The traditional ruler of Iba Town, Oba Goriola Oseni admitted that his family paid N15.1 million to free him after the kidnappers initially demanded N500 million ransom.
The monarch stated this on Friday, November11th, while giving evidence before the Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere as the trial of four suspects, who kidnapped him begins.
The defendants, Duba Furejo, Ododowo Isaiah, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh, who were first arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo on October 24, are standing trial on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, robbery, armed robbery, stealing and kidnapping preferred against them by the Lagos State Government.
The defendants and others still at large, murdered a security guard, Sunday Eniola Okanlawon and a commercial motorcyclist, Joseph Okeke and also attempted to murder the traditional ruler's wife, Olori Abosede Oseni.
Led in examination by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem (SAN), who led a team of lawyers for the state, the 73-year-old monarch narrated how he was kidnapped by nine heavily armed men at his palace while watching TV oat about 8pm, on July 16th.
"This is the king,’ the gunmen said. I asked them, ‘what can I do for you?’ Then they grabbed me. I was in only a boxer because I was preparing to take a bath. My Olori (Queens) came in and asked them where they were taking me to but they fled when the gunmen released some bullets in the decking of the room," Oseni told the court.
He further narrated how the gunmen dragged him out of the palace and shot sporadically, in the process, killed his security guard and a motorcyclist. They also shot at one of his wives.
"They started pushing me and shouting 'trek, trek', till I fell and injured my arm. Mt toe was also forcibly removed, so they carried me,"
The suspects took him to a speedboat where he was driven away to a riverine camp with about 50 militants. The next day, he was taken to a bigger camp with six buildings and more of the militants. He said they demanded N500 million ransom but his family paid N12 million and then another N3.1million to another group of the kidnappers, totalling N15.1million after he was released.
The Oba’s son, Prince Kazeem, who testified as the second prosecution witness, said he delivered both ransom money of N12m and N3.1m to the abductors at a canal near Igbehinadun in Iba, adding that they negotiated the ransom from N500m to N40m but they couldn’t raise that amount, especially after the government refused to pay any ransom. The militants gave him directions to the drop off point on phone after warning him not to tell anyone.