Ayo Oladele who was taken hostage by kidnappers has relived his horrific experience in his abductors' den.
For 61-year-old Secretary General of Christ’s School Ado Ekiti Alumni Association, Mr Ayo Oladele, the journey to Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, from Lagos on May 17 began on a smooth note until kidnappers struck and changed the tune about 50 kilometres away from his destination.
Oladele told our correspondent that he had yet to get over the trauma of his five-day in captivity without food and water in the kidnappers’ den.
Recalling the event which happened over two months ago, he said it happened between Erinmo and Fagbo, the junction linking Efon axis.
He said, “Those kidnappers reside within that vicinity. They would go out around 10pm and throughout the time I was held in captivity, their phones didn’t go off. They gave their phones to some people in the evening and at about 4am, they would collect them.
“The experience of the five days with the kidnappers was traumatic. In short, when I was released, for five days, I was down with ulcer. I was admitted in a hospital. Thank God we were not killed. It was divine intervention.”
“When they were not operating, they went to spend time with the herders. When the herdsmen were grazing their cattle nearby, they would join them to know where to operate.’’
Oladele said the day he was kidnapped, nothing suggested that danger lurked around the corner even as he waited at Erinmo to buy bitter kola at about 4.30pm shortly before he crossed from Osun State to Ekiti State.
He said: “It was before 5pm that I got to that spot. I just saw a vehicle which had lost control coming from the opposite direction. It ran in front of my car into the bamboo trees by my right hand side. The bamboo tree fell in front of me, so I could not move forward. I attempted to reverse and move, behold, a gunman was right in front of me, saying if I moved, he would shoot me.
“It was between Erinmo and Fagbo, the junction linking Efon axis. There is a small village there. But before I knew it, I was intercepted by seven gunmen who are Fulani. They were not grazing any cow but carried AK47. They spoke Fulfude.
“I asked what the armed man with me wanted. I took my purse, phone, car key. He asked me to leave the car and I left the vehicle with its door open. In the process, the man said I should move. He pushed me like a cow. He pushed me up to where they captured a set of twins.”
Oladele, who painted a grim picture of how the twins were captured and the eventual release of one of them, said: “On their way, the twins heard gunshots and they stopped thinking it was their tyres that blew out.
“As they came down to check the tyres, the armed bandits emerged from the bush. On seeing them, the twins ran into the bush while they pursued them. They caught Kehinde, but Taiwo ran far into the bush.
“They pursued Taiwo and in the process, one of them wanted to smash his head with a cutlass, but Taiwo defended with his arm and received a cut. His wrist was just dangling when they brought him drenched in his own blood. They asked him to go while they took Kehinde and me into the wilderness.”
Oladele said he and Kehinde trekked with the kidnappers until about 2am when they eventually arrived in the place where they asked them to sit under a tree which became their abode for five days.
He said when it dawned on him that he would need his people’s support to regain freedom, he begged them around 11.45pm to allow him to tell his people that he had been abducted.
He added, “They agreed. I called my people that I had been abducted and they said they would know what to do the following morning.
“In the morning, I called them again. My people then spoke with the leader of the kidnappers who demanded N20m ransom. But when my people pleaded, they reduced it to N10m. They later reduced it to N7m. They insisted on N7m until the last day they released me. It was only until a few minutes before my release as I was begging them, rolling on the ground for them to accept N5m.
“They told me they were angry and might kill me as my people were negotiating N1m ransom. It got to a point that I spoke on phone with their overall boss who was at an undisclosed location. The boss said ‘you better do what the boys ask you to do or else I will carry you to Sambisa Forest where you will be with the kidnapped ones’.
“They took N5m and N3m from the other guy. Even they monitored the movement of my brother who brought the money from Ado Ekiti to Aramoko Ekiti and to Itawure where they asked him to stop. That is to tell you that that they know the terrain.”
Saying the kidnappers didn’t allow them to communicate, he added that there was a time they used the flat side of a cutlass twice to beat him.
“They hit me with a rod at the back. Although, they did not beat me like the other guy maybe because I am a bit elderly,’’ he stated.
The alumni scribe, who said he picked his car after his release at Efon Alaaye Police Station, opined that the police perhaps did not do enough to search for him while he was in captivity, noting that ‘kidnapping could be tackled if there is collaboration between the police and the local hunters who know the terrain and the vigilante.”
However, the police spokesperson in Ekiti State, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, who confirmed Oladele’s release by the kidnappers on May 22, said his release was made possible “through the intensive efforts of the command operatives.”
Ikechukwu, who said the police emplaced watertight security in strategic areas, urged members of the public to cooperate with the police and report any untoward incident to them for prompt action.