Gunmen hijack commercial bus, abduct RCCG pastor and other passengers in Oyo

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Olugbenga Olawore and other passengers of a 14-seater commercial bus heading to Lagos State from Ipapo town in Oyo State.

Olawore, whose mother died in February, currently pastors RCCG, Heavens Gate Parish, Lagos Province 73, along Agbara-Lusada Road, Ogun State.

It was gathered that the incident occurred at the Maya axis of Lanlate-Eruwa Road at about 5 pm on Thursday when the pastor was returning from Ipapo town, where he went to put the final touches on the burial arrangements for his mother. 

The burial of his mother, Deaconess Deborah Olawore, was said to have been scheduled to commence with a Christian Wake next week on Friday, April 26, while the burial was slated for Friday, May 3

A family source told the Nigerian Tribune that after holding the pastor and others hostage, the kidnappers called his wife at about 8 pm and allowed him to talk to her.

The pastor was said to have told his wife that he was kidnapped with others and that the abductors were demanding N10 million as ransom.

The source said one of the kidnappers who called the wife broke out in his language, making it known that he and his gang members were of Fulani extraction.

He was said to have called again the following day at about 9 a.m., and the pastor started appealing to his wife to look for money, even if it was N1 million, and not allow the abductors to kill him as they had done to some of those held hostage.

“When the wife asked where to drop the money if it was eventually gathered from friends and relatives, the abductors beside her husband started speaking in a language she did not understand,” the source said. 

“Abruptly, he cut off the call, and attempts by the wife to call back failed as the line had been switched off.

“She kept on trying the line, but it remained switched off. At about noon, she contacted a family member to go to the police station to report. That was on Friday.” 

The source said further that when the pastor’s relatives got to the police station, he met family members of other kidnapping victims. 

He learned that the police recovered the abandoned commercial bus and some phones belonging to some victims.

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The wife of the pastor reportedly waited in vain for the call from the kidnappers until Saturday morning, when she learned that one of the kidnapping victims who was able to escape had his phone and called the police.

Hunters came into the bush and dislodged the kidnappers, making them and their victims flee in different directions.

“Till now, she has not been able to communicate with her husband, as the kidnappers did not call,” the source added.

The spokesperson of the Oyo State Police Command, SP Adewale Osifeso, confirmed the kidnapping case on Saturday but said that some of them had been rescued.

The PPRO disclosed that police operatives, in collaboration with other security agencies and local hunters, were in the forest and surrounding areas of the incident to rescue the remaining victims and arrest the suspects.

“Some of the rescued victims are assisting with useful leads that can help the investigation. All routes around the area, including the adjoining forest areas, are being combed. Investigation is ongoing. Updates would be provided accordingly,” he added.