Members of the family lamented that their son had only retired home to contribute to the economic development of his community and help reduce unemployment as a responsible citizen by investing millions of Naira in the state but was preyed upon by the wicked.
Akinmeji, 62, a native of Irele Local Council of Ondo State, who retired from NNPC and got all his retirement benefits in December 2020, as a director and top management staff, was abducted alongside two of his workers.
A bricklayer, Mr. Azeez Sikiru and a tiler, identified as Ibrahim were kidnapped alongside their boss by unknown gunmen, at his farm located in Iju-Itaogbolu, Akure North Local Council, on Saturday, January 30, 2021.
Speaking to newsmen in Akure, yesterday, spokesperson for the family and representative of the Akinmeji family, Mr. Samson Akinmeji, lamented that the entire family has been thrown into despair for the past 657 days.
Akinmeji, who is a brother to the former NNPC staff, recounted that the immediate family and wife of the victim stated that they were kidnapped on January 30, while sources in Iju reported that it was on January 15, 2021.
“The circumstances surrounding their sudden disappearance for the past 21 months show that it was an abduction orchestrated by persons that are very close to him.
“Mr. Akinmeji just retired from NNPC in December 2020 and the kidnappers must have been aware that he just got his pension and gratuities, which will definitely be a huge amount of money,” he said.
Speaking on the complicity of the kidnap as reported by the wife, Mrs. Comfort Akinmeji, he added: “The police sprang into action and organised a search party alongside Amotekun Security Outfit, local hunters and OPC members to no avail.
“In one of the searches, after the kidnappers had contacted the family members for N100m ransom, an OPC member, who was later discovered to be a former staff of the farm owner, was overzealous and did not wait for the search groups: went alone to the bush and was killed by the kidnappers.
“After awhile, the search groups returned to the rendezvous, where they had departed, but the deceased OPC member was missing.
“They went back to the bush to look for him, but found him murdered in cold blood under suspicious circumstances: his face was covered, his hands and legs were tied, and was shot at very close range.
Meanwhile independent investigation, however, revealed that the farm owner, Mr. Akinmeji and his two staff, were not kidnapped on Saturday January 30, 2021 as claimed by the wife but Friday, January 15, 2021.
Sources in Iju, the town where the farm is located, reported that the incident became public on February 2, 2021 after the OPC man was killed by the suspected kidnappers.
According to them, the wife and immediate family of the victim also resumed operations at the Iju farm few weeks after her husband and their father was still declared missing.
Also, the Monarch of Iju Town, on several occasions stated that the farm owner had been released to his wife, Comfort, whom the family alleged is undermining every move to unravel the mystery behind her husband’s disappearance.
The brother of the ex-NNPC staff, Samson, confirmed that the wife did not inform any member of the family that his husband was kidnapped until the OPC member was killed and the news went viral across the state.