By Adekola Afolabi
The Ondo State Police Command said it is leaving no stone unturned in arresting cases of kidnapping and other criminal activities across the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Femi Joseph told the Hope Metro that ahead of the yuletide season, the State Command has devised “Operation Order” which will further make the state free from all forms of criminal activities and make the citizens enjoy.
Joseph explained that the command has never rested on its oars to ensure that citizens enjoy relative peace in the state.
“Few days ago, the Commissioner of Police met with all the stakeholders such as the Divisional Police Officers Divisional Police Officer (DPOs), Area Commanders and all the Head of Departments (HODs) to further put them on their toes in order to ensure that peace reigns supreme”, he said.
There have been cases of kidnapping in some parts of the state in recent times, some of which involved traditional rulers and other residents of the state.
The PPRO noted that issue of kidnapping is a national phenomenon, even though the state has had its own fair share of it, the police has always risen to the occasion, making the state to enjoy relative peace now.
He assured that the police will sustain the current relative peace and further improve on it, just as he encouraged the people to continue to go about their lawful businesses as the police is battle ready to make the state unsafe for criminals.
Why reacting to a claim by a kidnap victim who said her abductors threatened to kill her and her son if her family members reported the case to the police authorities, the police imagemaker encouraged family members of kidnap victims to always report to the police to ensure their safe rescue, noting that the police knows how to handle such situation and get the abductors arrested.
On the allegations that some officers are giving information to kidnappers, Joseph said, “We have always told the people that if you don’t trust some of our boys because we cannot say everyone of us is an angel or a saint, but they can always deal with senior ones, the DPOs, the HODs, somebody from the headquarters, the Spokesperson like myself and even directly with my Commissioner. That is why we have always given out the direct numbers of the Commissioner.
He further explained that some kidnapping cases have some forms of complicity making the police to treat all cases with high level of professionalism.
During the week, one of the victims of recent kidnapping, who said she and her son miraculously escaped from the kidnappers’ den in Port Harcourt, recounted her ordeal to The Hope Metro.
The victim, who said she did not want her name mentioned, was kidnapped with her baby boy in her shop in Ijapo Estate, Akure.
According to her, on the fateful day, it all happened in the noon, around 1pm, while she was in her shop with her son and her sales girl, a Hilux van just pulled up in front of her shop and two men came down, while the driver of the vehicle did not.
“Initially, when they came in, I’d thought they wanted to purchase some goods. But all of a sudden, one of them just brought out a gun and pointed it at me. Immediately I carried my son, but the second man just grabbed him from me, while they ordered me to go inside the car.
“They, however, warned my sales girl not to attempt to call the police. I only noticed that the driver drove through Owo express way and after about two hours, he entered a bush. I don’t really know the place, because one of them used his fez cap to cover my face. Later when it was dark, we embarked on the journey which lasted several hours.
“When we now got to a bush, I was told to come down with my son, while we trekked several kilometers into the bush. I begged them to call my husband and demand for whatever ransom, but they kept telling me they did not need any money, that my life has been paid for.
They kept my son and I under a shed for four days, feeding my son with biscuit and cereal. But I didn’t eat anything throughout.
” When my husband called my number, they warned him not to dare reporting to the police. He asked them what ransom they want. But they still kept insisting that my life has been paid for. So, they switched off my phone. All the while, I overheard them speaking with one ‘chief’ frequently. They told me they were hired killers, and that they waste people anyhow.
“On the morning of the forth day, two of them went somewhere, while the third man was keeping surveillance. Suddenly, we started hearing gun shots. The kidnapper grabbed his gun and left the place to see what was happening. But the gunshots persisted.
“So, when I didn’t see him for some minutes, I picked my baby and ran through an unknown path, until I got to the road side and begged a passer-by to allow me use his phone to call my husband. It was then, I knew we were kidnapped to Port Harcourt”, the victim narrated.
She, however, appealed to the police and the government to do more on the safety of the people and make the state inhabitable for kidnappers and other criminals.