Following the abduction of over 25 choir members of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in Oke-Igan, Akure, Ondo State by unknown gunmen, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, the Regional Superintendent of CAC’s Odubanjo Regional Headquarters, has said that the kidnappers are demanding a whopping sum of N50 million as ransom.
The pastor who disclosed this on Sunday said the kidnappers put a call through to him to demand the ransom when one of the abducted victims contacted the church to inform them about the incident.
New Telegraph had on Saturday reported that 27 members of the church were abducted while travelling along the Owo-Ifon-Benin highway on their way from Akure to Ifon for a funeral event.on Friday evening.
Several hours after the incident, eight of the abducted victims managed to escape from their captors. Meanwhile, security agencies in the state have initiated a manhunt to locate and apprehend the kidnappers to rescue the remaining victims.
Pastor Akanmu expressed optimism that the kidnapped victims would eventually be released. He explained that the choir members were en route to Ifon in Ose Local Council when the gunmen ambushed their vehicle on Friday evening.
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He said, “They (choir) embarked on a journey to Ifon for a Christian wake in honour of our organist, who was to bury his late father in Ifon.
“They took off from Akure on Friday and were supposed to be back on Saturday after the burial.
“I was called around 4 p.m. on Friday by someone who said that a bus belonging to the church was seen abandoned by the roadside around Elegbeka, and nobody was inside at the time.
“According to the caller, he suspects the passengers have been kidnapped, and so we started contacting our members and security agencies.
“One of those in captivity called to inform me that their abductors are demanding the sum of 50 million naira as ransom.
“One of the abductors also took the phone from him and said we must provide the 50 million naira immediately if we indeed love our members.
“Nine of the victims are currently with the abductors, while eight have regained their freedom, but we cannot ascertain the whereabouts of three other members,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of CAC Oke-Igan in Akure have begun intense prayers.
During a visit to the church’s premises, the voices of the congregation were audible for anyone in the area to hear.
Pastor Akanmu said the church has strong faith in God, hence the reason for the commencement of prayers since Friday when they were abducted.
“I believe God will help the security agencies rescue the nine individuals still in captivity and apprehend the perpetrators of the criminal act,” he said.