PROTEST AS GUNMEN KILL ABDUCTED LAUTECH STUDENT, HOTELIER

by Eniola Sanni
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Students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, and some youths of the town on Wednesday staged a protest in Ogbomoso over the killing of a final year student of the university, Rachael Opadele, by kidnappers.

The owner of the hotel where the lady was working, Olugbenga Owolabi, was also reportedly killed by the gunmen.

Opadele was said to be working at the hotel because of the ongoing strike by university lecturers.

The N5m ransom said to have been agreed on was taken to the bush by an okada rider and a family member, who was on the same motorcycle with the rider

The motorcyclist was also said to have been shot dead but the passenger escaped and was said to have broken the news to the family of the victims in the early hours of Wednesday.

One of the residents of Abaa, the community where the hotel is located, told our correspondent that the kidnappers had initially demanded N100m and reduced it to N50m but the victims’ family pleaded that they should be allowed to pay N5m because they could not raise N50m.

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The source said, “After the ransom was raised, the N5m was taken to the spot described to them by the kidnappers. They were said to have changed the venue about three times and those who took the money there kept following their directives.

They got to a place around Egbeda and the kidnappers showed up and took the okada rider with them to the spot where the two captives were. They asked the second person to wait at a junction and asked one of them to watch him.

“Some minutes later, the second man said he heard gunshots and he knew that the negotiation had gone awry and he fled the scene. The kidnappers were said to have pursued him but he was said to have fled into the bush and escaped.”

The news of the killing of the victims and the motorcyclist was said to have sparked a protest by some students of the university and angry youths in the town.

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The highway from Isale General to LAUTECH and Ilorin were reportedly blocked by the irate protesters.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, Adewale Osifeso, in a response to inquiry by our correspondent, said, “You would be updated accordingly.”

When contacted, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao, who is also the deputy chairman of Oyo State Council of Obas, described the incident as unfortunate.

The Students’ Union Government of LAUTECH, in a statement, mourned the killing of the student and other victims.

The SUG President, Anuoluwa Adeboye; Secretary, Ibrahim Opaleke and PRO, Michael Gabriel, in the statement, sympathised with the families of the victims.

The statement read, “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the gruesome killing of our dear student, Rachael, a final year student of LAUTECH, that was kidnapped where she was working in Ogbomoso due to ASUU strike.

“Our heart is bleeding. Despite the notice to the government, security operatives, and all other stakeholders, there was no known form of genuine commitment demonstrated by all of them in addressing this ugly trend in our community and the state.

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“We cried out but, unfortunately, it ended just on the walls of social media platforms because we are mere students whose lives mean nothing to the government.

Our cries to the government generated nothing than more pains, hurts, fears and sorrow. If we have government or community stakeholders that responded swiftly to that unfortunate incident, the killing would have been prevented.”

The PUNCH reported that the supervisor of the farm of late former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala was kidnapped and was released after ransom was paid.

The owner of a private clinic, Abdulrasheed was also kidnapped and was released after payment of ransom but the latest incident which happened in the same local government compared to the earlier ones became tragic.

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