Ondo State late on Thursday recorded its first case of abduction of foreigners within its territory when two expatriates working on the Senate Building Project of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, were kidnapped by gunmen near the site.
This is as an Osun State High Court yesterday sentenced two friends, Fawole Abimbola and Peter Tominiyi to 10 years imprisonment for abducting an Osogbo-based business man, Alhaji Rauf Olaiya and one Mrs Victoria Babatunde.
The abduction of the expatriates was disclosed in a statement by the university’s Principal Assistant Registrar in charge of Protocol, Information and Public Relations, Mr Sola Imoru.
The countries of the abducted expatriates were known as at the time of filling the report.
It was gathered that the men were seized by gunmen who rode in a Mercedez Benz Car.
The gunmen were said to have accosted and hijakked the expatriates’ white colour Nissan Xterra Jeep with Registration No. KTU 705 AL, Engine No. 316 CW08RC3 and Chasis No. 5NLAN08W45C621824, shot the driver in the leg and whisked away the expatriates to an unknown destination.
In a desperate attempt to escape from the scene of the incident, the abductors shot sporadically in the air and their bullets allegedly hit a few individuals who sustained injuries.
Imoru however, said there was no indication that any member of the university community – staff or student- was affected by the shooting.
He said the incident had since been reported to the Police.
While assuring all members of the university community of their safety, he enjoined them to be more conscious of personal security.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the Ondo State Command, Mr Wole Ogodo confirmed that the incident had been reported.
Ogodo said the command had commenced operation to ensure that the foreign nationals were rescued and the perpetrators apprehended.
He said the command had burst many cases of abductions, adding that the latest one would not be an exception.
The friends convicted in Osun State had since 2011 been standing trial over the case, following their arrest and subsequent detention by the Police for abduction.
The convicts were tried for kidnapping, conspiracy, attempted murder, armed robbery and threat to life.
According to prosecutors, the convicts had upon the abduction of Olaiya and Mrs Babatunde received various ransoms.
Ruling on the case yesterday, Justice Oyejide Falola sentenced the two accused persons to 10 years imprisonment.
Justice Falola who decried the high level of societal decadence in the country lamented that the convicts would spend their golden age in prison, stressing that the convicts should be removed from the society in order not to commit further crime.
He also accused the Police of failing to charge the convicts with armed robbery, as according to him, it was the court that included armed robbery in the charges when the case was brought to court.
Counsel to the convicts, Edmond Biriomoni had earlier prayed the court to temper justice with mercy but admitted after the judgment that the conviction of his clients would serve as correctional measure and not condemnation.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the state Ministry of Justice, Dapo Adeniji commended the Presiding Judge for the judgment.