From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, who was kidnapped in August has admitted paying ransom for his release.
Ozekhome made the disclosure during a thanksgiving service at St. Mary Catholic Church, Ivikwe in Edo state.
He said several of his friends, including former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governorship aspirant in Edo state, Ken Imansuagbon, donated unsparingly to make up the ransom sum.
The lawyer told the congregation that his son and a trusted lawyer in his chambers, delivered the money to his kidnappers at a specified place.
“I then asked my wife to send my son, Ilugbekhai, and one of my most trusted lawyers who is also like my son, to bring the money,” he said.
Recalling his experience at the point of abduction, Ozekhome said: “They showed me a pistol and a bullet. They asked if I knew what it could do. They told me that they will send me to my early grave if my family members failed to raise the huge amount they demanded for my ransom. At that point, I urinated in my knicker.”
The activist lawyer also disclosed that his son and the lawyer, who delivered the ransom, were also abducted and a ransom had to be paid for their release.
He said: “I will now continue to serve God, because if God is with you, no body will be against you. Henceforth, my household will continue to serve God, and will continue helping the needy, especially the widows and helpless in the society.”
Chaotic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Gabriel Dunia, who officiated at the thanksgiving service, urged the congregation to be thankful to God in everything.
Among dignitaries present at the service were Ken Imasuagbon, the Onogie of Ebele, Aikpaogie I; Andrew Yusuf Dirisu, the Okudepilagbe of Okpella among others.
Ozekhome’s kidnappers had insisted on collecting N100 million before his release and rejected the money offered to them by the family, claiming that he had the capability to pay the named ransom.
Four officers of the Edo Police Command were killed in a gun duel with the kidnappers in a failed attempt to rescue the legal luminary.