The Orekoya boys with their dad
Emotions ran high on Wednesday at the Police College Hospital, Ikeja, where the Orekoya children were being treated after they were released by their captors.
Their father, Leke, said they were put in bags by the kidnappers, who left them at the Shasha area of Lagos.
The family was later contacted on the telephone by people suspected to be working with Mary Akinloye, demanding a ransom of N15m.
The kidnappers were said to have reduced the ransom to N13m, insisting they would not take less.
On Wednesday, exactly eight days after the abduction, Punch learnt that the three children had been released to the family.
They were said to have been released on Tuesday night, and taken to the Police College Hospital, Ikeja for treatment.
Punch correspondent, who visited the hospital, observed as their father, Leke, cuddled 11-month-old Aderomola.
He sang a lullaby as the child slowly shut his eyes, drifting to sleep.
He had a drip fastened to his wrist.
The other boys ─ Adedamola and Demola ─ whose drips had been disconnected, played around the Female Ward of the police hospital.
While Demola played games on his father’s tablet phone, Adedamola asked for his portion of a chocolate bar being shared by their mother.
Their mother, while trying to keep them in check, asked if they wanted to go back to their “new house”.
The six-year-old, who quickly recoiled, said, “No, it’s a bad place. I don’t want to go back there.”
When Punch correspondent asked for an account of what transpired and how the kids were rescued, their father said the family would address the press formally on Thursday adding, “we want to rest today.”
“However, I give thanks to the Almighty God for saving my kids and bringing us together again.
“This is not by our power. This is a result of the prayers of people for us. We saw the effect of prayers at every point while we were trying to secure the release of the children.
“The children were put in bags. It is not the work of the SSS, the military or police. It was God and I am grateful to him.”
However, at the Orekoya’s residence on Lawani Road, Itire, where relatives and family members eagerly awaited their arrival, PUNCH Metro gathered that money was paid to the kidnappers.
The father of the children’s mother, Senior Apostle Abraham Adekunle, told our correspondent that the kidnappers sent an account number to the family to pay the ransom.
When asked for the amount paid, he said he could not tell.
“For the eight days that the children were taken away, we did not rest. But yesterday (Tuesday), they called us and said we should send the money to them. They sent their account number to us. Immediately they collected the money, they called us and said they had dropped the children at Egbeda.”
Punch correspondent gathered that children were picked up at about 9pm.
It was learnt that the children had mosquito bites on their bodies, which made their visit to the police hospital inevitable.
The children’s aunty, Adesumbo Alabi, said the family was happy that the children were returned hale and hearty.
She said the family was able to pay the ransom through the contributions of members of the public and relatives, who responded to the family’s distress call.
“The incident still appears like a home video to me. When I came here and saw the situation on ground, I couldn’t hold back my tears. Even while we were looking for the kids on Sunday, we did thanksgiving after praying for hours, believing that the children will be back to us.
“We thank God the kidnappers asked for money, because there are cases where kidnappers don’t even ask for money, and the next thing you hear is that their captives are dead. But these ones asked for money, and the children are back.
“Many people supported us with money. The appeal we made through the Facebook, television stations, radios, newspapers, were not in vain. But I don’t think the kidnappers were able to collect all the money they asked for,” she said.
Alabi condemned OLX for not assisting the family to secure the release of the children.
Punch correspondent gathered that the police were on the trail of the kidnappers.
A source said when Akinloye reported at the residence of the Akinloye for work last week Tuesday, the victims’ mother took her to the office.
It was learnt that while their mother showed her to her co-workers as the new nanny she just employed, the Closed Circuit Television cameras got her image.
The source said,
“When Akinloye reported to work, she took her to her office around 8am. She told her co-workers, ‘see my new nanny’, and they were all happy to see her.
“It was the following day, which was Wednesday, that she left the nanny at home with the children. The nanny then said she wanted to buy biscuits for them and she abducted them.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, said the police rescued the children.
“When we got the hideout, we cordoned off the area. The kidnappers got the information that we were closing in on them, and what they did was to quickly abandon the children and flee.
“They are beautiful children and we have returned them to their parents.”
So in the end, we are not sure who is telling the truth, whether a ransom was paid and the kids were dumped in bags at Egbeda, or if no ransom was paid and the police traced the kidnappers to their hideout as they claim. But in all, we thank God no life was lost