March 2, 2024

Samuel Ohiri, former chairman of the council of traditional rulers in Imo state, says the police did not secure his freedom from kidnappers.

The monarch was kidnapped from his residence on June 6 in Orodo Mbaitoli LGA of Imo.

He was released after 13 days in captivity.

The Imo police command said it secured Ohiri’s freedom in collaboration with other security agencies.

Speaking with journalists on Friday, the monarch said he was released after ransom was paid.

“Contrary to what the police said about my release, there is no hiding the fact that the state police never played any role,” he said.

“I actually do not want to speak on this but I am doing it just to set the records straight.

“I am not disputing the fact that the police may have made efforts towards my release but I am talking what I know.

“It was my relationship with God and the help from my family people that made it possible. Although, that was after we paid ransom.”

Recounting his experience, Ohiri said he “saw hell” in captivity.

“I came back home to celebrate Christmas and New Year with my people in Obi-Orodo. Then on the 6th of January, I decided to visit one of my old boys and senior students of Emmanuel College Secondary School in those days,” he said.

“But when I was coming back after visiting my friend around 8:30 pm, I met able-bodied men in front of my palace gate who came in their vehicle.

“They double-crossed me and forced me into their vehicle. My cousin’s brother smartly introduced himself as my driver and they set him free. They now blindfolded me and zoomed off to an unknown destination.

“I was first kept in an uncompleted building before I was transferred to another location. Within the twelve days I spent in their den, I saw hell.

“It looked so much as if they had some scores to settle with the traditional rulers and politicians, but luckily for me, their leader came out and ordered them not to torture me, that I am a decent man.

“Negotiations began between my people and the kidnappers which eventually resulted in setting me free after we paid the first and second ransom.

“They later took me and another victim to Eziama Obiato, a community in Mbaitoli LGA, along Owerri-Onitsha expressway, at night after I spent twelve days in their dungeon.

“And from there I found my way back to Owerri at Asumpta Cathedral roundabout where my people came and conveyed me back to my palace.”

He said the kidnappers did not conceal their bitterness against traditional rulers and politicians.

“I appeal to all Ezes of Imo and south-east at large not to deviate from the traditional norms and values of Ndigbo as custodians of the tradition,” he added.

The Cable

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