— Our driver drove off, left us to our fate when kidnappers fired gunshots at bus
By Dayo Johnson
The three rescued Lagos bound travellers abducted along the Idoani-Ifira highway in Akoko South East Local Government council area of Ondo State have recounted their experiences.
They were rescued by the Ondo state security outfit codenamed Amotekun.
Speaking with newsmen after they were handed over to their families at the office of the Amotekun in Akure, the victims said that they were abandoned by the driver of the 18-seater passenger bus during the incident.
They include Benjamin Ojoga, Omolara Fajana and Faith Sunday.
Recall that Amotekun personnel swiftly rescued nine of the 12victims kidnapped by the gunmen during the week in the state.
The 18 passenger Toyota Hiace commercial bus was coming from Abuja and heading to Lagos when it was attacked by the bandits.
According to the victims “the driver of the bus zoomed off after the kidnappers fired gunshots and left us to our fate.
One of them, Benjamin Ojoga, said that the gunmen struck when the passengers had alighted from the bus in order to enable it move freely at a bad portion of the road in Ifira-Akoko
Ojoga added that the decision of the driver made it easy for the kidnappers to abduct them as they were not conversant with the terrain.
“It was after the gunshots that the driver of the bus zoomed off which gave the kidnappers opportunity to abduct us.
“I got the injury from the beating the kidnappers gave me. They were saying that I’m a force man and I told them I’m not. But they didn’t believe me.
Another victim, Omolara Fajana said that “On that very day, we were coming from Abuja and heading to Lagos. Shortly after leaving Ibilo, our bus got stucked on the bad portion. After spending about three to four hours getting the bus out, we continued the journey.
“On getting to Ifira-Akoko, we met another bad portion and the driver told us to come down so that the bus will be lighter and to enable it to move easily.
“Immediately we came down from the bus, we heard gunshots and everybody became jittery. At that moment, the bus zoomed off and the gunmen were able to pick four of us. One of us, an old woman who was limping was allowed to go but, they collected her phone.
“The incident happened around 6:30 pm. Then, they made us to walk for about three hours inside the bush. The kidnappers were speaking pigin English and they looked like herdsmen.”
Speaking, the Amotekun Commander in the state, Chief Adetunji Adeleye said that efforts were the ongoing to apprehend the kidnappers.
“After we were able to secure the release of the first nine, Amotekun operatives still continued to comb the forest which is so massive. It is the same forest that extends to some parts of Kogi State.
” We started tracing them and once they started maintaining contact with the victim’s families, we also commenced tracking up to the point we now gave them very hot chase and we were able to secure their release.
Adeleye said ” For now, we have not made any arrest but we are tracking and working on them. We are actually working on the situation alongside the DSS, Police. It is a synergy of all security agencies, we are just taking the lead.”