A 22-year-old student of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY, Aminat Taiwo, who recently regained her freedom from kidnappers has narrated how she and other kidnapped victims walked from the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, Adjacent Dominion University where they were abducted for over six hours without shoes into the forest where they were camped, with serious beating.
The victim was abducted alongside her friend, Oluwatobi Orekoya, in a commercial bus they were travelling in to Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital to honour another friend who was getting married on October 29, they left Abeokuta on Friday.
The distraught victim whose body was full of mosquito bites and marks of beating, told reporters that every one of them that were kidnapped sat close to decomposing bodies of victims that had been killed in their camp, when their family members didn’t come up on time with the ransom they demanded. She said the kidnappers even, “killed some abducted victims close to us and covered their corpses with plantain leaves, while the area was covered with the odour from decomposing bodies and maggots from the bodies. “They also threatened to kill us if our family members didn’t bring our ransom on time.
I was scared when I saw how people sitting close to me were being killed simply because of money. It was a bad experience living in the forest without food nor water.” She added that on one the days, “I don’t know how the police got to know that we were in the forest.
Immediately the kidnappers saw them, we were asked to lie down, after a while the policemen left when they didn’t see us, but we were seeing them.” According to Aminat, it was a bitter experience, as they were not given water nor food for the three days that they spent in the forest with the kidnappers. She said: “My friend and I left Abeokuta around 3:30pm from Kuto Motor Park to Ibadan to honour the invitation of our friend who was getting married on Sunday, we decided to leave on Friday in order to assist her and rest before the wedding day.
It was some minutes to 4pm when we suddenly saw the kidnappers in Army uniforms and they were shooting sporadically. “What we thought was that they were chasing armed robbers, not until they got to our own bus and ordered everyone of us out of the bus, but some passengers escaped, I had also escaped, but they came to pick me up where I was hiding and marched me into the forest with others. We walked for over six hours without shoes and we were beaten severally.
“It was the stray bullets from the sporadic shooting that hit the former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Adigun Agbaje, the man is old, it was my friend and I who assisted him when he couldn’t walk fast. The old man was also complaining about his drugs, at the same time praying God should save him because of the gunshot injury he sustained.
“It is a lie when people say the kidnappers mounted roadblock to abduct us. It is a pure lie, there was nothing of such. We just saw them on the road shooting sporadically, we believed that they were chasing armed robbers, not until we were kidnapped that we knew who they were. They all dressed in Army uniform. “After staying a while in the forest, I was given my phone to call my parents, I was still talking to them when the Phone was collected from me and they told my parents to get N10 million each for me and my friend for our release.
“Twenty-four hours later, the kidnappers agreed to reduce the ransom from N20 million to N4 million. But my parents were able to raise N2 million, while my friend’s family also raised N1.5 million and the total money we gave them was N3.5 million, before we were released to my father who brought the ransom to them in the forest. “I believe it was prayer that made them collect such an amount of money, while I was still in the forest some families paid N5 million to N8 million for the release of their family members in the kidnappers’ captivity.”
How the ransom was paid
The victim’s father, Chief Kayode Taiwo said he was at home the fateful night when the unfortunate information reached him through his younger daughter, saying Aminat had been kidnapped. “Immediately, I asked her mother to call her phone number, the phone was ringing but no response, the following day, I went to Mowe Police Station and Area Command at Obafemi Owode to lodge a complaint and they promised to track her phone number. Unfortunately, the tracker tracked the kidnappers to Owode, whereas they were in a forest on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway.
“On Friday night, my daughter called back saying that the kidnappers are threatening to kill her and her friend if we don’t bring the ransom on time. On Saturday morning she called again that the kidnappers said if we have N4 million that I should bring it to Ibadan and I told her what we have was just N2 million, as at that period I didn’t have any money, it was after then that I went to town to beg for money.
“Luckily, I was able to raise the N2 million and the family of my daughter’s friend also raised N1.5 million and I took the N3.5 million to them at Ibadan, with my younger brother, where I was told to bring the money. When I got to Ibadan I spent two hours, I was ordered back to Onigari area, after spending another two hours, I was also asked to come down to Dominion University area, it was there they finally came out to me and they were fully kitted in Army uniform and fully armed to the teeth.
“The kidnappers didn’t cover their faces, immediately after collecting the money from me and asking me how much the ransom I brought was, I told them it was N3.5 million for my daughter and her friend. The person who collected the money then ordered one of them to go back into the forest and bring my daughter and her friend, that was how we paid for their released. “When we were about to leave, the kidnappers’ leader asked my daughter about her phone and she then told him she couldn’t find it, the kidnapper’s leader said we should go home and thank Allah that she was not killed.
Immediately I saw my daughter and her friend I was crying, because mosquito had bitten all her body and she was dirty and her foot was injured, because of the distance they walked in the forest.” He added that, before he left the area some other family members of kidnap victims also brought ransom to secure the release of their loved ones.
“The leader of the kidnappers gave me his phone to direct a man who was bringing ransom to secure the release of his family member that was also abducted, I was the one directing the man whom the kidnapper said was bringing N8 million ransom. He also told me nobody can track his phone number, he said they only operate in that area once in a week. The victim’s father used the opportunity to plead with the government, “the government should fortify our security and deploy soldiers and police to the Lagos Ibadan Expressway to protect innocent travellers.”
The kidnappers tried to abduct another couple Sunday Taiwo, the victim father’s immediate younger brother, said it was celebration galore when they brought Aminat back home from the kidnappers den, as sympathisers had gathered in their house waiting for her arrival. After raising the money, it became another issue of who will take the money to the kidnappers, because the victim’s father was afraid, I followed him to deliver the ransom to them. It was family members and some good Samaritans who gave us the money.
He said: “When we eventually got to the front of Dominion University where we were asked to wait, it was one towing vehicle operator who first came, followed by two motorcyclists who are working with them. “After we had waited for a while, the kidnappers dressed in Army uniform just walked out of the forest to collect the money from us. We were even afraid that we might be kidnap as well. We were already there by 2pm and we left by 6pm.
“They also tried to kidnap a couple who were fixing their car that had problem, the couple were almost knocked down by a speeding vehicle when they were trying to escape from the kidnappers.” Also speaking, Habibat Taiwo, the victim’s younger sister, said before her elder sister left her hostel at Abeokuta for the journey she sent her a message. She told me it was she and her friend that were embarking on the journey and “I wished them well. I was surprised when she called me few hours later that she and her friend had been abducted along the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway.
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