By OLA AGBAJE, CHIOMA OKEZIE and CHINELO OBOGO
Joy erupted on Sunday at the residence of the Chairman of Ejigbo Local Government Development Area, Kehinde Bamigbetan, who rejoined his family at 11.00pm on Saturday after he was released by kidnappers. As relations, well-wishers and party faithful thronged his residence at Ona Iwa Mimo Street, off Ikotun Ejigbo Road, there were songs of praise and thanksgiving at a service the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the area organised .
There was Bible reading and prayers for the family, the local government, the state and the nation. Bamigbetan, overwhelmed with the level of love and affection the people demonstrated during his travail in the hands of the kidnappers, thanked the people for their support, especially through persistent prayers day and night, saying it was the prayers of the people that touched the heart of his abductors and changed their hostility towards him.
“I thank you all for the ceaseless prayers day and night. I felt your prayers even in captivity. “If not for God that touched their hearts, where would I have been now? I thank you all, I thank God for His faithfulness and care even in those terrible moments. “Can you imagine, the same people that tied my hands and legs and blindfolded me, God touched their hearts through your prayers and their hostility dissolved into love and care.
The same people untied me and started begging me to eat and even offered to wash my clothes for me. My people, prayers helped, for only God can save,” he said. Bamigbetan used the occasion to appeal to leaders in the country to imbibe one habit of ruling with fear of God. According to him, what happened had further taught him to keep serving the people with the fear of God. “Honestly, we should learn to rule with the fear of God. That should be our fundamental principle in governance.
“Those boys gave me vehicle with instruction to drive to a convenient point and drop it so that I could get to my house without any trouble. I thank God. I thank all of you. This incident further proved that we are one family. Whatever we do we would surely reap here, even before we go back to our maker. “I thank God for my parents that brought me to this world and for the kind of upbringing they gave me. “I thank all members of our party ACN, now APC for indeed we are one big family.
It is my prayer that God will use the new party to bring his light upon this nation and lift up those who will rule with fear and purpose to the position of authority,” he said. Earlier, in a brief chat, Bamigbetan explained how he was abducted, his ordeal and release from the kidnappers’ den. He said: “I was on my way home and I had gotten to my street already when they overtook my car. I decided to reverse but they came out and asked me to stop. I didn’t so they shot at the vehicle.
“I reversed until I hit a pole and I was stuck there. I came out and they asked why I was running and I said I was afraid. They asked me to go into their vehicle and they drove for four hours and we got to a place and they blindfolded me. “They took me in and asked me to lie on the floor and then they started going through my records because I had my bag with documents with me and they discovered that I was the chairman of a local government and it was at that point that they started agitating.”
“They said they were graduates and this country had not provided jobs for them and the same country that had rendered them unemployable spent billions of naira everyday on wasteful projects. “On whether he was assaulted, Bamigbetan said there was an altercation when he tried to explain to them that not all politicians were bad. “I tried as much as possible to show them that I did massive social constructive programmes for my constituency but they did not believe me.
On the 1million dollars ransom, he said, “I told them I didn’t have that kind of money on me, they later reduced the amount to N50million but I still insisted that I didn’t have that kind of money. “When the ransom was reduced to N15million, I told them that I had a friend that might be able to raise that amount for me. I gave them the friend’s number and when the amount was agreed on, they went on to demand for an additional N10million but I insisted that my friend couldn’t afford it.
“Later, to confirm my antecedents, they sent some of their members to my LCDA to liaise with my workers to see if I was saying the truth about my character. They got there and met my workers praying for my safe return.” From that day of their investigation, the treatment changed. They tried to make me comfortable. It was then they said they wouldn’t kill me because I was a good man. “I don’t believe in that kind of security. I have no cause to beef up security. I put my faith in God and recite my Psalms. My release was miraculous.
“The police is overstretched as it is already and they cannot do everything. We need a situation where things are out in place and then the police won’t have much work to do. We churn out graduates everyday from universities and yet there is no job for them. Just in my LCDA we were only able to employ about 125 of them out of the over 700 graduates that applied. “When you multiply that figure by the number of LCDA’s in Lagos, it will give you a clearer picture of how many people are unemployed and that is why we are asking the Federal Government to give more money to the governor because it is a special state and this is where everybody comes to earn a living.
“This is beyond the capacity of the state government and they are trying to cope with the challenges but as long as the Federal Government continues to play the ostrich, we will continue to miss it, thereby creating more problems.” Meanwhile, a police source has confided in Daily Sun that one of the suspects in the abduction of the local government boss died while trying to escape from the operatives of the State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), who traced him to an hotel in Agboju area.
The police were able to track one of the suspects to a hotel and as soon as he realised that the police were at the door, he ran to the balcony and jumped. Shortly, before he died, he was asked where the Ejigbo boss was kept and he said Agbara before he gave up the ghost,” the source said.