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My 3-Day Travails In Kidnappers’ Den

My 3-Day Travails In Kidnappers’ Den
  • PublishedMarch 12, 2021


By Ismaeel Uthman & Solomon Odeniyi

ONE of the seven travellers kidnapped by gunmen last Tuesday at Egbeda area, Ibokun road in the State of Osun, Mr. Rildwanullahi Adewole, has recounted his ordeal in the hand of his captors.

Adewole, who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER yesterday at Oke-Baale, Osogbo, said he escaped death by sheer providence, stating that he was yet to recover from the shock of the incident.

According to Adewole, he and six other commuters on the Ibokun Road were kidnapped by 11 non-Yoruba gunmen, who were operating at a bad spot of the road with a Volkswagen Golf car at few minutes past 6pm.

He said the gunmen, who were in their early 30s, shot sporadically and forced him to a halt, while the vehicle he was driving was riddled with bullets.

Adewole said: “I, in company of two other persons, was coming from Ijebu-Jesa last week Tuesday (March 02) around five minutes past six in the evening. We had left Ibokun, approaching Egbeda with our bus. There is a bad spot on the road when you are about getting to Egbeda, some under-aged Fulani boys were herding on the other side of the road. Immediately we left the cows which were about 16, we started hearing gunshots and some persons were shouting on top of their voices, “Aye yin  ma baje” (your life is ruined) in Yoruba language with Fulani accent. This was coming from the direction we were facing. I was forced to stop the vehicle.

“I was yet to come to terms with what was really happening at that time. They started shooting sporadically at us. One of the bullets pierced through the vehicle we were in. There was a Golf (Volkswagen) car that was parked to obstruct us on the road. My friend who was in the vehicle with me had found his way out, I wanted to but it was difficult for me being the one driving and I also felt with the way they were shooting, I could get hit by a stray bullet. 

“The kidnappers were closing in on us, I had to push one of my boys out, that paved the way for me to alight and I started running as far as my leg could carry me. I wanted to jump but the place was full of thorns and bamboos. I refrained from doing that because that could lead to a painful death. I had to immediately run under a vehicle parked there. They came and dragged me out. They spoke Yoruba averagely but their accents gave them away. They are ‘bororos’. 

“After they dragged me out, they took us to the bush. I had thought my boy had escaped but he was later brought to join us. We were seven in number. We walked for about 15 minutes and were asked to sit down in the bush. It was already dark. At that point, we heard sounds of gunshots from the security operatives, some of them entered the bush, whistling to us but we dared not respond. The kidnappers had pointed their guns to our ears for us to cooperate. 

“The kidnappers were about 11 and were fully armed; the least gun with them was AK47. There was even a lady among them who had two guns with her; one in her hand and she hung at her back. Those guys were younger to me. They should all be in their late twenties and early thirties. 

“In the dead of the night, we were asked to move and we started walking till dawn without food. We were always on the move at night when the whole place had become silent. When the day broke, we would be asked to look up facing the skies. They blindfolded us and were not allowed to move from that spot. Even when we wanted to urinate, we do that at the same spot and right in front of them. There was no sleep for us in the night for the entire three days we spent there. 

“We were not offered any food. The only time they offered us water was when they told us that if we were thirsty, we could drink from the swampy water. Most of us did.

Security Hint

“When we walked through the bush, we could see vehicles moving because we were not always far from the road. We most times walked on the road in the dead night but anytime they (our captors) sensed that some people or vehicles were approaching or anytime they heard sounds, the kidnappers would redirect us into the bush, warning us not say a word.  There was a time security vehicles were patrolling the road and we were looking at them but we could not make a sound. If the security agents had stopped and entered the bush, they would have spotted and rescued us. That is one issue I have with our security operatives, they knew we were kept in the bush but they were patrolling on the roadside.” This is a hint for the security. There was a day that I had the impression that we were closed to Ikirun on its market day because the rate at which vehicles and motorcycles were moving was much and it showed we were closer to the city that day. We were very close to the expressway.”

Asked if the kidnappers were working alone, Adewole said: “Our people, the Yorubas are working with the kidnappers. I am very sure of this. There was a day one of the kidnappers was calling someone with one of our phones, he requested from the person he was calling to help him buy cartons of milk, Maltina and Brown London cigarettes that he would pay him when he came back.

“The person spoke Yoruba like a native; we could hear him because the phone was on speaker mode.  Also, when they wanted to get ransom from one of us, they connected with somebody that was residing in that area. Besides, our abductors knew the terrains very well and they had charms. They consulted with their deity to ask for which route to take when we were walking.”

Ransom Demand

Speaking on ransom demand, Adewole stated: “It did not look as if they were interested in taking ransom from us in the first day. However, they asked for my father and mother on the second night. I told them they were late. And they requested to speak with my wife. I told them she was ill. They asked who I could call on and I told them I only have a brother who is a mechanic. One of the kidnappers said we were just unfortunate; that their target was a rich Yoruba man who was to get to the area (he was to travel along that stretch of the road) around the time we were abducted. From his conversation, it was a Yoruba person who gave them the information. 

“He said they were to take N50m from him and since they were unable to get him, my people would raise the money or they would be left with the option of killing me. I told them whether they killed me or not, I will die eventually because I was hypertensive and had not taken drugs since they kidnapped me, coupled with the sufferings in their hands. He later reduced the ransom to 10m, but I made him understand that I could only raise N100, 000. He was angry and said he would send N150, 000 to my brother to add it to my own N100, 000 and help him to buy bullets they use. He asked if I knew how much the ammunition they are carrying is worth. I was beaten mercilessly thereafter.

“On Friday (March 5) we were hearing gunshots intermittently and it was as if the security operatives were closing in on us. Our abductors said they knew the Amotekun people were in the bush but they were not scared of them. They said they would first kill all of us before they engaged the Amotekun in gun duel. I became more scared on that day. They were extremely harsh on us. Two extra people joined on that day. 

“There were some students among us whose father is based in Ibadan. They paid the highest amount of ransom. Those students were afraid all through. They piled pressure on their dad and told him what did not happen. One of the students had gunshot wound and he was not treated. I stood on the N100,000 I said I could afford. I explained to them that I was an ordinary driver. I had to plead with my brother to help look for a means to get money. I was getting tired, no food, no sleep at all. Fortunately, I did not eventually pay ransom before I was released but others did. 

“My brother was asked to bring the money and stay at a bridge close to Obokun Local Government Secretariat. He was there waiting when some policemen on patrol asked what he was doing there, he was later asked for tinted permit of the car but did not have. He was taken to a Police station along Ada-Ikirun. 

“At that period, one of them had gotten there and could not find him, so they called him severally he was unable to pick the calls. But after he was released, he told the kidnappers what happened, he was coming from Ada on a bike when it started raining and the bike rider said he could not go again. That was how I was unable to pay the N300, 000 we intended to pay as ransom. 

“When those who wanted to take money from my brother came back, they said my brother lied to them. They separated me from others and threatened to kill me. They flogged the hell out of me. Later at night, we were all freed. The kidnappers returned to the bush while they showed us where to go. They called the father of the students among us and told him that he would see his children on the road.”

He spoke further: “Fortunately for us, we saw flashlights of vehicles and we followed the direction of the light. We met people on the road and pleaded with them to assist us but nobody waited because it was getting late. It was one man that summoned courage; he waited and gave us direction to Ibokun and Ada. That was how we found our ways to Ibokun. While walking on the road, we saw a car with hazard light. It was the father of the students. We all entered his car, while two of us sat in the boot.”

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