*We spent over an hour underwater, say witnesses
By Evelyn Usman
Gunmen yesterday, stormed Channels Avenue in Isheri area of Lagos State, abducting three persons. The identities of those abducted were given as Mr Kenedy Ucheagwu; Dr. Omololu Bello and Mr. Esang, who are all landlords at Oshorun Heritage Estate.
Vanguard gathered that they had gone to a recreation centre beside Lekki Gardens Estate, which shares a common boundary with Warewa and Wawa creeks in Ogun State, for a routine exercise.
Barely had they settled when some hooded gunmen said to be cladded in military camouflage came through the water ways, announced their presence with sporadic gunshots which sent people scampering for safety.
While others managed to escape, same could not be said of the trio of Ucheagwu, Bello and Esang as they were whisked away in the kidnappers waiting boats through the same route they came.
Some labourers at a nearby construction site, disclosed that over 20 expended AK47 ammunition were picked and handed over to the police.
One of them who gave his name simply as Adamu, said several window glasses and buildings were pierced by stray bullets.
According to him, “Those kidnappers stay inside that bush. This is the second time in three months they have come out to kidnap people. The first time they came, they took a man inside his house. But this morning, we noticed that two men stood at the end of road by the bush there.
“When it was around 7am, we started hearing gunshots. Over 59 shots were fired. The men wore masks and they also wore army camouflage. They just came to that place were landlords used to do exercise every Friday morning and they kidnapped three.
“As they were shooting, everyone ran away. I heard that they first caught one mallam, but they later left him that he does not have money before they went after those landlords. It looks like they have information that the landlords used to exercise there. It was one woman, I heard she is the wife of one of the landlords, who was coming behind that called their estate people and informed them.
“Some of the landlords ran away and fell inside water. They later came out after the kidnappers have gone and all their bodies were wet. The kidnappers stayed for about 30 minutes.”
Also, a landlord who managed to escape (names withheld) said: “Myself and two others were just running. We ran into the bush and continued until we met a fence. We scaled the fence and landed in the stream there. We lied down inside the stream for about one hour and refused to come out until we were sure there was police presence.
“We got to the exercise ground around 7:30am and about five minutes later, eight gunmen came from nowhere. They were shooting nonstop. It is as though they were waiting for us. As they approached us, the three of us ran. I really don’t know much of what transpired there. But about 30 minutes in the water, we started hearing the blaring of siren from a distance. It was far and so, we still stayed in the water for some time. It was about an hour when we decided to peep through the fence to know if they had gone.
“When we peeped, we started hearing voices and some people told us that police were on ground. That was when we came out. None of us were hit by stray bullets. We just sustained minor injuries like bruises and then one of us caught cold. We were seven in all. Six trainees and the coach. But so far, only the three of us have come out. The other four have not been accounted for.
“When we came out, the police said we should follow them so that they can take our statement. We went with them to Isheri Police Station but they said that place was under Ogun and we went to Abiodun police station. On getting to Abiodun, they said it is under Lagos and so, we went back to Isheri police station.”