By Evelyn Usman and Esther Onyegbula
Gunmen numbering five Thursday night, abducted business mogul, Francis Umeh , in Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos. Kidnapping has become common in the area especially FESTAC.
As at 2pm yesterday, Saturday Vanguard gathered that the abductors were yet to make contact with family members of the abducted man.
The abduction as reliably gathered , occurred barely two weeks after another business man, Cosmos Ojukwu was abducted in Festac Town , in same local government.
Information at Saturday Vanguard disposal had it that Umeh, an auto parts dealer at Aspanda , Trade fair, along Mile Two-Badagry express-way , was returning home when the unexpected happened.
The gun wielding men said to have been clad in military camouflage reportedly intercepted Umeh’s vehicle in front of Mobile filling station opposite his house.
They were said to have ordered him out of his car , threatening to shoot him dead if he acted otherwise. Thereafter, they dragged him into their operational vehicle and zoomed off to an unknown destination, shooting sporadically.
Saturday Vanguard learned that Umeh’s wife reported the incident at the Area ‘E’ command when news of her husband’s abduction reached her.
Another businessman kidnapped
Umeh’s abduction occurred two weeks after Ojukwu was kidnapped in Festac Town. It was gathered that Ojukwu’s abductors demanded for $2m ransom , out of which members of his family , through the contribution of friends and relatives reportedly paid $1m after much plea.
But as at yesterday, it was gathered that Ojukwu’s abductors were yet to release him as they insisted that additional $1 be paid.
Family sources hinted that “ We had to borrow to pay one million dollars. Rather than release him, they demanded of additional one million dollars. They said that the additional payment was because we were rude to them. We have been begging them to release our bread winner to us. We have gone round but nobody is willing to raise money again, as everyone is complaining of financial hardship”.
It would be recalled that Chairman of Comestar Manufacturing Company , Sir James Uzochukwu Uduji was kidnapped by gunmen at 7th Avenue in Festac town, after which they demanded $1 million for his release, last September.
His family as gathered raised N100 million but his abductors insisted on the demanded ransom. Unconfirmed report had it that N220 million equivalent of one million dollars was eventually paid before he was released.
Also in Amuwo Odofin, wife of a senior journalist was abducted in her home last year . She was said to have been released after an unspecified amount was paid as ransom.
Again, family members of another business man also kidnapped last year were compelled to pay N110 million for the release of their breadwinner. Information had it that a cartel in the area was responsible for the kidnaps and it was disappointing that the police had not swung into action, compelling residents not only to lose confidence in them but also to allege complicity.
The worrisome development has sent fear down the spines of residents of the area as Vanguard gathered that some of them are complementing relocating.
When Saturday Vanguard visited the area ‘E’ command yesterday, the area commander was said to have left the office for the command. Some policemen who spoke on condition of anonymity hinted that Umeh’s kidnap was not reflected in the Police crime diary. It was also discovered that some of the kidnap cases were never reported at the station, following strict adherence to the kidnappers directive to the affected families.