We’re operating in Lagos now because wealthy Igbos are shunning home – kidnappers tell victims
A Lagos businessman who was abducted in Ago Palace Way, Lagos two weeks ago has been released after paying N30 million as ransom.
He was kidnapped by four hooded men who cornered him, midnight, as he was going to enter his car, packed in the garage.
His abductors called a day after, demanding a ransom of N100 million but family members and friends were able to raise N30 million before he was released.
The middle-aged Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of his company who pleaded passionately that his name should not be used because the kidnappers threatened to come back for him if he spoke on the incident told Vanguard that he was taking a big risk by narrating what he suffered throughout the two weeks he spent with his abductors.
“I felt that I could only talk about the trauma and psychological torture they subjected me to so that it will arouse consciousness and alert security agencies over what to expect in the coming days,” he stated.
According to him, I saw hell in the hands of those kidnappers and they were boasting that they will soon take over Lagos and the police cannot match their firepower.
“They abducted me that weekend as I was coming out from my bar to enter my garage and drive off. They came with an SUV and as they were flashing their light, I pulled out my car and was heading towards the main gate when a mini bus popularly called Keke blocked the main gate. I thought they were avoiding the bad portion of the road but while I waited, the SUV blocked my car.
“They came out from their car, one of them was flashing what looked like an identity card, shouting DSS while another started releasing gun shots at the same time, pulling me out from my car. They pushed me into their car, forced me to lie low and sped off. We continued moving while they tied a cloth over my eyes. Notably, when we raced for some minutes, one of them who I suspect to be their informant and probably, a force man, got down from their car. I said a force man because of the way he spoke to them while we were leaving my bar.
“We moved for interminable hours until they got to a spot. They stopped and led me into a building like a flat and chained me on the legs. Then, they started beating me with different weapons, some as strong as iron, some like the normal sticks. They warned me that if I try to remove the cloth over my eyes, they would simply ‘waste me’. So, I was just receiving severe beatings and torture with my eyes covered. To me, it was as if a stone would fall on my head any moment and kill me. I was crying like a baby.
“For the period I was there, almost two weeks, they were feeding me with an apple and water daily. Earlier, they wanted to know what I would eat but I was afraid of being poisoned and I told them just apples.
“The beating and torture continued until I heard another of their victims who was kidnapped, raising his voice. He was boasting and telling them; “Is it not money you want? Don’t beat me. I will give you money.” On hearing this, they calmed down and I used the opportunity to open the scarf they used blindfolding me slightly. I saw three of them. It is like they divided themselves into groups. Those that target their victims are different from those that guard the victims and those that negotiate for ransom. This is because the moment the man said ‘I will give you money’, they made frantic calls while at the same time going through his phones.
“The story took another dimension when they saw only N10m in the man’s account and they rebuked him and quickly transferred the money into their account. Unfortunately for the man, as they were complaining that the money was not commensurate with his boast, alert was received in the man’s phone and from the way they jubilated, it must be a huge sum. They did not waste time in releasing the man. I saw that there were other kidnap victims chained in the room. Some were chained in both hands and legs while some, like me, were chained only on the leg.
“After that, as I quickly covered my eyes, they turned towards me and started telling me that they have now landed in Lagos and would go to any extent to get all they wanted. They said that while they were operating in the east, they did not know that they were just getting akara money. That now in Lagos, they were making real money.
“They said that they decided to relocate to Lagos when they noticed that wealthy Igbo people in Lagos refused coming home for fear of being kidnapped. But now, they have landed in Lagos and both the police and any other security agency cannot withstand their firepower. They boasted that they will face the police, fire for fire, juju for juju, and nobody can stop them until all the wealthy Igbo people in Lagos pay through their noses . Their targets are Igbos.
“While they were boasting, they were threatening to kill me if I failed to pay N100m. Luckily, my family and friends rallied round and were able to pay N30m. At this stage, they told me to get ready for my release. One of them whispered to me to beg his gang members to release my bag and phones which I did and they obliged me. The polythene bag contained all the beverages I bought for my daughter who was to go back to school a day after I was kidnapped.
“They took me in their car and when we got to a tarred road, they pushed me out with my eyes still covered. They also warned that I should not remove what they used in covering my eyes and I was wondering what they expected me to do in that condition. However, few seconds after they zoomed off in their vehicle, I opened my eyes and could not say where I was. I was on a tarred road and I managed to cross over to the next lane where cars were passing. It was not easy for me to walk again because they tied my legs throughout the period I was in their den and it was as If I was learning how to walk again.
While across the road, a bus passed by and all efforts to stop the bus failed. Few minutes later, I saw a keke passing by and I flagged it down. Luckily, the driver stopped and I asked him to help me, that I was kidnapped and just released. The driver asked my name and when I told him, he shouted saying he heard about my kidnap. He told me that I was at Governor’s Road. Ikotun. That’s how he graciously brought me back to my place at midnight,” he stated.
When asked if police visited him since his release, he said;”Nooooo, I was told that after they kidnapped me and released bullet shots, some policemen came and hovered around. That’s all. Up till now, I have not seen any policeman.”
Meanwhile, Crime Guard learned that some concerned residents of Ago Palace Way have been complaining bitterly about the state of affairs at the Ago Police station following the rising cases of crime in the area. One of them who was interviewed but refused to disclose his name for fear of victimization alleged: “We had been lucky to have two female Divisional Police officers in the past and they performed excellently well. If they were here, what is going on now would have been nipped in the bud, all these criminals would have rounded up.
“The ceaseless rate of kidnappings and other serious crimes going on here is not encouraging at all. I know as one of the stakeholders that the DPO has been inundating us with requests for money to put the three patrol cars they have on the road. I can say authoritatively that as I speak, none of the vehicles is on the road while we continued to pay for them to be on the road. The menace of commercial motorcyclists in the densely populated and ever-busy area has quadrupled since the DPO who came for election duties took over. Perhaps, he is seeing his continued stay in Ago as an entitlement for one that conducted election and not a police officer posted to maintain peace and fight crime.
“I am aware that all these kidnappings were reported at the station but no significant effort was made to get to the root of the matter. I was told reliably that there is disquiet even among officers and men of the force working under him because of his penchant to chase shadows while criminals have taken over his area of jurisdiction. The new Commissioner of Police should not hesitate to overhaul officers and men in that station so that we can sleep with our eyes closed.”
Meanwhile, sources hinted that members of the gang normally position themselves at any of the numerous speed breakers that dot the long road from Ago Roundabout to Apple Junction and look out for flashy cars. It was gathered that the moment they spot any flashy car, they could trail the owner to his destination and come for him thereafter. So far, it was also learned that some wealthy business men living in the area have relocated for fear of being kidnapped. More than five cases of kidnapping have happened in the area in few months.