Residents of Lagos are now living in fear following a new trick adopted by kidnappers in abducting victims on roads.
The hoodlums now dress like responsible men riding in a car; they will pull up when they spot a perceived victim; while pretending to be asking for an address and the target is attending to them, they will whip out a gun and order the victim into a car or risked being shot .As soon as the victim is bundled into the car, they zoom off.
The kidnappers will take their victim to their den and from there, they will demand ransom.
A victim, Onochieze Nwakanma, is thanking God for saving him from the hands of the syndicate after he escaped from its members who nearly forcefully abducting on the road.
“I was on my way home after closing from my shop at the Egbeda area. As I was walking along, a car stopped beside me; the driver who spoke in English language, asked for an address; while I was trying to respond to him, one of the occupants pointed a gun at me and ordered me to go inside the vehicle or risked his wrath. As I was trying to join them in the car, my instinct warned me not to enter the vehicle. So I quickly took to my heels. I made up my mind to even die where people would pick my body than for me to be taken to where I would be used for rituals.
“It was when I narrated my ordeals in the church that I was told that a syndicate that abducts victims on the road is on the prowl in Lagos.”
If Nwakanma, escaped the human hawks, Toriola Ibrahim (not real names for security reasons) was not lucky as he was successfully abducted on his way by the syndicate on October 1 and ransom was paid by his family.
Ibrahim who narrated his ordeals to our correspondent said: “On October 1, 2019, Independence Day to be precise, I was abducted at gun point in broad day light.
“I am a desktop publisher. I left my home about 1pm to Ijaiye, Ojokoro area of Ojokoro Local Council Development Area of Lagos, to print some documents for my clients without any inkling that my journey would end in the den of kidnappers. Just as I alighted from the bus at about 3pm, I was accosted by a young boy who quickly raised his clothes to show me a gun hanging on his trousers; he then warned me to enter a Toyota Carry car they were driving. Out fear that he might fire at me, I quickly boarded the car.
“As I was being driven away, my abductors ordered me to lie down in the car; they were beating, punching, slapping and hitting me everywhere. They also dispossessed me of my two phones, bag containing my church gowns and a wallet containing some money. I thought they were armed robbers until we arrived at a building believed to be their hideouts.
“On arrival, some of their gang members were on ground to welcome me with slaps. I was ordered to sit on a soak away while it rained heavily.
“At the hideout, Indian hemp was being smoked freely. One of my abductors collected my Android phone and recharged it. Afterwards, they used it to contact my mum; they lied to her that they were calling from Ikotun police station. They claimed that I was arrested for being involved in gay practices, claiming that the landlord association handed me over to them to be taken to police stations.
“They said that they needed money to secure my release, otherwise I would be taken to the station.
“My mum responded that his son might have been mistaken for another person and told the caller that she would prefer to come to the station.
“Immediately my mum told them that she was coming to the station, they started beating me. Soon, I started bleeding from the mouth, nose and ears. At a point, I started pleading with them to let me call a brother and get them some money, just to secure my freedom. With my phone on conference mood, I called my brother at home to take the money in my room and send it immediately to the account number the bandits provided.
“At the point, my brother sent N11, 000 which made them angry.
“My mum called and they warned her to pay N100, 000 or I would be killed. When my mother heard that the unexpected might happen to me, she quickly sent another N40 ,0000 to them and pleaded that they should let me go as she had no more money. The money was also paid into to the same account my brother earlier paid the N11 ,0000.
“After paying the money, they took me back to the same place that I was abducted; that was Ijaiye, Ojokoro closed to where I was kidnapped. With my swollen face, we reported to the Ojokoro police station.
“After my statement, the policemen on duty said they were taking me to the anti-kidnapping unit, but demanded N5,0000 for transportation. But we had no more money to offer.
“For refusing to do anything, we contacted a senior police officer whom they addressed as the Divisional Police Officer who advised us to write an undertaken that we would not come back to the station.
“I am appealing to the police high command to look into the issue and fish out the syndicate that has been abducting people in Lagos,” he appealed.