The menace of kidnapping in the country has become a worrisome development that has continued to send fear across the land. The tales of how suspected Fulani Herdsmen have resorted to kidnapping has become so recurring that in every part of the country, many stories of the deadly group keeps exposing the parochial state of the nation’s security architecture.
For OzougwuChukwuemekaFrankline, a staff with an Estate development company, he never believed that a time will come when he will be forced to face the kind of fate he experienced in the hands of suspected Fulani Herdsmen Kidnappers in Enugu.
At first, he never believed that such a thing is happening in Enugu, he recalled how he used to get bored over the story of a visiting Priest in his Parish who always tells them the story of his days in the hands of kidnappers, littledid he know that his own day was coming.
Ozougwu Chukwuemeka Franklinis a native ofAbo in Udi Local Government Area and works with an Estate company called Tony Frank Estate, Nigeria Limited.
Few days ago, Ozougwu Chukwuemeka and two of his colleagues where rescued from the hands of a deadly kidnap gang that picked them at Ugwuomu in Amorji, Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Chukwuemeka and his colleagues were however let off the hook by the kidnappers who were suspected Fulani Herdsmen after parting with 2.5 million naira (two million five hundred thousand naira) as ransom for their release.
To paint a clear picture of what happened and what transpired within the 5 days they spent in the kidnappers den which he described as the 5 most horrible days of his life; Ozougwu Chukwuemeka while narrating said;
“We bought a land at Ugwuomu in Amorji and we have been working there for about two weeks now.
“Throughout those days, the Fulanis do come by to feed their cows. We were working on a Friday and as usual they came around,but this time, without their cows. When we were done, we packed up our equipment and washed up. We were about leaving when we heard gunshots.
“At first we were confused. I ran out, only for me to run into them instead. They caught us (I and my colleagues) and started flogging us with machetes. They took us to a bush path when night came, walked and walked, covering a very long distance. If I can remember correctly, we crossed up to five rivers. We kept walking till it was 4am. Only then we were allowed to rest for a bit. We seized the opportunity to ask what the problem was and they said they needed 100million naira from us.
“We tried making them understand that we didn’t have such amount of money but they remained adamant and threatened to kill us. The next morning, they agreed to let us call the office and let them inon what was happening and we did. The office said they had just 5 hundred thousand naira. The news only made them keep threatening to kill us. At some point, we were asked to bring 50 million naira. They almost killed one of us,but we pleaded and agreed to pay. Their price kept coming down to 20 million naira and then, to 10million. We had to make calls to be able to raise 5 million naira which they agreed to take.
“It was on a Sunday, so we agreed the transaction would be made the next day being Monday. When we couldn’t get the money,they made serious threats to kill us this time.
“We let the leader know we were to sell a land in order to raise the money and surprisingly, he took pity on us. He then asked that we just brought the money at hand (which was 2.5 million naira).
“Someone was sent to deliver the money to them while we were kept somewhere with some of them.
“We were set free after some time. They even gave us 10,000naira for transport while we were leaving. It was when we left that we realized we were at Umudingbevillage. We stayed there for 5 days in all.
When asked if the person that delivered the ransom came with some police men, Chukwuemeka answered in affirmative; “Yes, the person who came to deliver the money came with the police.”
He further said that after their release, they made useful statements in the Police anti-kidnapping office in Enugu. However, out of excitement on their safe return, their boss threw a party in celebration.
He called for vigilance and advised the security apparatus of the country to work more with intelligence. According to him, they only operate in the evening so that the time they pick you and take you to the bush, night will come and it will be had to track them.
He revealed that the suspected herdsmenkidnappers where not concerned about the threat of being caught by Police, as a matter of fact, they didn’t see the police as a real threat, however, he said they warned them sternly not to put a GPS tracker in the money being paid as ransom to them.
He revealed that the way they moved in the bush showed that the herdsmen have mastered the road and they operate like Nigeria especially Igbo land is a conquered territory and unfortunately the said Fulani guys have taken over the bush in our communities. He further called for strategic security measures to counter their moves because they are well organized and understand very well the terrain of the environment.