By Taiye Agbaje
Mr Oladimeji Josiah, who was kidnapped in Kubwa, Abuja, has narrated his ordeal after regaining his freedom.
Josiah, a carpenter, who told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while recounting his experience in captivity, said the gunmen, in their number, invaded their homes at Byazhin area in Kubwa around 11:45pm on May 21 and kidnapped two of them.
NAN reports that Josiah and his neighbour, Ayodele Somorin, regained their freedom at the wee hours of Wednesday after allegedly paying N2 million ransom to their abductors.
The armed men, who stormed the hilly area close to the Lottery Quarters and few metres away from Living Faith Church, Byazhin, shot sporadically before they were whisked away.
“They demanded N10 million on each abductee us at first, before lowering it to N5 million each and then to N1 million each.
“May 21 is a day I will ever live to remember.
He said about 15 of them surrounded his house the day he was kidnapped.
“I was about to have my bath and sleep that night. I never knew they had already visited my neighbour.
“They started shooting as they were breaking my burglar-proof iron gate. They had thought I was not ready to cooperate with them.
“I quickly took my children and wife to the toilet. At that moment, I discovered they came in their number. I was just saying, ‘The blood of Jesus,’ even as they shoot,” he said.
He said when they finally gained access into his house, they started beating him.
“They were shouting, “Where is your yaro.’ They raided my house and made away with some money, my two phones, one of my children’s phones, their school bags, two loaves of bread we bought at N500 each, clothes, etc. Then they ordered me to go out,” he said.
Josiah, who said that the gunmen spent over 30 minutes in his house, explained that though they went to the third house, the occupant was not around.
He said the gunmen made them to carry the bag of rice stolen from his neighbour’s residence to their camp.
“Though the bag of rice was not full, I and Somorin carried it with our heads from our area to the forest where the camp is located. If I am tired, my neighbour would carry it. This was how we got there after over four hours ” he narrated.
According to him, they used clothes to cover their eyes and tied them with rope.
He said while in captivity, the armed men usually went on operations to kidnap more people.
“We were about 16 abductees in that camp; about 11 people were kidnapped from a settlement along Suleja-Abuja-Kaduna road.
“They were about 21 gunmen in that camp with very sophisticated weapons. Whenever they were about going for a raid, they would smoke Indian hemp, shoot severally in the air and be shouting in their native language.
“They would tie our hands backward and made us to lie down flat until they return from the operation. Few of their members would man us when others left.
“In one of the raids, they arrived at the camp with a man and his son who they kidnapped in Bwari,” he said.
Josiah said the kidnappers subjected them to various inhuman treatment.
“They beat us with thick sticks on a daily basis. In fact, my neighbour, Somorin, was given the worst treatment because they initially thought he was a soldier. Some of the pictures and videos they found in his phone made them felt he must be a uniformed man.
“They showed their hatred for uniformed men and women. They said they were bush soldiers and not bandits or terrorists. They said if any body called them those names, they would break the person’s head.
“Even though they couldn’t speak in English well, they claimed they were trained soldiers. They said they were just starting with Abuja and that by the time they unveiled their plans, the FCT would not be comfortable for living.
“They looked fearless and daring,” he said.
On what they fed on during their stay, Josiah told NAN that there were women among the people kidnapped along Suleja who cooked for them.
“Three of the people kidnapped along Suleja area were women; one was a 200 level university student, another one was a pregnant woman but I don’t know the status of the third one.
“They were the ones doing the cooking. They would used palm oil and salt to prepare the rice stolen from my neighbour’s house for us to eat. After the cooking, the food would be poured on a cement sack and all of us would gather around it and started eating. They also cooked beans,” he responded.
Josiah said one thing he discovered was that if one could speak their language, they tend to treat such person with a little respect.
On Wednesday, May 26 when they were released after their families were able to raised the N2 million ransom, he said they trekked for over four hours before they met vigilantes who accompanied them home.
“The vigilantes advised us to show up at the police station before going home. So we all branched at Byazhin Police Station that morning looking very dirty with the short and the top I wore,” he said.
On how his family was able to raised the N1 million, Josiah, who was downcast over the unfortunate incident, said different people, churches, friends, etc contributed to ensure his freedom.
“Some gave us N2, 000; N5, 000; N10, 000; N20, 000, etc to have the money completed. I am just a carpenter and this is what I do for a living,” he said.
Josiah, who thanked everyone who supported him during the trying time, also thanked God for his protection.
He urged the Federal Government and the security agencies to up their game towards checkmating the activities of criminals not only in Abuja but in the country as a whole.(NAN)