ABUJA—The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, said yesterday that the police authorities were not privy to the fact that the family of former Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, who was freed by his kidnappers at Owo, Ondo State last week, paid ransom, saying such payment amounted to encouraging crime.
The IGP also advised families who might find themselves in such situation in the future to desist from paying ransom since it was not a guarantee that the victim would come out alive.
In a statement issued directly by his office, titled ‘RE-RANSOM PAYMENT BY FAMILY OF CHIEF OLU FALAE’ IGP Arase said: “The office of the Inspector General of Police has been inundated with enquiries on claims by Chief Olu Falae and his family that a ransom was paid to his abductors following the kidnapping incident involving him on September 21 and 24, 2015.
”As a law enforcement agency guided by the rule of law and professional ethics, we do not under any circumstances encourage the payment of ransom to kidnappers or other criminals as it is tantamount to rewarding crime and motivating other criminals to follow that part.
”As such, the police was not in any way privy to any arrangement that would have led to payment of ransom by the elder statesman or his family. For the respected Chief to declare that he paid a ransom is therefore demotivating news.
”Our approach was a professional response to what we saw as a crime against a respected national personality known to embrace peace and who has dedicated his valuable life to selfless service of our nation.
”The Police under the leadership of the Inspector General of Police deployed our unique intelligence and operational capabilities, including Police helicopters on aerial surveillance.
”Our intelligence and operational teams comprising Intelligence response teams (Special Anti-Kidnapping Unit), Conventional and Mobile Policemen were deployed for rescue operation.
”They followed the path from the point of kidnap at his farm at Ilodo, along Igbatoro road in Akure, and trailed the hoodlums through bushes to Owo in Ondo State. In the process, we were able to identify the major actors and currently, high level Police activities are being emplaced to apprehend and bring them to justice.
”As professionals, it is our conviction that the unprecedented massive deployment of Police resources and men to support search and rescue operation put pressure on the criminals to release the elder statesman.
”This is much so, that history has shown that even when ransom is proven to have been paid, the life or safe return of a kidnap victim may not be guaranteed. The primary interest of the Police in this instance and granted the circumstance of this incident was the safe rescue of Chief Olu Falae which was achieved.
”Whatever the family did as regards the payment of ransom was outside the knowledge and consent of the Police and at this point, we wish to advise that in future that families who fall victims of such acts should rather work closely with the police component of the rescue initiatives so that we can achieve the primary purpose of rescuing the victim alive instead of wittingly or unwittingly giving the impression of encouraging criminal activity by rewarding criminals with payment of ransom.”
”In this instance, having confirmed that ransom was paid to the abductors, the police will be interested in widening their investigative scope with a view to exploring the lead further with a view to knowing how the ransom was paid and to whom such payment was made.
”If the payment was perfected through bank transactions, the police has the capacity to track such transactions and will be liaising with the bank to enable us trace the cash and apprehend the perpetrators. This could be an added lead that could strengthen on-going post kidnapping efforts of the police.
”The Inspector General of Police wishes to reassure Nigerians to strengthening and enhancing the safety and security of its citizens while counting on Nigerians to continue to support and work in strong synergy with the police towards the achievement of our statutory mandate.”