•Late Raymond Erukaa
The kidnapped octogenarian and pioneer Ukum Local Government Area chairman in 1981 Raymond Erukaa has died in captivity after he was kidnapped from his home at Tse-Erukaa, in Zaki Biam, on the 23rd of September 2023.
Confirming the sad passing of the 81-year-old elder statesman, the eldest surviving son of the deceased Charles Erukaa, a former news anchor with Channels Television said the family got wind of his passing on October 27, 2023.
Narrating the harrowing experience of his late father’s ordeal in the hands of the kidnappers and the subsequent hostage-taking of his cousin Ben Jones Iorbee Erukaa who delivered the first one million naira ransom by the kidnappers, Charles lamented how his father was held till his death by the kidnappers after thirty-four days for someone his age.
He noted that the kidnappers first demanded N12m in their first contact with the family and later reduced it to N10m. But soon came down to N5m and when his cousin Iorbee Erukaa went with the first one million naira ransom, he was held hostage along with his father, the late Raymond Washima Erukaa until an additional one million naira was paid bringing the total sum to two million naira, with a promise to release both men, only for his cousin Iorbee to be released alone.
“It wasn’t until the night of Saturday, October 27th, 2023 that we received words that my father had died in captivity,” he said.
“In total, the family paid a ransom of Two million Naira for the release of my father from captivity, it also note worthy that my father was abducted exactly twenty-four hours before the abduction of the Benue State Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mister Matthew Abo, who was also kidnapped in Ukum Local Government Area of the state.”
At the time of filing this report, Charles Erukaa said the family is still investigating the general area with a view to recovering his body four days after news of his death was received, hoping to give their late father a befitting burial.
Meanwhile, the police in Benue State are yet to issue any statement confirming the death.
The Benue State Government which issued a statement when Erukaa was kidnapped thirty-seven days ago has also not commented on the matter.