Imo Monarch’s Kidnapping: Ransom Paid for Release, Not Police Intervention

Samuel Ohiri, the former chairman of the council of traditional rulers in Imo state, Nigeria, has revealed that his release from kidnappers was secured through the payment of a ransom, not through police intervention. The monarch was abducted from his residence in Orodo Mbaitoli LGA of Imo on January 6 and released after 13 days in captivity.

The Imo police command had claimed to have secured Ohiri’s freedom in collaboration with other security agencies. However, Ohiri, speaking with journalists, contradicted this claim. He acknowledged that while the police might have made efforts towards his release, they did not play any direct role in his actual release.

Ohiri detailed his harrowing experience, stating that he was initially kept in an uncompleted building before being moved to another location. During his captivity, he “saw hell” and noted that the kidnappers expressed clear animosity towards traditional rulers and politicians. He recounted that it was only after the payment of the first and second ransoms that he was released.

The kidnappers eventually took him and another victim to Eziama Obiato, a community in Mbaitoli LGA, along the Owerri-Onitsha expressway. From there, Ohiri found his way back to Owerri, where he was reunited with his people.

In his statement, Ohiri appealed to all traditional rulers in Imo and the South-East to adhere to the traditional norms and values of Ndigbo as custodians of tradition. His kidnapping and subsequent release highlight the ongoing challenges of security and kidnapping in Nigeria.

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