One of the six students abducted from Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, said they made three attempts to escape from their captors while they were held in the creek.
The victim, who chose not to be named, said they made the decision to escape after the abductors collected ransom from their parents yet refused to release them. He said on their first attempt, they all agreed to run, but because they did not know the terrain they decided to stay back so as not to endanger their lives.
Recalling the second attempt, he said: “The second attempt was when we heard that they wanted to use us for sacrifice to appease their gods, we all came together and said we were going to run, but we could not make it out of fear.”
The third attempt might have been successful, except the father of the boy warned them of the dangers involved and asked them to stay put when the hostage got hold of a phone and called him.
The boy said: “On that fateful day, the kidnappers had gone out, but the guard who was with us in the camp had slept off. I went to where he was sleeping and took his phone to call my father to ask if we could escape.
“When I called him, he was surprised and warned us not to take such risk because we could get killed in the process. Aside that, we did not care about the consequences in as much we were out of the creek. But, again, we dropped the idea because one of us was reluctant to support it, coupled with my father’s advice.”
He spoke of how they were beaten by their abductors when their parents refused to pay the ransom as promised.
“When they called our parents to demand another ransom but our parents refused to bring the money as promised,” he revealed.
“That night, they brought us out and started beating us and put their phone on speaker for our parents to hear our cries. They also threatened to sacrifice us to their gods. The night they beat us, one of us started vomiting blood while the second person also fell sick.
“When the person they assigned to guard us noticed the two of them, he immediately informed the leader of the kidnappers who brought a nurse the following day to take care of those who took ill.”
He said one of the sick boys only got worse and another boy would pray for him to get better. This got him the nickname “prayer warrior” from their abductors.
“When the kidnappers noticed the way he prayed, they nicknamed him pastor. I was called the general because I was the only one who confronted them when we were not satisfied with what they gave us. Our first week in the creek was hell, we slept on palm fronds. We also urinated and defecated in the open,” the student said.
“But when our parents promised to pay them, they started taking good care of us. They gave us Eba and crayfish for two weeks, but most of the food they gave us was always their leftover.”
The victim told New Telegraph that it was a bitter experience living in the creek for two months. He, however, said when the kidnappers noticed that police were after them, they were moved from Lagos to another creek in Ondo State.
“A week before we were released, the kidnappers told us that we should thank the Ondo State government for intervening in the matter. From then we didn’t sleep at night, we were always praying for God’s intervention. A night before our release, the leader of the kidnappers came into our camp and appealed to us that we should forgive them for abducting us, that it was the situation of the country that pushed them into crime. They promised never to return to our school again.
“Very early on the day they wanted to release us, they gave us clean water to bath for first time and asked us to prepare that they were handing us over to the Ondo State deputy governor and the state commissioner of police who later brought us to Lagos.”
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