The Kaduna State Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Waje Yayok,is believed to be presently in the hands of kidnappers who are demanding N40 million as ransom from his family before his release could be effected.
But the state government said that it would not consider the incident as a kidnap case yet until after 48 hours.
Yayok’s family, who consider the incident as that of kidnap, told journalists at the SSG’s residence in Barnawa, part of Kaduna metropolis, that “the kidnappers have telephoned us and they demanded N40 million ransom from us before he will be released.”
In fact, among the early scores of sympathisers at the SSG’s house, immediately the story of his kidnap filtered into the town, included the Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Salihu Bako; Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Suleiman Kauru; Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. John Bezat and the Kaduna Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Danladi Bissala.
While sympathisers were trooping to the residence, the family of Yayok were in a grievous state as they endlessly awaited him to arrive back home after he had told them on Monday evening that he was going to distribute the invitation cards of his daughter’s wedding billed for October 10, this year.
One of the family members, who preferred anonymity, said that “our father left home since Monday evening and drove himself out, just to personally distribute wedding cards, but up till now, he has not returned back home.
“But, we received a strange telephone call from some people who said that he was in their custody and demanded a ransom of N40 million before he will be released.”
Another source also told journalists that “he was said to have been seen last at Ken Feli Hotel, Barnawa where he visited and from there his whereabouts has been unknown.”
The state Commissioner for Economic Planning, Bezat, lamenting over the incident, remarked that “it is unfortunate and sad that this type of thing is happening; but I reserve my further comments”.
Also, the police in the state pointed out that they would investigate the incident of the alleged kidnap after getting directives from the state government, whose official pronouncement was being awaited.
When the Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Tambori Yabo, was contacted for his comment, he said that if the story of kidnap of the SSG was correct, “I believe the kidnappers would still be in this town and they cannot escape.”
In a reaction by the state government yesterday, the Special Adviser Media and Public Affairs to the Governor, Malam Umar Sani said that “we have been inundated with inquiries as to the whereabouts of the SSG of Kaduna State Government, Mr. Waje Yayok, over a case of abduction,” pointing out that “these inquiries necessitate that we respond appropriately to these rumours in order to set the records straight.
“While it is true that the SSG was on an official assignment to the Southern part of Kaduna, we are yet to get in contact with him over his supposed location. We believe he will get in contact with us soon.”
But Sani said that “the gravity and intensity of the rumours require us to take steps to ensure that everything is in order,” noting that the security agencies had been detailed to the place to find out the nature of the assignment and all his contact details to enable them to trace his whereabouts and douse the tension created by such rumours.
The government also added that “in line with the internationally accepted standards that a person cannot be declared missing until after 48 hours, and because the rumours started this morning, we shall address journalists properly very soon on the matter.”
Sani further explained that the state government was yet to receive any official complaint from the family members of Yayok regarding the alleged kidnap of the SSG.