Emmanuella Anyanwu had a very heart rending experience with kidnappers at the Okada Junction of the Benin – Lagos Expressway on Saturday, September 4th, 2021, that would last her a lifetime.
The Imo State born woman was one of the passengers in a vehicle travelling from Lagos to the Eastern part of the country on Friday, September 3rd, which broke down on getting to the Okada Junction in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
The hapless travellers took the decision to pass the night inside the vehicle and to find a solution to their plight early the next day(Saturday). As early as 6.30am on that fateful Saturday they woke up to see some gunwielding men(kidnappers) who were shooting sporadically as they approached them from the thick forest nearby.
The kidnappers accosted them, ordered them to lie down while they dispossessed them of their belongings. Thereafter, the kidnappers ordered their victims to march into the forest with them.
“It took us almost two hours before we got to the kidnappers den. They used clothes to tie our faces as we marched on. When we got to their den they started calling us one after the other to ask us questions. I was the last person they called.
“They asked me where I was coming from and where I was heading to. I told them that I was coming from Lagos and heading to my village in Imo State for my husband’s burial. They asked me how many children do I have. I told them that I have two small children.
“I was asked which business I was doing in Lagos. I told them that I sell groundnuts. They wanted to know who will bury my husband. I responded that his brothers would. They asked me how many siblings do I have. I told them that I have two sisters. They asked me what business is my elder sister doing. I told them that she is selling bread in the village and that the last girl is still in secondary school.
“They asked me if I know them. I said no. They asked me if I know the police. I said yes. They asked if I know military men. I said yes. They asked me who are they. I said I don’t know them. I pleaded with them to tell me who they’re. They said that they are kidnappers and that they have kidnapped me so that they can get money from me.
“I was warned that if I love my life I should give them money or else I will pay with my life. They asked me how much would I give them. I asked them how much would they take. One of them demanded to know why I was asking them questions. I responded that I was just interested in knowing how much they would take from me. He asked me if I can give him whatever he asked for. I said no.
“They demanded for N10million which I told them that I cannot afford. They asked how much can I afford. I said N500,000.00. They said that the amount was not enough. They asked me who would pay the money(ransom) I said that I will plead with my elder sister to go round my village for assistance. They told me ‘go and sit down. You fool.’ They threatened me that I would pay with my life.
“That Saturday night there was heavy rainfall. The kidnappers went on another operation and brought another victim(man). They collected everything that the man had on him and their attention was on what they got from him. At a point one of the kidnappers stood to make a call by then I had removed the cloth they used to tie my face.
“I started thinking of escaping immediately or to do it later in the midnight. I took the decision to escape immediately. I started creeping out of the place and ran into the forest(in the direction of the road),” Emmanuella revealed.
Emmanuella disclosed that she made her way to safety by trailing the direction of a communication mast and that she was soon hearing the sound of moving vehicles on the highway. She disclosed that as she got to the highway she saw an elderly motorcyclist whom she pleaded with to take her to the nearest police station.
She said that their abductors were Fulani herdsmen as they communicated in their language. She disclosed that at a point the kidnappers released their cows to roam around the vicinity.