By Cj Kingsley
Military Task Force in Nigeria’s northcentral otherwise known as Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) has rescued a kidnapped All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate for the 2019 election in the state Assembly constituency of Nassarawa State, Mr David Ayele, from a forest in Quanpan LGA of Plateau State.
Addressing newsmen on the rescue operation, the OPSH Commander, Major General Augustine Agundu, said the victim was kidnapped by a group of armed men at the entrance of his gate and took him to the forest.
The commander said the troops intercepted him wandering and upon interrogation confirmed he was actually a kidnapped victim, adding that a ransom of N2 million (two million Naira) was paid by the victim before he was released.
“As part of OPSH mandate to rid its area of all criminal activities, troops of the operation 777 patrol at about 8.30 pm on 12 December, 2018 intercepted one Mr. David Ayele, a 56 years old man who was allegedly kidnapped from Lafiya, Nassarawa State. The victim was accosted while wandering about at a location near Aningo within Namu community of pandamforest in Quanpan local government area of Plateau State.
“Ayele revealed that he is the APC candidate for the 2019 election in Obi 2 State Assembly constituency of Nassarawa State, and that the was kidnapped by a group of armed men at the entrance gate of his residence while driving into his compound at about 9pm on Sunday 9 December, 2018. The victim further claimed that his abductors were told him they were hired by his opponents in 2019 election to eliminate him and were paid N3million to do so.
“He further revealed that the kidnappers said they discovered he was a just man based on their interaction with him, and would therefore not harm him. However, they requested him to pay them a ransom of N2million (two million Naira) to secure his release. The victim was then allowed to place a call to a relation who eventually mobilized the ransom money and took it to the pre-arranged location. The kidnappers confirmed taking delivery of the money before they released him after three days in captivity,”Agundu said.
He added that Ayele was thereafter moved to the 332 Artillery Regiment Barracks in Shendam where he was subjected to medical assessment to confirm that he was in good condition before being moved to OPSH Headquaters in Jos.
Recounting his ordeal, the APC candidate said the incident was unfortunate but would not deter him from contesting and continuing his political activities.
He said it was unfortunate that in Nigeria today political opponents see themselves as enemies rather than co-contestants, adding that one of his opponent could have actually orchestrated his elimination/abduction to get him out of the way so that they can easily win the election.