he explained.
“My view is that this is my home. I have not gone to farm in any other person’s territory. This is my home where I was born. I have every right to farm here and live in peace here. So, this is totally unacceptable. I once told the commissioner of police that if he cannot protect us and protect my farm, I will protect myself. There will be self-help if government fails to protect its citizens,” Falae said.
“It would have been unfortunate if that were to happen. The IG met me and gave me assurances that they will give us protection. I hope that we as a community in Ondo State and in Yoruba land as a whole must go into consultation to ensure that we enhance our protection. We cannot be slaves in our own territory,” he added.
Falae said he was not surprised that the police could not trace and arrest the kidnappers because of the manner of their movement and operation.
“These fellows were permanently on the move. Day and night they were walking. Through farmlands, through water, through swamps…they were scared, they knew they could be traced with GPRS, that was why they were running around all the time,” he said.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN STUDYING IN CANADA, US, UK OR AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTIONS? STANVISTA CONSULTING IS WHERE TO START. Click for details.
YOU HAVE A TALENT OR SKILL YOU WANT TO SHOWCASE, REGISTER FOR DRI TALENT HUNT PROGRAM. Click for details.