kidnap picture

Exclusive: I used to regard Shola Eleja like an elder brother until he connived with some criminals to kidnap and extort me of N1M – Victim cries out

Ore is not a too big town in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State in the Southwestern part of Nigeria with about Three Hundred Thousand (300,000) inhabitants comprising various ethnic groups. The Yoruba community is one of the state’s industrial enclaves with concentration of about seven companies.

This town is relatively known for peace and tranquility until criminal syndicates began to explore the age-long calmness and peace enjoyed by the Yoruba town to enthrone terrors and other antisocial tendencies such as kidnapping, high-graded robbery among other crimes to torment inhabitants the town.

A ringleader of a criminal syndicate, John Ajiboye fondly referred to as Shola Eleja, who managed Peace Rain Cold Room in Ore has been fingered in a series of kidnap cases in the state. A kidnap victim, Olanrewaju narrated his encounter with Shola Eleja who according him, instigated his boys to place his name on kidnap list in order to extort him of his hard-earned money in 2021.

Sola alongside some of his gang members was arrested sometime in 2021 in a kidnap case in Ore.

He chronicled his ugly experience, “My name is Olanrewaju, I am a resident of Ore, Ondo State. Of all the suspected kidnappers in question, I had a cordial relationship with Shola. He had related with me like an elder brother. We met when I bought my vehicle from him in 2018. I never knew him prior to that time.

“I have always held him in high esteem in the past because I had always seen him like an elder brother.

“What I can say is sometime in March 2020, During the COVID-19 pandemic, I received a call from Shola, asking me to visit him but the lockdown as well as my tight schedule didn’t avail me the opportunity to visit him. I later met him at his residence on a later date.

“During our discussion, he said I was on the list of awaiting kidnap victims alongside some other notable persons in Ore town. He claimed to have been surprised by the fact that my name was on the list because he had known me as an easy-going and a straightforward person and that was the reason he had chosen to inform me. He queried if I had a clash with someone in the past. I asked how he had a knowledge about the list and also sought advice on how I could escape the abduction.

“But in his words, he explained that the syndicate decided to show him the list after spending some time with them coupled with the fact that he paid for the food and drinks the criminal gang consumed at a political gathering in Ore. He further told me that he had pushed that my name be omitted from the list and that was the end of our discussion. I tried to establish the relationship between criminal group and Shola, but the depth of our friendship had distorted my perspective that I couldn’t see him as an evil doer.

“In November 2020, a news broke that Gebu (one of the names on the kidnappers’ list) had been abducted, I was shocked and began to recall how Shola narrated the intention of the criminals to kidnap a sizeable number of people. This development spurred me to be safety conscious until 16th or 17th of January, 2021, when I received a call from an unknown person who hinted me about his gang’s plan to kidnap me and let me know he was acting on his boss’s order. After a long argument that ensued between us, he informed me that his gang had previously kidnapped notable personalities in Ore town. The unknown caller then asked me to pay ₦5m, assuring me that the payment would expunge my name from the list. After the conversation with the unknown caller, I called Shola to personally to investigate his relationship with this callous gang that had hinted me about my kidnap. I later met him and informed about the call I received, he requested to see the unknown number and I showed him. He then told me to head back home for security reasons. On the following day, he told me that he didn’t know anything about the gang that was after me, saying that syndicate was a different one from the one he had interacted with in 2020.

“Again, the next morning, around 10am or 11am on my way from a programme, I received a call from the uknown caller at the Ore overhead bridge and I was asked if I had prepared the sum amount of money as demanded? Immediately I headed for Shola Eleja’s residence because he had previously asked me to put him on whenever the unknown number called. Along the line, they both had a long discussion. In the long run, I was asked to pay the sum of ₦1m. Out of extreme panic and shock I gathered the money. Shola Eleja drove me to the location as directed by the kidnappers. I remained in the vehicle while Shola took the money to the kidnappers. Upon his return, he told me he had dropped the money at the said location in the bush and we headed back home. On the next day, Shola Eleja asked me to pay ₦70,000 to his friend whose influence he had used to dialogue with the criminal gang. He received ₦30,000 from me after telling him that was what I could raise at that period.

“Shola Eleja then warned me not reveal anything pertaining to the incident to the Police because he was only helping me and he he didn’t want police trouble. I believed his words as I also thought he was just doing me a favour.

“I decided to move on and committed the whole thing in the hands of God. In March, 2021, I received a call from the police command inviting for an interrogation. Although, Shola has previously informed me that the police might reach out to me any moment from that time, but I should not implicate him in my statement. After the call from the police, I reached out to Shola Eleja, informing him about my conversation with the police. He, therefore, advised that I visit them but I should be careful about the information I give out. Throughout my time at the police station, Shola Eleja was continually trying to speak with me on the phone but I couldn’t pick his calls.

“The following day we met, I told him I only apprised the police about an attempted kidnap which luckily I escaped. But on the contrary, I gave a detailed information about what happened Shola Eleja and the roles he played in trying to rescue me from the troubles of the kidnap syndicate. At this point in time, I still saw him as an innocent person though.

“In March, While I was on a trip to Ogbomosho, Oyo State When I got a call from my friends who reside in Ore that Shola had been arrested by the police as his private car was said to have been used to perpetrate a kidnap in Ore.

“After my trip to Ogbomosho, The Police Area Command reached out to me to interview me on what I know about the Shola. At first, I was reluctant to give information about my relationship with him but in the long run, I understood that Shola himself has issued a statement indicting him. Thus, at this juncture, I told the Officer in Charge about what had transpired between us.

“Again, Shola was arrested for the second time and I was again invited by the command two weeks after the first invitation. A group of young suspects were brought to me as the officer in charge of the case tried to know if I had ever met any of suspects before but they didn’t seem familiar to me. Consistent prompts by the police made one of the suspects explained that he was one of the guys who cunningly collected the N1m from me.

“The suspect, in his confessional statement, said Shola was the one who instigated them to threaten with me with kidnap in order to extort the sum of N1m from me.

“Shortly afterwards, Shola too was brought before me and he never denied his role in the criminal act as he was begging me for forgiveness, saying it was the handwork of devil,” Olarenwaju recounted.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *