Kidnappers demand N100 million ransom and police demand N50,000 bribe from victim’s family

Alfred Ahọn was kidnapped on the morning of 1 February in the Mpape district of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) after he set out from home on a journey to Lagos.

The family of a man kidnapped in Abuja has alleged that the police demanded a bribe of N50,000 to trace the victim over whom the kidnappers have also demanded a N100 million ransom.

Alfred Ahọn was kidnapped on the morning of 1 February in the Mpape district of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) after he set out from home on a journey to Lagos.

His wife, Senami, and one of their neighbours, who requested to be anonymous because of fear of intimidation, said the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) in the Mpape police division requested the money.

“We went to the police in Mpape division so they can help track the number but as usual they are asking for money. The DCO is asking for N50,000 deposit to track,” Mrs Ahon said.

They told reporters that the police officer said they needed to connect with the State Security Service (SSS) which has the skill and tools for such an investigation, but would need to settle the SSS as they would demand some token before taking up the investigation.

“They clearly told us they don’t have the equipment to track but the DSS and that they have to sort the DSS out before it can be done,” the neighbour corroborated.

This is not the first time an allegation has been made of the police in Abuja demanding money before acting on a kidnapping case reported to them.

Sixteen days after the kidnapping of Mr Ahọn, he has not been released and the police are yet to respond on the matter.

The kidnappers have also reportedly threatened to kill the man if the wife failed to provide the N100 million they demanded by Saturday.

‘One chance’ victim

Mr Ahọn 60, had left home for Lagos on the fateful day to see his children who had just been offered admission to a tertiary institution.

“Her two children in school who just gained admission are the reasons the man was going to Lagos before the unfortunate incident happened,” the neighbour narrated.

Mr Ahọn retired from service with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) but continued working as a contract staff to support his family and two children in school.

“He is just a common public servant who has retired but had to go back as contract staff so he could fend for his family,” Mrs Ahon told our reporters.

“He wanted to give his children some money and be with them but unfortunately, he couldn’t get to his children and he couldn’t get back home,” his 48-year-old wife said.

Because Mrs Ahọn was ill that day, she could not see her husband off to the junction where he could take a commercial vehicle to the next motor park in Jabi.

She suspected the kidnappers operated a “One Chance” unbranded taxi her husband took that morning.

“His wife was not that strong and could only see him off to the door from where she saw a Toyota car waiting for him outside. She went back to bed hoping that he would call her when he left the park for Lagos,” the neighbour said.

“She woke up around 11 a.m. and tried to contact him but the line was unavailable.

“She waited for some time hoping he would contact but still no word from him. She started panicking but waited till evening to call her children in Lagos if their father had got to Lagos. But they said they had not heard from him.”

Neighbours, friends and family gathered thereafter to look for the man. They visited many motor parks in Abuja before reporting to the nearest police station.

“We have visited all motor parks in Abuja to check if his name was on their manifests but we found nothing,” Mrs Ahọn said

Police demand N50,000, kidnappers demand N100 million

According to the family, when they got to the Mpape police division, the police DCO demanded N50,000. They said the DCO was in mufti so they could not get his name.

Subsequently, the kidnapper contacted the wife on Sunday morning (two days after the kidnap) to inform her that her husband had been kidnapped and demanded N100 million as ransom.

“It was early morning on Sunday when the wife was contacted through the man’s phone by the kidnappers who told her they were holding her husband and that if she wanted him alive she should go and look for N100 million and must not tell anyone,” the neighbour said.

“She told them they should let her hear from her husband to believe their story but they hung up the call.

“On Monday, the kidnappers called back and gave the phone to the man who was crying, lamenting of torture and begging his wife to go and look for what they demanded.

“They called around the same time yesterday (Monday) and threatened the woman before they allowed her to speak with her husband who was crying and wailing, seriously complaining of torture.”

“The husband begged her to please look for money so he can be released and that’s where we are now”

The retired civil servant was still with the kidnappers as of the time of filing this report.

Police PRO’s reaction

On Wednesday, an X user, @True consciences, posted about the incident on his X account tagging the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who later responded.

“Nigerians!!! Please help us cry loud so that those in authority will hear us. The family has reported to the Police in Mpape and they are asking for money to track the number used to contact the kidnappers. Please help call on the Police authority to rescue him @Princemoye1.” he posted

He further narrated the bitter experience of the family.

“Mr Alfred Ahọn was crying bitterly on the phone yesterday when the kidnappers allowed him to speak with his wife. They’ve hurt him seriously and he’s an old man in his 60s. Please help call on the Police authority to rescue this man from the den of kidnappers.”

Responding to this, Mr Adejobi said the X user should contact him privately and cease passing the information on the channel.

“Let the relations talk to me via SMS, with useful info. And we should stop discussing it here forthwith for sec reasons. Thanks.” he posted.

The X user further claimed in his subsequent post that the police PRO had not picked up several calls put through to him since Wednesday.

“It’s almost 24 hours since we sent you the SMS as you directed and we are yet to get feedback considering that we have a 60-year-old man in captivity of the kidnappers. We’ve called your number several times but nobody picked up the calls.  What else do we do?” he requested bitterly.

The FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Josephine Adeh, when contacted, said she was in a meeting. She promised to call back but did not and did not also answer subsequent calls to her line.