Oba Goriola Oseni – the Oniba of Iba land who was abducted by suspected millitants on Saturday, July 16, 2016, around 10.30 pm in the Palace has been placed on a N500 million ransom, as the family continue to solicit for help to secure the release of the 73 year old monarch.
The monarch’s wife, Kuburat, was among the five that were shot during the ordeal which left three dead – Palace guard, Sunday Okanlawon; a barber, Riliwan Rasak; and unidentified motorcyclist. Kuburat and another victim are reported to be recuperating in a government hospital.
The 16 assailants who stormed the community in two speedboats have been reported to have made a demand of N500 million. The demand was made on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, five days after he was kidnapped.
According to former Chairperson, Iba Local Government Council and a daughter of Oba Oseni, Mrs. Ramota Oseni, the family did not initially make it public for security reasons. She added that they negotiated with the Kidnapers to pay N40m, which is not even available.
Ramota said appeals made to Lagos state governments have not been fruitful as the state government is yet to respond to them.
According to Vanguard newspapers, the kidnappers have given the reason for their act. They said the Oba is highly influential in the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode administration and the administration recognises his contribution to the development of the state.
The kidnappers also argued that they could not continue their pipeline vandalism because President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has intensified security around the pipelines, hence, the option of kidnapping. They said this is just the beginning and south-west should be prepared for more.
Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the kidnap of the monarch.
Religious bodies including traditionalists were reported to have been going to the Palace for prayers, as the family have been seeking spiritual help from all and sundry.
Youths in the community under the aegis of Iba Youth Forum were reported to have barricaded the Iba expressway to protest for the release of Oba Oseni. The protest was carried out in the early hours of Saturday, July 23, 2016.
National Coordinator of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams also commented on the saga, blaming the situation on the negligence of the Yoruba leaders.
He made the comment in an interview with the Nation, where he said: “What happened to the Oniba of Iba is a slap on the entire Yoruba race. It shows these criminals have prepared their minds for battle. But I have said it last week that without the cooperation of the Yoruba people, it will be very difficult for us to act because the implication is of great concern to us.
“We are learning from past experience, If it were before, as soon as it happened, we would have promptly mobilised our members within Iba and its environs to waylay the criminals before they escaped. But we realised that the more we continue to fight without the support of leaders in Yorubaland, people appeared to pay more attention on our negative aspect than the positive.
“What is the population of these guys in the creek? Even though we don’t have weapons, but we know how to fight. Since last week that I had spoken, I have never seen any Yoruba leader that asks me what the way forward is.”
– Olalekan Olonilua for encomium.ng