CityNews Nigeria reports that the Police in Ebonyi State yesterday rescued the Village Head of Oshiagu Amia-Ngbo, Ngbo Community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, Mr. John Nnaji, and four others who were abducted on Thursday by gunmen who wore military uniform.
In Ogun State, Police also rescued three victims of a kidnap syndicate who were abducted along Siun/Ajura road in Ogere Remo area of the state, just as search for two Chinese abducted from their Poultry and Fishery Farm in Oba community by gunmen on Wednesday continued.
Ebonyi State Police spokesperson, Loveth Odah, confirmed the rescue in the state in a statement yesterday.
She said the victims were rescued on Friday by the Police with the collaboration of the local vigilante in the area.
The spokesperson expressed dismay that the villagers initially failed to report the abduction.
She said she had to call the Divisional Police Officer from the area when she got wind of it and the DPO wasn’t aware at the time because the matter wasn’t reported at any police station.
She said: “Unknown persons kidnapped the victims on Thursday in the community, but they have been rescued by the men of the Nigerian Police.
“I use this opportunity to advise members of the public to imbibe the spirit of giving information on crimes to the police as soon as they happen.
“Imagine, a village head was kidnapped with three others since 2 p.m. on Thursday and nobody came to report it to the Police.
“Well, the good news is that they have been rescued; the victims are now with the Divisional Police Officer in that area and I believe they will tell the police what actually happened.
“The victims were rescued in the same community from their abductors, who fled on sighting the police. Surveillance is already on them and the perpetrators will be fished out,’’ Odah said.
She urged the general public to be security conscious and to support the efforts of the police in the fight against criminality.
“Police cannot do it alone; we must join together to fight insecurity; it is a collective responsibility because we cannot do this without the support of the public.
“The public should be playing their part to achieve adequately secured society for the citizens,’’ she advised.
It was gathered that the gunmen who came on motor bikes in their numbers left many persons injured before leaving the affected community.
A member of the community, Mr. Amos Otubo said they were relaxing at their village square when the gunmen stormed the village in a commando-like fashion and abducted the five men
“On arrival on bikes, the gunmen were seen putting on military uniforms. They felt relaxed when they saw them, thinking that they were military men on special duty considering the crisis in Effium Community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
“We were still at the village square taking fresh air and discussing when we suddenly started hearing gunshots everywhere in the village and people started running to take cover.”
According to Amos, while I was where I was hiding, I was able to spot one person’s face who is a member of the village. He was the one that led the operation from one house to another.
”The incident that happened in my village today was so terrible. Our village head was kidnapped by unknown gunmen who came with different motor bikes into the village.
‘When we saw them coming, my friend, who sat next to me, said their movement was strange to him and that he was no longer comfortable; that he wants to go home but I told him to stay back that nothing will happen.
“Not quite long, we heard people screaming on top of their voices, running from one place to another and also calling their children to go and hide in a safe place.
“Me and my friend had to take cover too because the village had been thrown into confusion. The gunmen continued shooting for about 45 minutes to one hour before they abducted our Village Head and four other persons.
“They would have abducted more if not that the villagers were shouting and screaming on top of their voices. So, they decided to leave with the persons they so far abducted.
“The suspects were equally aware that the youths could mobilise to wage war against them, so they left hastily. We are now living in fear and tension because nobody knows what will happen by tomorrow or when next they will come back.
The gunmen also robbed people of their personal belongings before taking their victims away.
Before the victims were elected, a close source to the family of the Village Head explained that one of the abductees made contact with his family.
According to the source, “One of the abductees said they were taken to Igwelede-oha in Okposhi Ngbo Community in Ohaukwu LGA of the State. The kidnappers’ hideout is in Ejilewe in Ukwagba Ngbo Primary School in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
“The Police had told me to report the matter so that they can take proactive action towards the recovery of the victims,” the source said.
Before the rescue of the victims, the State Commissioner of Police, CP Aliyu Garba, in a terse text message said police has swung into action on the matter.
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, had, while inaugurating the Amotekun Corps yesterday in Abeokuta, lamented the “spate of incidents of kidnapping in the state in the last one week or so with Nigerians and Chinese nationals as victims.”
Abiodun said that through combined efforts of the security agencies working with locals, some of the victims have been rescued whilst some were still being held by the kidnappers, assuring that no effort would be spared to rescue safely the remaining victims.
However, yesterday the Ogun State Police Command said it has rescued three victims and gave their names as Jibril Afolabi, Alhaji Amusat Taofeek and Balikis Mohammed(female), explaining however that the search for the abducted Chinese expatriates persists.
The Command’ Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the three were coming from Ilorin, Kwara State, and heading to Owode Egbado when their vehicle was double – crossed at about 3 am by gunmen who dragged the three out of the car and herded them into the bush while other passengers escaped.
The Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, who received information about the kidnap, directed the Area Commander for Sagamu to mobilise men from all the divisions within the area and go after the kidnappers.
The victims were rescued safely without ransom paid and they have been escorted to their destination in Owode Egbado.