A businessman, Segun Olaoye, on Friday told an Ikeja High Court in Lagos State of his ordeal with alleged kidnappers of his son, Ayodele, on April 22, 2012 in Lagos.
Olaoye, testifying before Justice Olabisi Akinlade at the trial of seven persons for the crime, said that he paid $31,260 (N5 million) as ransom for the release of his son.
The accused are: Esther Phillips, 23; Patricia Nna, 26; Kingsley Okonwa, 24; Osita Adigwe, 35; Uzochukwu Ezioha, 25; Jude Sunday, 36; and Michael Olarenwaju, 31.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the accused were arraigned on March 5.
They are facing a five-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery and kidnapping.
Olaoye, who was led in evidence by Olabisi Ogungbesan, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said he was in London when he was informed of the incident.
He said: “My daughter called and told me that Ayodele had been kidnapped and that my wife had spoken to the kidnappers.
“I told my daughter to remain calm and instructed her to give my phone number to the kidnappers when they call again.
“The kidnappers later called me and demanded for $400,000 (about N64 million), to be paid within 48 hours.”
He told the court that the kidnappers allowed him to speak with his son, who was very frightened as a result of the ordeal.
The witness said he returned to Nigeria on April 24, 2012 and the kidnappers contacted him to pay the ransom very quickly.
He added that after sourcing for funds, he was able to realise N3 million and he informed the kidnappers.
Olaoye said: “One of the kidnappers told me that it was obvious that I don’t like my son.
“He warned that they were not joking and that if I wanted to see my son alive, I should pay the ransom within 24 hours.”
According to him, he reported the incident to the Police Intelligence Unit at Maloney, Lagos.
The witness said he eventually got N5 million, which he persuaded the kidnappers to accept and release his son.
He said they ordered him to convert the money to dollars and directed him to a small island in Trade Fair area of Lagos.
Olaoye said that he dropped the money in an uncompleted building in the area and returned home to wait for the release of his son.
The witness said he received a call later that his son had been freed.
He added that after reuniting with his son, the family went to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, a few days later to report the incident.
He added: “Ten days after making the report, I got a call from the police confirming that all the kidnappers had been arrested.
“My son and I went to SARS and saw the kidnappers.
“My son recognised five of them, but the police told us that the other two persons were also members of the gang.”
The witness said he recognised the third accused (Okonwa) through his voice, as the person who had called on many occasions for the ransom.
He said the all the accused persons begged him to forgive them, blaming the devil for their act.
NAN reports that the matter has been adjourned till July 19 for continuation.