Abductors of Ondo monarch reduce ransom to N3m

  • As Trump congratulates Erdogan over Turkey referendum

The kidnappers of the Oniyani of Iyani in Akoko area of Ondo State, Oba Joel Sunday Daodu, have reduced the ransom they demanded for the monarch’s freedom from N15 million to N3 million.

They reportedly turned down the request of the Oba’s family to pay between N500,000 and N1m. But the family source refused to respond when asked where the kidnappers wanted them to drop the ransom.

Oba Daodu was abducted on Saturday along Ose Oba Akoko axis of Ikare-Owo Road, almost the same spot where the Regent of Akungba Akoko, Princess Oluwatoyin Omosowon, was kidnapped about two years ago.

She was rescued by a combined team of Department of State Services, DSS, operatives and policemen, after two weeks in captivity.

A source in Oba Daodu’s family told Vanguard that the leader of the abductors put a call across to them, requesting that the N3m ransom be paid today unfailingly by 9a.m. They, however, did not say what would befall the First Class Oba if the family is unable to raise the amount.

However, sources said that the assistance of wealthy sons and daughters of the community has been sought by its council of chiefs. Also, an unconfirmed source said that elders of the town have requested for the assistance of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who in turn had pleaded with the security agencies in the state to ensure that the Oba is released unhurt.

The kidnappers had, after picking the Oba, requested for N15 million ransom. The state police’s image-maker, Femi Joseph, said that the command was on top of the situation. Joseph said men of the command were monitoring the abductors, giving the assurance that the monarch would be freed unhurt. He refused to comment on payment of ransom, saying the police was not aware of such arrangement.

In the meantime, Donald Trump has congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his victory in Sunday’s referendum that gave him sweeping new powers.

In a phone call, the US president also thanked Mr Erdogan for supporting America’s missile strike on a Syrian government airbase on 7 April.

In the poll, 51.4% of Turkish voters backed the changes.

Mr Erdogan rejected criticism from international monitors who said he had been favoured by an “unequal campaign”.

“Know your place,” he told the observers.

The narrow victory was ruled valid by Turkey’s electoral body, despite claims of irregularities by the opposition.

In a separate development, Turkey extended the state of emergency for three months. The measure, introduced after a failed coup last July, was set to expire in two days.

In a statement on Monday, the White House said President Trump discussed with his Turkish counterpart America’s “action in response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons on 4 April”.

It said the two leaders “agreed on the importance of holding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable”.

They also discussed “the counter-ISIS [Islamic State campaign]”, the statement added.

Relations between Washington and Ankara have recently been strained by several key issues.

One of Turkey’s main grievances with the US is the policy started by the Obama administration of supporting Kurdish fighters in Syria who are fighting IS forces.

Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as a terror group linked to Kurdish separatists waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

The two sides are also at loggerheads over Fethullah Gulen. Turkey accuses the cleric of orchestrating the failed coup.

Officially the Washington insists any decision on returning him to Turkey from the US remains a judicial rather than a political one.

Vanguard with additional report from BBC