The Senator who represented Ekiti North between 2007 and 2011, Ayo Arise, on Sunday held a thanksgiving mass at the SS Peter and Paul Catholic Pro-Cathedral Church in his native Oye-Ekiti community to thank God for his release from the kidnappers’ den.
Senator Arise, who was kidnapped on December 4, 2017, on his way to Abuja after a function in Ikere-Ekiti, while addressing the congregation during the mass, announced that the kidnappers collected N20 million ransom before he was released, after six days in their camp.
He said he had to thank God, the people of his community, friends and well-wishers because after his experience “someone was kidnapped and was still killed even after paying N25million twice, as ransom. So, how do you describe that.”
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Recounting his ordeal to newsmen, Senator Arise, who is contesting for the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket to vie for the Ekiti State governorship in July election, said he was there from Sunday, December 3 to Friday, December 8, 2017 and “I can assure you that it’s not an experience that you’ll want to have. There’s nothing more frightening than for you to know that you don’t even know what would happen to you.”
He expressed doubts that kidnappers would take up other businesses, saying he advised his kidnappers to consider other businesses and have a life “after taking this kind of money” but, according to him, “they said it was their bosses in Abuja that actually take the money and that they only get something small.
So I have doubts in my mind that even if jobs are provided for those ones, would that be as lucrative as kidnapping one person or two people and collecting N20million. That’s the fear, it’s like they have tasted blood and it has become very very dangerous.”
The APC chief he was “deeply grateful” to all that made contributions to his survival, saying “between Oye and Ilupeju, they contributed N4million within 24 hours. So that is one of the things that touched me to the marrow. My friends rallied round; the people of the town are showing appreciation for having a son that believes in them.”
He said “prayers worked, money worked and everything worked. It was only God that took control and I’m grateful.”
Speaking on his aspiration to govern Ekiti State, Arise said his friends and political associates are also gunning for the same ticket notwithstanding, he still stood a better chance to win the election for his APC than any other aspirant.