Kidnappers demand Elumelu’s release as condition to free abducted PHCN Director

kidnappers yesterday demanded the release of the Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as a condition for freedom for the Executive Director (Operations) of the PHCN, Mr. John Ayodele, in their custody.

Elumelu and nine others are currently standing trial for alleged N5.2billion fraud in the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

Although the 10 suspects were arraigned before an FCT court on Thursday, the presiding judge, Justice Abimbola Banjoko, will hear their application for bail tomorrow.

But a few hours after the court rose on Thursday, the Executive Director of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria , Mr. John Ayodele was kidnapped from his home in Abuja .

It was learnt that the kidnappers said they won’t release Ayodele until Elumelu regains freedom.
Investigations revealed that Ayodele was kidnapped based on allegation that he provided all the information that led to the uncovering of the N5.2billion fraud.

A source said: “The kidnappers are pointing accusing fingers at Ayodele for serving as an informant to the EFCC.
“Initially, they demanded a N30million ransom but now they are calling for an unconditional release of Elumelu.
“We learnt that the kidnappers had reached out to Ayodele’s wife on their latest demand.”Findings revealed that the EFCC is not prepared to negotiate with the kidnappers.
It was gathered that the commission has beefed up security in its cells where the 10 suspects are being detained.
The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said the demand was unfortunate.
He added: “The Chairman of the EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, and her team will not be deterred in their determination to fight financial crimes in the country. We cannot be deterred by this latest threat.
“It is unfortunate that at a time all hands are on deck to fight corruption in Nigeria , some people will be engaging in acts that could draw us back.”