News

April 14, 2024

Two kidnapped deaf and dumb girls abused, released after we paid N5.5m ransom – Edo family

Plateau community

*Says security agencies lethargic in their response

By Ozioruva Aliu

THE sleepy community known as Oke Old in Sabongida-Ora, Etsako West local government area of Edo State was thrown into mourning and anxiety as kidnappers suspected to be criminal Fulani invaded a feed mill plant for their criminal activity and at the end of their operation, two deaf and dumb girls were abducted but the trainee manager identified as Elisha Udejei was not so lucky as he shot to death at close range. The community has a school and a church.

While Udejei, a young graduate of the University of Ibadan was killed, an eye witness who is also a worker on the farm and identified as Emmanuel Atafo abandoned his motorbike and ran to safety when he heard the gunshot fired at Udejei.
While Udejei was buried a few days after the incident, the kidnapped girls spent eight days in their abductors’, abused and were only released after N5.5m ransom was paid by their parents. They are 33 and 28 years old

The owner of the farm who did not want his name mentioned for security reasons said he took the girls to Lagos where they were trained in a special school in Oyo State before going back to the community to work in the factory after they graduated.

He said the kidnappers used the phones of the girls to contact their parents and negotiated for their release. They were kidnapped in Sabongida-Ora and released somewhere along Afuze road in Owan East local government area.

There is a strong suspicion that an insider may have led the kidnappers to the facility and that from the negotiation with the kidnappers, they claimed that they had sponsors who insisted that they must not collect less than N5 million.

The kidnap

The father of the one of kidnapped girls (name withheld) narrated the situation to Sunday Vanguard “It was on the 1st of April that they were attacked in their place of work and one of them was shot dead then one escaped but two of the females who are physically challenged were abducted by the kidnappers and taken into the bus, they were with them from Monday till Monday, they were calling for ransom, they started by saying that it is N10 million each that is N20m for the two of them then during the negotiation, we begged and they finally agreed on N5m per person but we said we don’t have this money and they finally accepted N5.5m for the two of them and that was the ransom that we finally paid before they were released. You know what it means for two physically challenged people to be in the midst of hardened criminals in the bush for eight days.

Security

“When this thing happened, one of them that managed to escape got to a place where you have a military checkpoint, he got to them, but he said they didn’t show much concern about the story he was telling them, they were just questioning him here and there so he sad he left them and went to tell the people what happened. The following morning, everybody went there, the soldiers said their Commandant was coming and he never came. We were there as early as 8: am and we were there till 6: pm, there was no effort from them whatsoever even the police did not do anything, they were busy extorting money from the people, go and do this, go and bring that, let us go to the mortuary to go and see the person that you said they killed.
“The annoying part of it is that it was on Friday, this thing happened on Monday that they now said they want to go and comb the bush and it was like, what are you combing, something happened on Monday and it is now Friday that you want to go for bush combing?”

State of the girls

“When they were released after we paid the ransom, we took them to the hospital that very Monday then by Tuesday they were discharged, they are fine just that they were traumatized. We are just trying to console them and anytime they ask after their colleague that was killed we were initially telling them he was fine but we have to let them know that he died and that increased their trauma.

From medical reports, the issue of abuse could not be ruled out. Imagine small beautiful girls though they are physically challenged being in the midst of hardened criminals, drug addicts, for eight days in the bush so that couldn’t be ruled out.”

Release

“That was another funny aspect of the whole thing, one person has to go with the money to go and pay ransom in cash. We searched here and there to raise the money then the person who wanted to go and pay the ransom was told to go to Afuze area, at a time they will tell him go to a particular location, you will see police checkpoint there, they were giving him directives so he finally got to the place where they finally sighted him and directed him to ride the motorcycle into the bush with his bike then they got to a place where he met four of them and then the two girls.

“When they were going to pay the ransom, they instructed that when we are coming with the money, we should come with one pack of predator, one pack of malt and one pack of fearless drink so we bought the three items added to the money for them. They handed over the two girls to the man who went to pay the ransom. It was traumatic.”

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