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27 Jan 2018

From Night Vigil To Deadly Kidnappers Den - Victim Recounts Ordeal

The wife of an employee of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, who was kidnapped by gunmen, said she decided to follow her abductors when they threatened to shoot her and her daughters.
Forty-six-year-old Mrs. Adeola Dawodu, who spent five days in the kidnappers’ den, was rescued on Thursday by a team of soldiers and operatives of the Department of State Services.

The operatives also arrested two of the suspects, who are now being interrogated by the DSS.

Narrating her ordeal in the hands of her abductors, the middle-aged woman said she was accosted at the gate of her house in Obio/Akpor in Rivers State by a man wearing army uniform at about 5.30am while coming back from a church vigil.

Dawodu told journalists after she was rescued that one of the kidnappers had told her to wind down the window glass of her car, adding that another member of the gang broke the glass when she refused to comply.

She added that the kidnappers, who said she should call her husband after being blindfolded, threatened to kill her if she refused.

“I left my church in Rumuobiakani area, Port Harcourt after the vigil around 5 am. I drove home from Rumuobiakani Roundabout to Artillery through Okporo Road and then turned into the RD section of the road.

“I was there for four to five minutes because the gate was not opened on time. As soon as they attempted to open the gate and I was about to drive inside; I saw a man coming from my left-hand side wearing army uniform. He pointed a gun at me. I was wondering why a soldier would point a gun at me that early in the morning.

“He asked me to wind down my side glass and I refused. So, as I honked my horn again; the security man opened one side of the gate. I tried to drive inside, to force my way into the compound, but the man broke the side glass and hit me so hard with the butt of his gun that I started bleeding.

“But I still drove inside the estate and drove to my own gate. They started threatening to shoot me and my two daughters, who accompanied me to the church vigil.

“Thereafter, four men entered my car and drove us away. After deliberating among themselves; they decided to drop my daughters and took only me away.”

The mother of four said she bled from her forehead, where she was hit with the gun and later became weak. She added that the abductors took her to an uncompleted building.

She explained that while inside the kidnappers’ den, the hoodlums apologised to her and told her that they became kidnappers because they could not get jobs.

According to her, the apology did not come without their demand for N50m as ransom from her husband.

She said, “After a while, my legs and hands were swollen and I started shaking. They untied the rope they had used to bind my hands and legs and told me that they would not harm me. Later, they took me to a room and ordered me to lie on the mattress and face the wall. They later brought food and water. But I could not eat.

“On Saturday night, their boss arrived and introduced himself as John. He (John) told me that I was not the first person, second person or third person they had abducted and kept at the camp.

“He told me that some of their victims were there for up to two weeks or as long as three months, while some died in captivity when their relatives or friends did not pay the ransom demanded. He said my stay with them would be determined by how quick the ransom was paid.

“One of them told me that when I’m released eventually, I should tell the government to employ them.”

On the day she was rescued, Dawodu explained that she heard some gunshots, adding that one of the kidnappers, who was keeping an eye on her decided to run away when the sound of the gun became louder.

She said, “The gunshots became louder like there was an exchange of gunfire. Some of them ran back to the camp and thereafter fled the scene. I did not know what was happening. I thought there was a clash between them.

“Later some men came to the window where I was held and asked me to identify myself. It was then that I realised that they were soldiers and DSS operatives.”

The victim, who expressed gratitude to the Nigerian Army and the DSS for their swift action, explained that creation of jobs would help reduce the spate of kidnapping and armed robbery incidents in the country.

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