22-year-old Aminat Taiwo was one of the lucky victims that left the hideout of the Lagos-Ibadan kidnappers alive.
How it happened:
It was really a horrible experience for me. There was no traffic on the road and it was not night. We were on our way to Ibadan when we discovered that kidnappers had laid an ambush for vehicles passing around that period along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. They ordered us to lie down and started shooting sporadically.
Some people who wanted to escape were hit by bullets. It was terrible and not a good experience at all, but all thanks to God.
The incident happened around 5 pm on Friday.
I was coming from Abeokuta to attend a friend’s wedding in Ibadan when we were attacked. We boarded a Sienna space van from Panseke Park; we were eight in the vehicle. Our vehicle passed through the Isiun-Ogere road to link the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
*How many people involved
Three of us from our vehicle were kidnapped, the other victims were from other vehicles. Many people fell victim. Some people in their private cars were also attacked and some people escaped in the midnight when we were being taken into a deep forest.
The kidnappers were more than 30, they covered their faces. They wore soldiers and police uniforms.
They were armed to the teeth; they have guns, swords, knives and other dangerous weapons.
On our way, they asked us to lie down. They collected all our money and phones. They collected gold chains, wristwatches, and other pieces of jewellery.
We were moving in the bush for several hours; they did not give us water or food. We were licking water on leaves inside the forest.
For the two days I spent with them, we were moving around the forest, we don’t stay too long in one place before they move us to another place.
They did not have a house or anywhere to hide us. We sleep wherever the night meets us; we were sleeping inside the forest for two days. Some of us will sleep on trees, while others will sleep on the grass.
Any escapee ?
We can’t attempt to escape because since two guys escaped on the first night, they changed their strategy. They always surround us, so, there is no way we can make any attempt.
We used to hear the voices of people because most of the places we were sleeping belong to farmers. We saw cassava, maize, and other plantations inside the forest.
When our abductors discovered that we are hearing the voices of neighbouring villagers, they will move us to another place.
Indehtities of the kidnappers
Yes, they were Hausas but they understand and speak Yoruba fluently. Many of them are young, some can’t be more than 15 or 16 years old. They were carrying guns like AK 47.
They were speaking Yoruba, but they are Hausas. They don’t understand any other language apart from Yoruba and Hausa. If they hear us speak English, they will beat us.
*How they were treated
We were really maltreated; they beat the hell out of us. The men suffered the most because they put ropes around their necks and were dragging them around.
I was not really maltreated because when I told them my name is Aminat, they said: “you are a Muslim, and we are worshipping the same, Allah.”
We were over 20 that were kidnapped and some were even killed inside the forest.
*Will you ever take the Lagos-Ibadan road again or embark on long-distance travel on road?*
I can never pass through that road again in my life. Even if I want to go for my NYSC, I won’t go by road. I will rather take the plane to any location I am posted to. Government needs to help us do something about that road.
*How many people remained with kidnappers.
I can’t say but I know we left a lot of people there; they only released those that paid.
Many people were injured, some were shot in the head, and there was no one to treat them.
They did not give us any food or water. The kidnappers didn’t eat as well, all they ate was raw cassava, they will just uproot it, peel it and eat it like that.