The three officials of the Osun State Government abducted by gunmen in Kogi State last Friday have been released.
It was gathered that the three civil servants released on Sunday evening were still with security operatives in Kogi State and they might not return to Osogbo, the Osun State capital until Monday.
The three officials are: the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance, Mrs, Adebimpe Ogunlumade; Director, State Audit, Mr. Tajudeen Badejoko, and their driver, Mr. Oladapo Arogundade.
The trio were abducted around 1:30pm on Friday while returning to Osun State after an official assignment in Abuja.
The Head of Service in Osun State, Mr. Sunday Owoeye, confirmed the release of the three civil servant through a text message.
The HOS text read, ”Yes, the were released unharmed this evening and a public announce,ent is being made on it. They are yet to be in Osogbo.”
A source said that Owoeye had spoken to the permanent secretary; the director and the driver, who spent two days in the den of the hoodlums.
The media aide to Osun State Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, also confirmed the release of the three officials in an interview.
He said, ”It is true that the three of them have regain their freedom. That is all the information I have for now. They are still in Kogi State with security operatives.
“The head of service spoke with three of them after they regained their freedom.”
It was not clear if ransom was paid for the release of the officials but there were unconfirmed rumour that the kidnappers demanded N50 million ransom.
Earlier on Sunday, the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori was reported to have presented the names of the three abducted officials to the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries South West 10 Region, Kola-Balogun where she worshiped for prayers for their release.
The visiting Regional Overseer from Lagos, Pastor Isaac Omotosho, was said to have led the congregation to pray for immediate release of the victims.
The Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party had earlier in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Diran Odeyemi, urged security to ensure the safe release of the victims.
The statement read, “We urge security agencies to ensure these people are safely released. They are the ones keeping records of Osun finances. We don’t want more damage to be done to the state’s treasury by some people, who may want to hide under the cover that those in the know are no longer available and wreck more havoc.
“It is very sad that despite the self-inflicted economic challenges that has crippled governance in Osun, the state has again found itself in this kind of situation where it has to pay ransom to effect the release of the kidnapped officials.
“It is our hope that some people in government will not see this unfortunate situation as another opportunity to enrich themselves since whatever ransom paid to effect the release of the officials will not be backed up with a receipt.”