•She gave me N500 transport fare, asked me to run fast and not look back
•She could not go gar because of her age
•I thought my son misplaced the proceeds unknown he had been abducted —Mother
•Fear grips residents as another 12-year-old groundnut hawker was abducted
By Dayo Johnson Akure
For a 14 year old JSS 2 student, Felix Adekunle of Furaben International College Owo, in Owo council area of Ondo state, hawking after school hours was a routine. His survival and that of his family members depended on the proceeds of the daily hawking having lost the family’s breadwinner years back.
Felix has overtime developed likeness for hawking after school hours and luck had always smiled on him as he made good sales everyday to keep body and soul together.
However, on this fateful day, after arriving from school, Felix changed his uniform and went hawking as usual but ended up in the thick forest after he was abducted. Some suspected kidnappers who might have been monitoring his daily schedule pounced on him as he walked the street with his wares on his head.
The kidnapers, who were said to be three, were already waiting patiently in their Toyota Camry car with tinted glasses along Okemapo in Owo town in the scorching sun. After making sure that their victim had walked passed their vehicle, they decided to play a trick on him.
One of the suspects alighted from the vehicle and told Felix that some of the slippers he was carrying on his head had fallen off the tray few steps backwards. Unsuspecting anything, Felix thanked him and as he turned back to go and pick the slippers that supposedly fell off, two other men jumped out of the tinted vehicle, covered his face with a sack, bundled him into the vehicle and drove off as his wares were scattered on the road.
Narrating his ordeal and how he escaped from the kidnapers den after walking for hours until he was rescued by the personnel of the state security outfit, Amotekun, the victim said he became unconscious immediately his face was covered by the suspects.
Felix told vanguard that he was helped to escape by an old woman who was kidnapped weeks before him alongside his son who had been beheaded by the kidnapers because his family and relations failed to pay ransom demanded for their release.
He said the old woman who equally attempted to escape from the kidnappers den couldn’t go far because of her age but gave him N500 as transport fare and asked him to keep running and shouldn’t look back or stop until he got to the road. After running inside the thick forest for hours, Felix said he was lucky when the personnel of Amotekun came to pick him after some sympathisers had put a call across to them.
According to him “It happened on Monday while I was selling slippers after school hours. I decided to go to the market area to sell. I passed through Okemapo road, which is a shorter route to the market. As I was going, I saw three men in a Toyota Camry car and they told me that one of my slippers had fallen off. I quickly dropped the tray on my head to check, but I couldn’t find anything. Suddenly, the men disembarked from the car and dragged me into the vehicle and I became unconscious.
“I later found myself in a dilapidated bungalow painted in blue in the forest. I don’t know the name of that area. Inside the building, I saw a woman crying with her hands tied to her back and I also saw the headless body of a young person. I asked the woman, who the headless person was and she responded that it was her child. At that moment, I was hearing the men’s voices in another section of the house. The woman later asked me to untie the rope from her hands and we fled together.
“While fleeing, the woman fell. She called me back and gave me N500 and said I should keep running and never look back. I heard gunshots from the house while I was escaping; I had to run faster.
“When I got to the main road, I saw some people selling bread by the roadside and narrated my ordeal to them. They called the police, but there was no response; they later got in touch with the Amotekun Corps, who responded swiftly and took me to their office.”
The state chairman of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye while handing over the victim to his mother at the security outfit headquarters in Akure confirmed the story of the victim.
Adeleye narrated how his personnel were invited by sympathizers who saw the victim after he escaped from the den of the kidnapers
According to him “We got a distress call that some vehicles drove recklessly along Benin/Owo road. While tracing the vehicles we later ran into the young boy who said he was running away from three kidnappers from Owo.
“The victim explained that the only thing he could remember was a Camry car without a number plate and with tinted glasses. He added that he became unconscious immediately he was pushed into the car.
“He explained to us that the area, where he was kidnapped from, was isolated as he could not call on anyone. We took him away from the danger zone to our office where he narrated his experience that three men tricked him that one of his goods had fallen off and dragged him into their vehicle and zoomed off to an unknown place and that he escaped from the place.
“We will like to warn parents not to send their ward to dangerous places and residents should be careful of places they visit.
Speaking, the mother of the victim, 41-year-old Mrs Abosede Adekunle said she searched for her son who did not return home throughout Monday after hawking for the day.
Abosede said she thought that her son had misplaced the proceeds from his sales hence his refusal to return home.
She said, “I was surprised to get a call from the state Amotekun that I should come and pick my son that was rescued from the kidnapers. When I got to their office, I met my son in good condition as the officers had fed him even before my arrival. May the almighty God continue to protect them as they continue to judiciously discharge their duties.I thank the Ondo State government for setting up such agency to take care of situations like this.
Another 12 year old groundnut hawker abducted in Ofosu
Meanwhile, another 12-year-old groundnut seller, Abibat Saani has been reportedly abducted in Ofosu, Ore in Odigbo Council area of the state while hawking groundnut in the neighbourhood. A family source said that her abductors had not opened line of communication with them thereby causing anxiety.
Narrating her ordeal, the mother of the victim, Aisha Saani said her daughter went to hawk groundnut as usual, but she had not been seen since the day she left the house.
Aisha said “My daughter was hawking groundnut when a bike man stopped her very close to our house. He told her there was a ceremony at the next street called “Olobesere”, where they needed groundnut. The man asked her to send somebody home to tell me to prepare more groundnuts and my daughter followed him. It was the person that my daughter sent home who informed us that one bike man took her away and since then we have been looking for her. I later reported the case at the State Amotekun. The security agencies have swung into action and they later found the groundnut tray with few groundnuts inside the bush along Ore. But unfortunately my daughter was no where to be found”.
Aisha said fear had gripped residents of Ofosu as they could no longer go to their farms because their traditional ruler’s (Baale) wife was abducted, raped by the abductors and killed inside the bush.
She added that the Amotekun Corps and the police have assured the family that her daughter would be rescued while the perpetrators would be arrested.