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Family recounts ordeal in kidnappers’ hands

Omeiza, while still basking in the euphoria of having his wife, Rachael and daughter, Deborah back from the clutches of their abductors, explained how the…

Omeiza, while still basking in the euphoria of having his wife, Rachael and daughter, Deborah back from the clutches of their abductors, explained how the few days that both were kidnapped were the most traumatic period of his life. He also explained how he met his house in total chaos when he arrived from work on that day, saying that his family was void of its ebullience and radiance as the usual welcome that was supposed to start from his gate was missing.

He met the of guards his house locked up in a store room within the premises of his residence while his wife and daughter were not seen anywhere around the house which was rather unusual. Left in the dark with nowhere to run to, the disorganised owner of Brighter Model School, a private school in Minna, had to succumb to prayers as his mind pondered seamlessly and kept imagining of what must have happened.

“At about eleven in the night, I had a call asking me if I had seen my wife and daughter and I said no because I left their safety in the hands of God. It was then it dawned on me that I was in for a bigger problem I never imagined.

“Later that night, I received another call from the kidnappers asking me to pay the sum of N20m or risk losing my wife and daughter and I told them I had no problem with that provided they are left alive,” Omeiza said.

Mrs Rachael Omeiza said the kidnappers drove them all through the night to Abuja where they were taken to an undisclosed location to spend what was left of the hours of that day. In what had the semblance of a poorly-written movie, she recalled how they found themselves among their captors in far away Warri, saying that was when she realised they had a potent network and not an amateur group as she had earlier imagined.

She recalled how she placated her abductors to reduce the ransom price to N6m amidst intense debate and threats from the ferocious gun-wielding kidnappers, saying she was surprised when they finally obliged her.

“My husband paid N6m into my Oceanic Bank account which my abductors ordered me to collect for them to pay for our ransom. But unknown to them, they failed to realize that such amount of money cannot easily be withdrawn without resorting to anti graft law.

“It was at that point that the Joint (Military) Task Force (JTF) were invited by the Delta Police Command to rescue me from the hands of the kidnappers.

Rachael said she left Warri towards evening travelling all night till she got to Minna on Sunday morning without her abductors having any idea of where she was. With the ransom money still trapped in the bank and one hostage missing, one would expect a serious-minded kidnapper to shred in piecemeal the remaining captive in their dragnet; instead, the hostage-takers became philanthropic.

Miss Deborah Omeiza told Weekly Trust that one of the abductors who covered his face with a shroud treated her like a queen instead of the usual rape or other physical torture. She explained how they made her hair, bought her clothes and even allowed her to attend Sunday service at a Redeem Christian Church in of Warri, adding that they allowed her to worship with only two of the abductors watching from a far distance.

Why didn’t she scream to attract attention,” she said she had so much confidence in her abductors, especially as one of them had earlier promised that she would be released the next day.

“From the way they were taking care of me and how one of them confided in me that I was going to be released the next day, I decided to stay calm fearing that I might provoke the worst for myself if I tried to run.

“I’m thankful to God they kept their promise as they took me to the motor park the next day and even gave me extra four thousand naira to take care of my feeding on the way back home”, she said.

Mysterious at it may sound, all parties involved in the kidnap saga, excluding the perpetrators of the crime, have denied any form of money transfer to get mother and child released. Many people are still of the strong opinion that the family is only trying to play safe, especially in returning a favour since the abductees were treated kindly while they played guests to their abductors. The police said it took high level intelligence network to effect their release.

Mr Mike Zoukumor, the Niger State Commissioner of Police in a telephone interview, said no money exchanged hands before the hostages were released, claiming that it was the joint effort of the police in Niger and Delta states, including help from the JTF and the bank that ensured that the duo came home in one piece.

Zoukumor, however, regretted the lack of cooperation from Global Systems Mobile (GSM) service providers for lack of assistance in the matter, saying if they had assisted in tracing their position, the culprits would have been arrested near Lokoja, Kogi State capital.