It was a normal Wednesday like any other one. I was instructed to go over and get some amount of money from someone. I wondered why the person couldn’t make a bank transfer. Well, since I would go there anyways; I guess that’s why I was asked to get it.
I had arrived at Nafcon junction, Onne; all I needed was a vehicle to take me from here to Eleme junction at least. It was around 7pm and the crowd here was something I never expected. I wasn’t going to spend the night here, I was definitely going to get home today. After a very long while; a taxi came around; it was one that could only house five passengers, and it had just two vacancies. The struggle for that one was much and the distance from where I stood was quite far; so I didn’t bother. Another one had come, and same thing happened. I started preparing for the next vehicle; I was sure going to leave this place once that one finally comes. After about seven minutes, another cab finally came and it had one, just one vacancy; I had gotten it but then I looked at the lady with her child who were actually standing there before I came. So, I gave up the space for them. The next vehicle that came was a ‘Toyota Sienna’ vehicle which could eight passengers aside the driver; but it had four passengers already, and could only house four passengers. Well, I hopped in and I was among the ‘lucky four’.
When this vehicle approached; faces were brightened as it meant higher chances of leaving here for home. So, none of us suspected anything as we rushed into this one. As I entered and sat I actually checked the time with my small phone, it was around 7:04 pm. We haven’t moved for long; when suddenly some of the passengers (driver inclusive) brought out their guns and told us not to make any form of noise else they would waste us. So we drove to a bushy area where we commanded to come down. Two of them led the way through a bush path while four of us followed with two of the kidnappers behind us; it turned out that the driver didn’t go with us. I was thinking if this could be robbery or were kidnapped to be murdered for ritual purposes. I thought to myself, if this was to be robbery, we would have been robbed and set free and not really taking us into the bush.
As we moved into the bush; I told myself I wasn’t going to die today. So, I feigned to have tripped on a wood and as I bent to feel my leg; I ran away and I was hotly chased by two of them behind. As the race continued, I felt one fell and I was chased by just one of them. I had no idea where I was running to but all I knew was “I was leaving this bush”. This continued till a point where I tripped at a stump and fell down; that was when I was caught by the lone chaser. At this point the other guy who had fallen had met us; he immediately hit my head with the butt of his gun, which made fall down to the ground. I feigned to be dead but I quickly got up as I heard him cocking his gun. “So you wan use me catch fun, abhi?”, I heard him say in his very coarse voice as blood covered my eyes. I heard another voice tell me to remove my singlet and tie it around my head to reduce the bleeding, which I obeyed.
As we went back to the hideout, we were robbed of our shoes, money, handsets, jewelries, and even ATM cards. The other three victims were tied like crocodile apart from me; they only tied my feet (maybe cos of the bleeding). The other three guys after asking of our pins, took our cards and headed out of the bush. The lone guy with us then tested my shoe and asked how good it looked on him—to which I replied, beautiful. As time went on, I used my hand to lose my feet. So at a point, he called the other guys complaining about them wasting time. I thought to myself, “this was my time”. I knew if I ran again and got caught, my punishment would be great; but I was determined not to sleep here. So I took off, and he chased after me; but on realizing there are three others who could also run away, he went back. I ran till I met another guy in the bush, who was enjoying his Indian hemp; after explaining everything to him, he had pity on me and then escorted me to the roadside and gave me a 100naira which I boarded from there to Eleme. Getting another vehicle to Rumuokoro junction was a gruesome task as people were scared of a young boy bleeding from the head with a singlet around his head, without shoes. Until one man who accepted my pleas and carried me till Rumuokoro where a young lady who was in the same vehicle with me paid my fare back home.
This was the experience of a recent kidnap victim (who pleaded anonymity), who escaped last week Wednesday.