Vanguard News

Payment of Ransom: It’s a matter of life and death

-Families, relatives of kidnapped victims
-Why we don’t trust Police

THE popular saying that he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches may apply to whether families of kidnapped victims should or should not pay ransom. In all the cases recorded across the country, different families have had peculiar stories to tell about their experiences while communicating and even negotiating with kidnappers. Though circumstances may differ, each family often comes out of the experience convinced that they had no choice but to play the kidnappers’ game.

Rivers State

Kidnap-syndicate

Madam Catherine Onyema who regained her freedom after 12 days in the den of her captors in Port Harcourt recalled that she pleaded with her family members not to involve security men while trying to pay the ransom demanded for her release.

Madam Catherine, as she chose to be called, said she was kidnapped from her residence in Port Harcourt last year, adding that her kidnappers told her to warn her relatives not to get the police involved because it might turn out to be fatal for her.

She said she agreed because she was afraid that   any mistake on the part   of security operatives when they   come to rescue her could spell doom for her. “My   children saw reasons with me when I begged them not to involve the Police since I was sure the people(kidnappers) will release me on payment of the ransom,” she said.

A senior civil servant in Rivers State who did not want his name in print said he quietly paid the ransom demanded because he   was not sure who the kidnappers were. “I felt it was better to pay them off because there could be people around us who might do funny things if we invite the Police,” he said.

A prominent business man in Eleme Local Government Area   who spoke on condition of anonymity said his family knew those behind the abduction as deadly miscreants in the area.

According to him: “They kept tabs on my family for days and kept telling us every move around our house until my son   was released.”

He said the family could not even give open testimony in church when they went to thank God for safe release of the boy because they were warned not to, adding that they suspected the kidnappers could also have been in church on the day we went to church after the release of my son.

“You certainly cannot involve the Police in this situation.   Ask yourself, how many crime suspects can the police go after?” he said.

The business mogul said he was forced to move out of Eleme because of the incident. “We had to consider our safety and relocated to Port Harcourt, away from the boys terrorising the area,” he said.

A resident of Port Harcourt who simply identified himself as Chief Andrew recalled that he got a   suspected kidnapper arrested by the Police, adding that in a matter of days the young man was back in the neighbourhood threatening to deal with him.

According to him, they had strong evidence that the suspect was behind the abduction of his sister. Chief Andrew said he was shocked the man was released. “We were ready to go to court. We had all the evidence we needed to nail the suspect. But we were disappointed that the police was not on the same page with us. They released the man.

“So you see why some families will not trust the Police to embark on a mission to rescue their kidnapped relatives,” he submitted.

Members of a family in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba-Egbema- Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State,  said they did not want the police   to use the case of their kidnapped sister to practice how to rescue kidnapped victims. Mrs Beatrice   who spoke to Vanguard Insight said her elder sister was abducted two years ago in Omoku. She said the peculiar situation in the area also made it difficult for families to involve security operatives before they pay ransom.

“You know here they just cut your head, leaving the body on the street.   The boys are just brutal. So if they call for ransom, first you pray that your relative in their custody is alive and would be released when you pay”.

She said families only bring in the Police after they had paid ransom and the hostages were   not released. “Again in these circumstances you must   be connected to be able to stand reaction from your suspect (s)   if he or she belongs to any cult group. You must have daring youths in your family who could embolden you to go after the kidnappers,” she said.

Vanguard Insight search showed that   kidnap victims only told their experiences within close circles. According to a security expert, Mr Fred Simon:   “ Many of them who still reside in the areas where they were taken hostage prefer to just move on with their lives, not wanting to share the experiences with the public. They can occasionally talk to relatives and close friends about it”.

Simon said the trend in many cases   was that families notified   police   immediately relatives were taken hostage;     then they   shut   the security body   out when   they opened communication lines with the kidnappers.   He said some were bold enough to get the police through all the processes, adding that the instances in this situation   were very few.

He argued further that what was very important to family members whose relatives had been kidnapped was how to get them out safe and unhurt.

“Not that they don’t trust the Police to do its job. But the worry is that the family stands to lose so much if there is any disconnect during the   rescue operation,” he said.

Another security expert, Mr Friday Ogunu, said he was sure security agencies can be very effective when they are provided with modern gadgets they need to do the job. “If they get tracking devices and all other things they will need   I am sure with time people will have confidence to involve them in the rescue of those abducted,” he said.

Rescue operation: DSS yes, police no!

A  kidnapped victim who spoke anonymously said his family members worked with the Department of State Services to secure his release. He said no ransom was paid, adding that men from the DSS swooped on the kidnappers, arresting about two of them before he was released.

“ The DSS has been relatively effective in rescue operations of kidnappers. I can say so because I benefited from their intervention. And I have also heard stories of some persons who benefited. This does not mean an attack on the police. I am only narrating my direct experience,” he said.

But for a relative of Mercy, a lady who was kidnapped recently, it is no use bringing the Police into the whole process of trying to secure her release because of what she said was the financial pressure from the police.

“ The police keep coming with all forms of financial demand to help rescue the hostage. This aspect forced many families to deal directly with the kidnappers,” she said.

In most of the kidnap cases in Anambra State, checks revealed that families of the kidnapped never heeded the advice by the police authorities not to pay ransom to kidnappers to allow them (the police) activate their intelligence network to fish out such kidnappers. Instead, the families or relations would run around to raise the ransom, including borrowing to secure the release of such victim or victims.

When ransom payment is not enough: In some cases, however, the kidnappers would still kill the victims after collecting huge amount of ransom from family members or their delegates. A case in point was 40-year-old Chijioke Nnaemeka Iheaku, a lawyer and son of Chief Godson Iheaku, an Onitsha-based stock fish merchant who was kidnapped on December 17, 2009 and killed few days after by his captors after collecting a huge amount of ransom from his parents.

Same was the case with Chief Vitus Ezekwueme, a native of of Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. The dealer in pharmaceutical medicines at the Onitsha drugs market was kidnapped by a vicious gang along the Owerri Street, Fegge, Onitsha on December 6, 2012. The police advised the family not to pay any ransom, promising that they would definitely find the kidnappers and rescue the victim.

But it soon dawned on the family members that the police could not rescue the victim as promised. So they quickly paid the N5 million ransom demanded by the kidnappers. But till date, Vitus has not been seen and no one knows whether he is still alive or not.

Reacting to the ugly situation, the younger brother to the missing Ezekwueme, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, told newsmen  that since Igbo custom and tradition demand that a missing person could be declared dead after seven years and his funeral rites performed,  their family will perform a befitting funeral rite for his brother in 2019 when it would be seven years after his kidnap.

The whereabouts of Emenike Ihekwoaba, an architect and principal officer in Government House, Owerri, who was reportedly kidnapped when he was travelling to his country home, Nkwerre, has remained a mirage till date leaving members of his family, friends and relations in trauma and heart-break. In this circumstance, they would have preferred to even borrow any amount of money and pay, to get their loved one back home.

The Ihekwoabas are not alone in this ugly dilemma. The family members of an Obowo-born politician and former member of Imo State House of Assembly, Mr. Dan Nwagwu, are yet to see their bread winner, years after his kidnap.

Same fate befell two other victims, Cletus Ifezue, a businessman at Onitsha Main market who hails from Aguluzigbo in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State and Ifeanyi Ogbonna, an iron rod dealer also at Onitsha who hails from Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government Area of the state.

Ifezue and Ogbonna were kidnapped in Onitsha on  December 6, 2012 by the same vicious gang that kidnapped Ezekwueme. Ifezue was a member of Onitsha Country Club and the members paid N2 million ransom to his kidnappers, while Ogbonna’s relations paid N2.2 million ransom. But they were never released by their captors.

Reacting to the ugly development, a human rights group, the Campaign for Democracy, CD, gave the Anambra State Police Command a 14-day ultimatum within which to rescue the victims or declare them dead or alive.

CD said  that the Anambra State government should set up an impartial panel of enquiry to ascertain why they were abducted and why they were not yet released, with adequate compensation to the victims’ families.

In the cases of Chief Godwin Okeke, Chairman of G.U.O Motors Limited and Chief Pete Edochie, a famous Nollywood actor, they were lucky to have been released by their abductors after the payment of huge amount of money as ransom by their respective family members. Okeke was kidnapped at the premises of All Saints Anglican Church Cathedral, Onitsha shortly after a church service in August 2009. This was barely a week after Edochie was kidnapped at Afor Nkpor market square.

For Chief Tony Edochie, younger brother to Pete Edochie, the question of why relations of kidnapped victims ignore police advice to pay ransom to kidnappers does not arise because delay could be dangerous, if not fatal, hence the need to pay ransom as quickly as possible instead of waiting for the police to mount a rescue operation.

For Edochie, no one was arrested in connection with his kidnap. But it was a different ball game for Okeke as no fewer than 11 suspects were arrested and arraigned in court. However, after investigations, some of them were granted bail, while three others were prosecuted, tried and discharged and acquitted for lack of proof.

A legal practitioner in Onitsha, Chris Muo is, however, of the opinion that the families of kidnapped individuals must not act on their own but carry the police along while dealing with kidnappers. He said the police may advise the victims’ families to pay the ransom with marked money to enable operatives of the force hunt for receivers of the marked money.

Muo said he was aware that such tactics had led to the arrest of kidnappers as the police trailed them to banks where they were lodging the ransom money and arrested them.

A post-graduate student of the English Department of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Mr. Alphonsus Eze whose bank manager friend was kidnapped sometime in 2010, told VanguardInsight thus:  “Fully aware that the Nigeria Police in Nigeria has always been found wanting in all operational areas, including sincerity and discipline, people will always be skeptical about trusting them.

Skeptical about trusting them

“I also hope you know what it means to have a loved one kidnapped, may be your wife, husband, child, any of your relations or even your friend like in my own case. The implication is that the person’s survival is 50-50 percent. We have seen people kidnapped in this country, killed and buried in shallow graves by the kidnappers because the families of the victims dared to contact the police who could not mount successful rescue operations.  Therefore, it is natural that when your beloved one is kidnapped and the kidnappers open contact and discussions with their victims relations, asking them for ransom, threatening that if you fail to do their bidding, they will kill the person, such relations may not have any alternative than to go and pay them.

“Are you not aware that when you even report a crime to the police, they will be tossing you up and down, and in most cases asking you to bring money for one thing or the other when you are the victim of the attack? Because of this and the fact that sometimes some policemen are fingered in such crimes, only very few people can place their hope in the police rescuing their kidnapped loved ones.

A former President General of Onitsha Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, OMATA, Chief Ozoh Anakwe, has this to say:  “When an incident as kidnapping happens, an efficient law enforcement agency should within 48 hours apprehend the kidnappers.

“But in Nigeria,  kidnappers could hold their victims for weeks and even months and the police will still be telling families and friends of the victims that they are on top of the situation or they are tracking the kidnappers, when in fact they have no information about the whereabouts of both the victims and their captors. This is why most families and friends of such victims would prefer to pay ransom if they can afford it.

“You would not expect them to gamble with the lives of their loved ones by allowing the police to run the show. The police should be blamed for not acting fast by providing security and preventing such crimes or rescuing people when they are kidnapped. The police sometimes ask them for money when they tell them to track the kidnappers with their telephones, and some corrupt law enforcement agents may even be agents of the kidnappers.”

The former OMATA boss said that “the Nigerian security system is among the worst in the world in terms of information and intelligence gathering, trustworthiness, dedication and efficiency”. He did not stop there: “How many times have the police caught the kidnappers when they are planning and preparing to attack in any part of the country? They should emulate, OMATA. When we were in office, I budgeted more money for information gathering than what I spent on vigilante and police.

“The governors of the states have not helped matters. We wonder what some of them use their security votes to do. Most governors buy equipment and vehicles and donate to the police, but they hardly give or make provision for information gathering.

“This is where the Anambra State Government under Governor Willie Obiano is different. The governor has succeeded in providing security to the state because he is presently using the process of information gathering through the traders and vigilante and it is working. That is why Anambra State has the best security network among the states in the South East.

“The National Assembly in my humble opinion should pass a law that will set up an outfit to monitor activities of the police, that is a body to police the police and ensure the prosecution of corrupt police men.  The reason why the Nigerian Army is made up of soldiers who are disciplined is because they have Military Police Unit and Military Intelligence Unit. But in the Nigeria Police Force, the police are a law on to themselves; they are usually the judge in their own cases. The body I am suggesting to be set up should be independent of the police and answerable to the Attorney General of the Federation or the Vice President,” he stated.

One of the prominent traditional rulers in Imo State (names withheld), narrated how he was kidnapped and ferried across to a community in Ngwaland, Abia State and dumped in a forest. The royal father who said he speaks Ngwa dialect of the Igbo language fluently, informed that he made his captors to realise that they would have succeeded in killing their own sister’s son, if they allowed any harm to come his way.

He also narrated an occasion in which one of the kidnappers’ AK 47 rifle jammed and he carefully stripped, serviced and reassembled it before handing the gun back to the hoodlums.

Families of kidnapped victims

In all these, a ransom, which the royal father refused to mention, was paid before he regained his freedom. One intriguing thing about this kidnap incident was that the kidnappers mentioned a security agency (name withheld), where he was to recover his vehicle and it happened as they said.

“This lends some credence that the hoodlums may have been working closely with some of the personnel of that security agency,” the royal father told Vanguard Insight.

These are just a few instances, out of the many. A visit to any of the relations or families of the kidnap victims, reveals a lot of things.

A former top politician in one of the states in the South East geopolitical zone, aptly summed it up thus: “This is one experience I don’t wish my worst enemy. Do you know what it means to realise that your daughter is tucked away in an obscure place and surrounded by armed hoodlums? The trauma is most unbearable”.

This politician’s daughter was kidnapped and incarcerated in one of the communities in Ikeduru local council area of Imo State. The young lady narrated a touching tale about her nightmarish experience while in the kidnapper’s den in open court.

The girl gave a graphic account of how she was lured out of her father’s house and taken into captivity. She also told the court how one of the armed accomplices repeatedly raped her while in their custody. The criminals were eventually found guilty and sentenced accordingly by Hon. Justice Nonyerem Okoronkwo, who was sitting in Owerri.

The present Chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Samuel Ohiri, also passed through similar bitter experience.

The kidnappers that came for him, in his family home, shot at anybody in sight, including his father, who innocently wanted to find out what was going on! This incident happened a long time ago, but the sad memory continues to linger in the royal father’s mind.

On why many people opt to deal directly with the kidnappers instead of the security agencies, a respondent said: “What is the guarantee that the criminals will not get to know that their victim’s relations have involved the police? Why would anybody choose to endanger the life of their loved one? It is better to choose a lesser evil by negotiating directly with the kidnappers,” the man said.

Answering another question, the man said that he would prefer dealing with the the Department of State Services, DSS, instead of the police.

“The big police bosses may be fully determined to discharge their official function diligently, but you cannot also say the same thing of the personnel down the line. The police corporal serving in Imo State Police Command, who recently sold a kidnapped child for N600,000, is still fresh in our memories. This is why many Nigerians find it difficult to trust the police,” the man said.

At a recent exclusive interview with Vanguard Insight, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, urged Nigerians to trust the police. “Our job is to protect life and property. The police will not do much without the necessary cooperation of Nigerians in the fight against criminal activities,” Lakanu said.

He was not happy that some families prefer to deal directly with kidnappers instead of relying on the police to rescue their abducted relations.

Delta State has in recent time been in  the news for high profile cases of abduction, including those of monarchs and clergies. In virtually all the cases where the abductors demanded millions of Naira ransom from relatives of victims, it is an open secret that money changed hands before the victims were released. Indeed, in spite of the repeated warnings by the Delta State Police Command to relatives or associates of abducted persons against paying ransoms, investigations revealed that hardly any high profile kidnap case is resolved without money being paid.

However, knowing how much is paid on every ransom is as daunting as knowing who negotiated or paid as the victims and the payment anchors often shied away from disclosures. In an exceptional case in September 2015, Major Frederick Anesah (rtd), after 13 tortuous days in the kidnappers den, told Vanguard Insight upon regaining freedom, how his abductors collected money from his people.

Anesah narrated thus: “They said, call your people to bring the N60 million. It was later reduced to N15m, then N10m. My wife was initially involved in the negotiations. Along the line, she got sick from the anxiety and was admitted, so my friend carried on until they came down to N3m, vowing never to go lower.

Initially they collected N1.2million. An additional N1million was collected on the afternoon of  September 29  I was released.  In each of the occasions they would call my contact who didn’t see them, but they saw him. He would be ordered to move in various directions and warned not to reveal the deal to anyone till the last man collected the money. They then called to inform those holding me hostage.

“On my sixth day in their den, they brought one Alex Jumbo, resident in Sapele, who was abducted at Ekpan in the night. An ex-Chevron worker, he hails from Ogwashuku.  He had N1.8 million in his account. They took that with the ATM they found on him. They then sold his Highlander to make up his ransom to N3 million. So they released both of us together.”

Why pay ransom: Anesah believes family and friends pay ransoms for fear of a kidnapped person being tortured to death. “I owe my freedom first to the grace of God, then my military background and the cooperation of my friends and family. I think the police were aware. They told them, but I never really felt any positive commitment on their part.

“Relatives do most of the investigations and police come after ransom has been paid and victim freed most of the time. If my young child could get a GPS track on spotting where those boys were calling from, why won’t security agencies know where they were calling from? It’s unbelievable.”

When police also paid ransom: 

Even the police who advise against the payment of ransom reportedly paid an undisclosed sum when the husband of an officer with the Nigeria Police Force was  abducted by unknown gunmen in December 2016 along Eku Road, Ethiope East council area of Delta State. According to the wife of the victim, then of the Warri ‘B’ Division,  the hoodlums demanded a ransom of N10 million while promising that: “We no go harm am. Go rally for the money. We too wan do Christmas well.”

DPO of B-Division, Warri Area Command, Eyo Anietie, and  Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Andrew Aniamaka,  when contacted then declined comment on the incident. But a police source revealed at the release of the victim that: “His madam dropped small thing before dem leave her husband. Wetin she go do na; she no wan make dem kill her husband.”

Political motivation

At Olomoro, Isoko South council, where the  Special Assistant to the state governor on Community Development, Chief Avura Awheme was recently abducted, a community source said the family coughed out N5million and the victim is yet to be released by the kidnappers.

“They used Avura’s phone to call and demanded for N30 million; the person who picked said N1 million and they cut the call. When another call was established, the demand was negotiated to N5 million. The money was paid about four days ago, but the kidnappers have still not released him.

“What would the helpless family and community do. This is one respected political leader we have. He had even gone to settle a communal dispute and is popularly gunning for chairmanship of our council. We cannot toy with his life, and are worried that he has not been released after paying N5million. There is tension and this could spark a wider trouble if it is found out that his kidnap is politically motivated,” the community source said.

Ese, a public affairs commentator and close friend to a kidnap victim said: “The fear of losing a loved one is the overriding reason relatives and friends negotiate and pay ransom to secure freedom for the victims. The police are so pretentious and never active in investigating to secure freedom for victims, especially for non-public figures whose cases go unreported. Rather than lose a loved one, possibly a breadwinner, people are ready to pay any thing, even if it means selling valuables, to appease abductors to release their victims.

Scores of   kidnap   cases have been recorded in Ogun State but with conflicting claims by security agencies    and families of those kidnapped on the roles played in securing the release of the victims. While the security agencies gave the impression of having lived up to expectations in rescuing the victims,   the families of the victims have so many bitter stories to tell.

Those who spoke with our reporter said they had been warned against making a public  disclosures of what transpired. They also warned that they would deny making the statement to our reporter if anything goes wrong. So attempts to speak with some   of the victims or their families proved largely abortive as most of them   refused to speak on their experiences.

But the few who craved anonymity told Vanguard Insight that   they had to part with a lot of money before the captives were released by their captors.

It will be recalled that on January 14, 2017 gunmen kidnapped eight persons at the premises of the Nigerian Turkish International College, NTIC, in the   State. That was the most recent case.

There were earlier cases that captured public attention because of their high profile nature. For instance on December 4,2012 a gang of kidnappers struck in Ogun   State and   kidnapped   the wife of a member of the State House of Assembly, Samson Onademuren. There was also the case on April 27, 2016, of a former Minister of State for Education, Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, who was   kidnapped by armed men alongside her security aide along the Igbogila Road in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Then in June 2016, the wife of the former Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Mrs Bola Oshin was abducted. Also in July 19, 2016 the wife of a member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon. Adejuwon Oyenuga, was kidnapped at Odoladelepo, in Ijebu East Local Government Area of the state.

Not to be forgotten was the case of Mrs Rachael Hazzan, the   mother of a former Deputy Speaker,   Remmy Hazzan, who was also kidnapped at her country home in Omu, Odogbolu Local Government Area some months back. The list appears endless. But Vanguard Insight gathered that despite being warned by security agencies not to pay ransom as demanded by the kidnappers, most of the families reportedly paid huge amount of money to secure the release of their kidnapped family members.

Unconfirmed report has it that following the recent kidnapping of eight students and staff of the Turkish school,  the families had to part with N50 million before the kidnappers released their victims. Though, the Ogun State Commissioner of Police,   Ahmed Iliyasu, denied payment of ransom, a source told our reporter that the release of the students and staff was facilitated by the alleged payment of   ransom.

The release of others, including wives of lawmakers in the state,   the Senator and the mother of a lawmaker, was reported as having also been hugely aided by the payment of undisclosed amount of money as ransom. Vanguard Insight could not get confirmation from some of the families,   but sources close to them   hinted that   most of the victims got their freedom as a result of the payment of ransom.

Payment of ransom: Those who spoke with our reporter explained that they decided to look for the money to pay the kidnappers to save the lives of their family members. Some said that at a stage,  even the security   agents advised them to pay the ransom while they negotiated with the kidnappers. Citing an example in this regard,   the source said the recent kidnapping of the eight students and staff of the Turkish school showed that the security agencies did   not rescue the victims, but that the kidnappers, having got the ransom, thereafter released the victims at a designated place.

Lagos State

Lagos State had from 2012 become a hotbed of hostage-taking activities. Between 2013 and 2016, abduction for ransom had escalated in the state, occurring at an alarming frequency. It soon created a palpable feeling of insecurity among the populace who cried out to government for urgent intervention.

Obviously in response to that, the current administration, led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode,  moved to reassure Lagosians of government’s firm resolve to deal with the problem. This response was firmly articulated when Governor Ambode on February 1, 2017, signed into law the state’s Kidnapping Prohibition Bill 2016. The major thrust of the law is the prescription of death penalty for convicted kidnappers whose victims die in custody or in the course of being abducted. Barring death, those convicted of kidnapping or participating in hostage-taking get life imprisonment as their due punishment.

Lagos is not the first to promulgate a law which prescribes the death penalty for kidnapping. Other states such as Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Edo, Kano, Ogun and Oyo had done so earlier. Bauchi has since followed suit. But it still remains to be seen whether this law will effectively curtail the seeming rampaging kidnappers who continue to give the impression that they are above the law as past cases of this form of  criminal exploits have shown.

It is also an established fact that families or relatives of most of those abducted within and around Lagos paid specified ransoms before their loved ones were released. Though they would gladly have provided details of the negotiation and transactions involved but could not do so due to what they described as security reasons and fear of reprisals from kidnappers who  warned them of the dire consequences of doing so.

For example, the younger sister to one Mrs Gbemisola Okuwakemi, who was kidnapped at about 6pm of Tuesday, June 30, 2015 confessed that the family had to pay N2 million for her release. She explained that her sister, a resident of Agodo via Ogijo-Ikorodu, was on her way from church when her abductors trailed and abducted her at her gate.

“The kidnappers contacted her husband and initially demanded for N5million. But after negotiations through phone calls, we agreed at a particular amount which was taken to an agreed spot and she was released immediately. We had to pay because the kidnappers repeatedly threatened to kill her if we did not cooperate.

Kidnappers pay accomplices: So, despite the assurance from the Police about being able to rescue her, we paid the ransom because we cannot toy with the life of our sister who related to us through phone calls that she was continually exposed to danger. You needed to pity her because she could not change her clothes, take her bath or eat decent food throughout her abduction,” Gbemi’s sister narrated.

Another victim, Uzi (not real name), was kidnapped at White Sand, Isheri-Oshun in Alimosho local council area. She said that N1.5m was paid to her abductors before she regained her freedom. ‘’What you people don’t know is that the kidnappers need a lot of money to pay various groups of accomplices like medical team, caterers, transporters, personal guards, messengers, cleaners and gardeners.

“I had to mount pressure on my family to raise money by whatever means for my release. This is because the degree of punishment or maltreatment meted out to you depends on how fast or timely your family can pay the ransom.

“Though policemen from Isheri Police Station tried to discourage my family from paying, but we knew that listening to the police would only amount to a death sentence for me from the kidnappers,” she informed.

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