Ondo police deny reported killing of ex-captain of Scrabble team, Sodje, by Fulani herdsmen

The Ondo State Police Command has denied the report of the alleged kidnap and killing of the former captain of Nigeria Scrabble national team, Paul Sodje, whose corpse was found in a forest between Ifon and Ido Ani in Ose Local Government area of the state with one other person. 

The command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Tee-Leo Ikoro, who stated this while speaking with Tribune Online refuted the killing, saying the incident was not reported to the command. 

He said, “I have called the DPO in Ido Ani and Owo, but the incident was not reported in any of our stations. We can only act on incident reported to us.”

All attempts to confirm the development from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) were not successful as the spokesperson of the hospital could not be reached as at the time of writing this report. 

But the chairman of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, Publicity Committee, Akintunde Akinsemola, who confirmed Paul Sodje’s death, said his corpse was discovered in a forest between Ifon and Ido Ani by some local vigilante who were on the trail of their abducted relatives. 

According to him, Paul Sodje’s body was found inside the bush with one other person who had taken the ransom requested by the Fulani herdsmen who kidnapped Sodje’s brother, Christopher, to them to secure his freedom. 

He said the two friends left home on September 1, 2020 but never returned while there was no information about the abducted brother of the former captain of Nigeria Scrabble national team, Paul Sodje. 

Sodje was said to have taken ransom money to the kidnappers, who had abducted his brother, Chris, four days earlier before his body was found in the bush. 

Akinsemola explained “Chris was going for his uncle’s funeral in Okwagbe, Delta State on August 28, when he was kidnapped at Ifon, Ondo State. 

“The Fulani men demanded N100 million but later reduced it to N1 million. His wife, Flora and friends rallied round to raise the ransom.

“Then his elder brother, Paul Sodje, and a friend took the ransom to them, yet the Fulani men murdered the two of them. 

“Chris has not been found and the kidnappers have stopped communicating with the family while his phone had been switched off.”

According to him,  “Idoani elders led by Otunba Oladele Olapeju, who were searching for their kinsmen that were also kidnapped, saw Paul Sodje’s body and that of the man that accompanied him to the herders’ rendezvous.

“They took the bodies to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, and their bodies are still in the morgue at the FMC as we speak.”

He said the late Paul Sodje, would have turned 55 on Wednesday. 

“He was to celebrate his 55th birthday yesterday, which would have been a great landmark for him, but his life was cut short by the Fulani herdsmen.”

Paul Sodje captained Nigeria to the African Scrabble Championship in Zambia, 2012.



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