Founder of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has called for the immediate release of his birthday mate, Chief Olu Falae, who was abducted from his farm, Monday in Akure, Ondo State.
A visibly agitated Fasehun, who turned Octogenarian yesterday, same day as Falae, said in Lagos, Tuesday, that he had ordered OPC operatives to immediately launch a manhunt, combing all areas of Ondo State and its environs, for the kidnapped for Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Fasehun who described the abduction of Falae as ‘an assault and insult on the Yoruba people’ challenged security operatives and agencies to ‘produce Falae within 48 hours.’
The OPC Founder immediately summoned all members in the country to attend an emergency meeting on Sunday.
“OPC is not interested in crisis but it was founded primarily for the protection of its own and for building bridges in Nigeria,” he said. “All lovers of Nigerian unity like OPC, communal peace and national progress must rise up to this challenge.
Warning of possible consequences, Fasehun pointed out that eyewitness account indicate that Falae had been taken by strangers, just like the wife of the Sun Newspapers Executive Director, Mrs. Toyin Nwosu, abducted last week in Lagos.
“At my turning 80, the entire world would expect me to be a bridge builder. And I have prepared myself to be just that. But if any missile is thrown at you, and it is likely to affect your eyeball, you must avoid it at all costs. This is my view of the insult now being unleashed, being flung at Nigeria by the enemies of Nigeria’s unity,” said Fasehun.
The kidnappers have reportedly demanded a ransom of N100 million.
Recalling that Falae had rendered “impeccable” service to the country as a Permanent Secretary, then Minister of Finance and Secretary to the Federal Government, Fasehun described the victim’s current ordeal as uncharitable.
“When we heard that Falae was kidnapped we thought it was impossible, as kidnappers would not be mad enough to kidnap a man of peace, a man who has selflessly served Nigeria,” he said. “Falae is by any standard a leader of the Yoruba people, a leader of Nigeria and a significant leader in Africa. He is a leader of Afenifere. He was a leader of NADECO. And any assault on him is an assault on Nigeria and Nigerians.”
He also frowned at the fact that 24 hours following the kidnap, the Federal Government was yet to officially react to the incident.
“Over 24 hours after this disruption of the life of a dignitary, government has not issued any statement; rather what we hear is a loud silence from the Federal Government. It is a shame; it is a big shame,” Fasehun said.
Recalling that Falae, as the Olu of Oba-Ile, was the ruling monarch of his homestead, he urged all traditional rulers in Nigeria to also rise up for his release.
According to the OPC President, the organisation felt concerned at Falae’s kidnap, which he described as an affront.
Fasehun feared that the kidnapping of the top-flight politician portended ill for his fellows.
“We believe this is a political issue. And any politician in Nigeria must make sure that Chief Olu Falae is released immediately,” he said. “Otherwise OPC will take any step available to defend its own.”