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My Experience In The Hands Of Kidnappers

My Experience In The Hands Of Kidnappers

My Experience In The Hands Of Kidnappers

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 started like any other day for Alero Collins, a single career woman of 28 years old. She woke up in the morning around 6am and headed to her place of work in Victoria Island from her humble abode in Oworonshoki.


At work, nothing was out of place, it was just another working day, one she begins around 8am in the morning to usually 8pm in the evening. As a housekeeper in a posh hotel, everyday life isn’t about much excitement, more often than not, the day is usually dreary room calls of cleaning.


Perhaps, if she had known what laid ahead in store for her that fateful Wednesday she would have elected to skip the day and have it off even if it means losing the day’s pay which amounts to paltry one thousand naira only.


Her monthly salary is just thirty thousand naira and going by the fact that she works thirty days a month, apart from one day off she gets on weekly basis, her daily wage comes to a thousand naira per day. In fact, Alero decided to take that job to support herself because she has nobody to support her. Her parents have long been dead. Her older siblings could hardly support themselves and family, let alone adding another mouth to feed. How she could turn out to be a target for kidnappers is a question Alero has been asking herself.


After the close of work on that fateful Wednesday at around 8pm in the night she made for Ahmadu Bello Way to get a bus to Obalende where she would then join another bus to take her to Oworonshoki but on getting to the nearest bus stop on Ahmadu Bello Way close to Tiamiyu Savage Street she met a long line of commuters waiting at the bus stop. This, according to her made her called her Boyfriend, John, who also works close to her office to come and pick her with his car. John responded pronto, to pick her in his Camry car, and as lovers usually do, he did not drive off directly out of the island they made for Musa Yar’’Adua street where they parked to have a gist.


“In less than thirty minutes two guys came out of nowhere and surrounded us. One came to my side and the other went to John’s side. They asked us to come down and go to the back of the car and when I tried to challenge them they both produced one gun each and bundled me and John to the floor of the back seat. The moment we entered the back seat another one joined them and took the wheel of the car. One stayed in the front with the driver and one sat at the back with his gun over our heads. Then I heard them shouting to somebody to move. I later learned it was their own car and it was following us.

As they started driving they immediately asked for our phones. I gave them my Blackberry phone and they asked for my password and I gave it to them. We kept driving for sometime and I think they stopped somewhere at a Filling Station to buy fuel and went on again. The one at the back with us kept threatening us that he would blow off our heads if we tried to raise our heads or hands as John was trying to. At a point he banged the gun on his head, warning him he would shoot him and throw him out of the car.


Suddenly, they stopped again and the car skidded like they were trying to overtake somebody. One in the front got out and I heard gunshots. Moment later, another victim was brought in to join us. He was a middle-aged man who later told me he was coming from his office in Ikeja with his driver when they rounded them up. He said the driver got away while they picked him. He was picked around Maryland. While me and John remained on the floor of the car’s back seat the man was allowed to seat at the back but then another man joined us at the back, making it two men who now flanked the man, and they asked the man to close his eyes or they would kill him” she narrated.


Alero said they drove on for a very long time. Even though she could not make out where they were at any point in time she felt they passed many checkpoints and she was sure they stopped again to buy fuel on two or three more occasions. According to her, the car eventually stopped at a spot too dark to recognise or described and it was at that point they decided to blindfold them.


“For me, they didn’t blindfold me. One of them only used his hands to cover my face and asked me not to open them. For John and the other man, they tore off John’s shirt and used it to blindfold them. They took the belt of my high-waist skirt to tie them. Then, they took us into what looked like a room. The moment my body touched the wall of the room I knew we were in an uncompleted building because the wall wasn’t even plastered. Later that night one of them brought a cloth to tie around my eyes.


All along, while they were driving them to their hideout Alero’s mind was in a turmoil because she didn’t know whether they have been abducted by ritualists or kidnappers. She could not fathom why, all she knew and felt was a cold sickening feeling building up inside her. A cold feeling of fear that soon developed into fever and morbid fear. But she was not to wait too long before she got the verdict of their abductors and when she did she knew she was in a very serious trouble.


According to her, she said one of them came back to the room and announced point blank to them that they have been kidnapped and that they would collect 30 million naira ransom on their heads each. She said he told them to think of who to call to come and pay the money or they would all be killed.


“I knew I have nobody who could even raise one hundred thousand in my family and I told them I have nobody who could raise such money. The man who I later recognise as their leader told me it was a simple thing, that what they would do is to sell me in spare parts. He said they have specialists who would come and cut out my liver, my kidney, my heart and other parts and they would send it to Malaysia for sale.


Then another one came in again and told the leader he found the picture of a woman who married a White man on my phone. The leader asked me to give them her number whether she would bail me out. When they called her they said she didn’t respond positively and they started beating me with chains. They also asked the other two, John and the man to call somebody who could come and pay their ransoms. When John suggested he could raise two hundred thousand naira for them they beat him mercilessly, saying did he think they risked their lives for two hundred thousand naira.


They were left alone that night to think up names that could come to their rescue. Alero said sleep could not come because they were bound and gagged. The room in which they were kept was in pitch darkness. All her thoughts that they were being held in some lonely spot in a faraway bush were soon discounted when she heard the dawn call-to-prayer from a mosque. As she was not aware of time that gave her the idea of the time. Later, she said she heard noises of school children, playing and shouting somewhere not too far off. At the same time she heard someone hawking palm oil. All along the noises of vehicles zooming by was always in the background to give an impression they were held in a booming community not too far away from an express road.


“To confirm my suspicion that we were in a populated area, some guys called on them that morning, saying they were Omo Onile (landowners) that the guys who held us should settle them. They were speaking in Yoruba, saying ‘Omo Igbo ma gbe yen wa’. We were hearing what they were saying from where we were until they took them away from within our earshot.


After they took the Yoruba boys who came to collect their entitlement away they came back to us and asked if we had made up our minds. Later, which would be around two because the mosque caller had called again, they asked us to make up our minds who would die first and they started beating us again. It was at this point the man with us asked them to call his wife. When they called his wife while beating the man in the background for the wife to hear the woman eventually agreed to raise N1.5 million naira and they agreed to have the money dropped at an AP Filling Station. They told her if she brings anybody or police they would kill her husband.


It was after the deal was struck with the man’s wife that one of them attempted to rape me by taking me into another room. He was just about undressing me when the ‘Capo’, the leader of the gang, as they called him came in and got really mad. He asked me if he had already raped me and I told him he was about to but he didn’t believe me. He said they have a covenant not to rape their victims that he felt something has spoilt in their charms that was why he came in. He then started abusing me that we, women are evil and bad, that his man raped me and I didn’t want to tell him. All along, the man stood by the side and the only thing I could hear him saying was ‘’Apia Capo’’


By the evening of that Thursday when some of them have gone to pick the money some of them stayed with us with the one accused of raping me. When it was very dark and they hadn’t returned one of them asked the man to give him his wife number and he called her to make sure the money has been dropped. Then he told the man not to tell others when they returned that he too had called the wife. The one who tried to rape then told me not worry that they would release all of us as soon as they have the N1.5 million naira.


They later returned and we could hear them from another location in the building how they were haggling and arguing over the money. The leader then came and asked us for the first time what we wanted to eat. He said we should name anything we wanted. They were already drinking and John asked for a bottle of Star beer and cigarette. Again, I noticed the beer they brought was very chilled.


They released us late Friday night and took us in another car. Though I could only identified them by their voices I realised the people that picked us were different from the people that took us away to be released. They drove us to a bush and left us there. It was from there that we found our way. They had already given us N500 naira each for transport. As we came out of the bush we notice a church with light not far away from us and we trekked to the church.

The name of the church was ‘Celestial Church of Christ, Solution Ground. We found some people there and we told them of our predicament. From them we learnt we were in Epe and they took us to the opposite side of the road where we took a bus to Ajah. Then it was early morning. From Ajah everybody went their separate ways.


Me and John incidented the case at Bar Beach Police Station. John was particularly worried because of his car even after the gang has assured him he would find his car. The police took up the case and asked us to come back next day. However, I could not make it because immediately I got home I fell very ill and since then I have not been to the Police Station and I have not heard from the Police either”.


Me and John incidented the case at Bar Beach Police Station. John was particularly worried because of his car even after the gang has assured him he would find his car. The police took up the case and asked us to come back next day. However, I could not make it because immediately I got home I fell very ill and since then I have not been to the Police Station and I have not heard from the Police either”.

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