The three construction workers, who were abducted last week on the Ikaramu-Akunnu Akoko Road in Ondo State, have been set free.
It was gathered that the victims, who were abducted by gunmen while rehabilitating the road, regained their freedom on Sunday after spending four days in captivity.
However, it could not be confirmed if ransom was paid before the victims were released.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Tee-Leo Ikoro, confirmed the development, saying the combined efforts of the men of the command and other security agencies made the freedom of the victims possible.
“It was through our efforts and those of other security men as well as vigilantes and local hunters that the victims were released,” Ikoro stated.
In his reaction, the monarch of Ikaram Akoko and the Chairman, Akoko North-West Local Government Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Andrew Momodu, said there was an urgent need for mass recruitment of “our youths to the police, civil defence and Amotekun, because the present manpower is grossly inadequate to face the high rate of security challenges in the country.”
According to him, there have been a series of meetings and consultations with stakeholders as a way to curb kidnapping in the area.
Similarly, the kidnappers of an All Progressives Congress chieftain and Supervisor for Agriculture, Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Mr Ebenezer Busuyi, released him to his family on Sunday.
The gunmen also set free two other persons kidnapped along with Busuyi after their families coughed out N6m as ransom.
The council official and the two others were whisked away by gunmen on Thursday on the Ilawe Ekiti-Erinjiyan Ekiti Road following which the kidnappers contacted the families and demanded N15m ransom.
“The sum of N6m was paid for the release of the three victims, including the council supervisor. They were released around the place where they were taken away into the forest along the Ilawe-Erinjiyan Road,” a family source said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the release of the victims, said, “I can confirm to you that the three victims have been released and reunited with their families. I am not aware of any ransom.”
This was as the command said its personnel had arrested five suspected cultists in a bush behind the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, on Sunday.
Abutu said the five suspects, believed to be members of the Black Axe (Aiye) Confraternity, “were arrested where they were holding initiation rites inside a bush behind the EKSU campus at Iworoko Ekiti in the night.”
In a statement titled: ‘Ekiti Rapid Response Squad arrests five suspected cultists’, Abutu said the police were on the trail of the fleeing members of the group and had begun investigating those arrested.
According to him, as of the time of arrest, the suspects had in their possession one cut-to-size locally-made pistol, two expended cartridges, one gallon containing liquid drug, weeds suspected to be Indian hemp and two motorcycles.
He said, “Upon the receipt of information by the police, a team of the RRS operatives in synergy with the police personnel attached to the Iworoko Divisional Police headquarters swung into action and stormed the bush, where the suspected cultists shot indiscriminately on sighting the police.
“The Ekiti State Commissioner of Police, Tunde Mobayo, has ordered a thorough investigation of the arrested suspects and has equally tasked the operatives to ensure the apprehension of the fleeing suspects.
“The police boss has assured the good people of Ekiti State that the command’s fight against cultism and other criminal activities in the state will continue until they are brought to zero.
“He has enjoined everyone to cooperate and support the police in the fight against crimes by providing timely and useful information that can help in flushing out the criminal elements in our society.”