…Demand N60m Ransom
Abductors of six passengers on board Benue State owned transport vehicle known as Benue Links have opened talks with families of the victims, demanding N10m ransom for each person.
Our correspondent gathered that the vehicle, which took off from Gboko in Benue State on Saturday, was en route to Lagos when kidnappers struck at Ochadamu, Kogi State and abducted six occupants out of 13 passengers.
It was learnt that the victims included a pregnant woman and some National Youth Service Corps members who were on their way to orientation camp.
The driver of the affected vehicle, Emmanuel Owoicho, on Thursday told journalists in Makurdi that he was robbed and his passengers kidnapped.
Owiocho recalled, “On Saturday, I was travelling to Lagos. On reaching Ochadamu junction around after 4pm, I saw some men coming out from the bush and started shooting at us. I wanted to go ahead but later I realized that if I did, they would riddle the bus with bullets.
“So, I parked. Many others came from the bush and started robbing us. They collected our money, phones; everything we had they collected. Then they asked us to lie on the road but on sighting a trailer on high speed approaching, their leader asked us to get up and stay by the roadside. He then asked six persons, three males and three females, to follow him into the bush.
“We got to a naval checkpoint and reported the incident to them. The naval officers and some vigilantes asked me to take them to the spot of the incident. After over 30 to 40 minutes search, they came back to say they could not find the kidnappers. The next day, Sunday, I went to the police station in Ayingba to formally report the incident and they instructed me to go. I then took the remaining passengers back to Gboko.”
He said the kidnappers collected N42,000 from him, adding that “they are now demanding N10m each ransom from those kidnapped but their families are negotiating between N750,000 and N450,000.”
The driver said, “There is an orphan girl whose family said they only have N80,000. Amongst those kidnapped is a pregnant woman. I feel sad and pray that they are all released.”