The kidnapping of six passengers on the Benin-Ore road on Wednesday seems to be the product of connivance between officials of the transport company and the kidnappers, some of the passengers now say.
To worsen matters, the police, rather than undertake an investigation, simply encouraged panicking families to pay ransoms. The vehicle, which is on the fleet of the Warri-based transportation company, Greener Line, was seized near Okada village on the expressway.
The passengers were released only after family members paid their abductors. But one of the passengers who contacted us and wants to remain anonymous said the Toyota Sienna car ever came in contact with any form of obstruction on the highway, contrary to the stories being peddled by Greener Line.
The passengers said they had their suspicions, as the vehicle started moving unusually slowly after it departed Benin on the way to Lagos. They were then abruptly abducted somewhere after Okada village in Edo State, as the kidnappers who emerged from the bush, intercepted the car. They described the kidnapping as easy because the driver of the vehicle could have easily sped off from the scene.
Equally curious, the driver and one particular passenger were quickly set free while the victims were told to contact their families for ransom payment. Greener Line, however, did not offer any help or even contact the families of the abducted passengers, falsely claiming that the bus did not have a manifest.
Our source stated that when the kidnappers made contact with the families, one mother called Greener Line and spoke with the manager who simply said, “People are disturbing me,” and then switched off his phone. Some family members then went to Greener Line’s Warri motor park location and requested for the manifest in order to make a formal report to the police, but they refused to give her one, insisting they did not have one.
The source stated that the Nigerian police also did nothing to help the victims, tacitly encouraging them to pay whatever ransom the kidnappers demanded. When SaharaReporters contacted the operations manager of Greener Line, Joseph Osawe, he stated that the company could not rule out the possibility that some members of his staff may have connived with the kidnappers.