Captain of Sunshine Stars, Sunday Abe, on Thursday revealed that Enyimba midfielder Dayo Ojo and Abia Comets’ Benjamin Iluyomade, who were kidnapped on the Benin-Akure Expressway on Sunday, were released after the sum of N2.5m was paid to their abductors.
Ojo was kidnapped along with Iluyomade by unknown gunmen on their way to Akure after their clubs had gone on vacation due to COVID-19 virus pandemic, on Sunday.
Shortly after, the kidnappers contacted their families and demanded a sum of N100m before they could be released. They were said to have been released on Thursday morning after the N2.5m ransom was paid.
However, Abe, a former teammate of the duo, confirmed on Thursday in Akure, the state capital, that the money was paid in cash to the kidnappers.
Abe stated that he and some family members of the players took the money to the kidnappers before his former teammates were released.
The Sunshine captain said, “They called us around after 4pm on Wednesday that we should come with the money, at times they asked me to send them recharge cards but we tried to speak with them on the financial state of the country.
“We negotiated from N100m to N20m before they finally agreed on N2.5m. They never asked us to drop the money inside the bush; they met us one-on-one.
“They asked me to bring the money before they would release them and we returned to Akure around 1am on Thursday.”
He added that the money was raised by the teams and families of the victims, saying Ojo’s club Enyimba contributed N1.5m while the players’ families rallied round to get the remaining N1m before they were released.
He also confirmed that the kidnappers were young Fulani boys who also abducted other people.
“These other kidnapped people also had their own ransom brought to the spot where they (kidnappers)asked us to come and meet them.”
The Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Leo-Tee Ikoro, confirmed the release of the footballers but added that no ransom was paid before the release of the Nigeria Professional Football League duo.