Marvelous Omobobola, a National Diploma 1 student of Agricultural Engineering, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, speaks to TONI UFOH on his ordeals with kidnappers who abducted him and two other persons on Saturday while on his way to his hostel from school
Please tell us who you are
My name is Marvelous Omobobola. I am a student of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos State. I am studying Agricultural Engineering and I am in ND 1.
Can you tell us how you got to be kidnapped?
It happened around 4 pm on Saturday. I went to school to collect my SIWES (Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme) letter after which I would get a log book for it but unfortunately, the lady that would give it to us was not around. So, I had to go back home, so, I boarded a Keke (tricycle) in front of the school gate going to Odogunyan where my hostel is located. Three of us sat at the back and the driver and his companion were in front. There was traffic and they told us that they wanted to beat the traffic so the driver passed a short cut. When we got to one place which is a road I am not familiar with because I do pass other roads down to Odogunyan from school every day, I told them this place does not look like Odogunyan Barracks side. When we challenged them again, they said that they just want to get us to Odogunyan. It got to a stage where I just saw that we were already inside a bus. I could not understand how we got there. They asked me for my phone, my account number, and the ATM that was with me. Everywhere I go, my ATM is always with me. So they withdrew all the money that they found in my account after asking me for the PIN. They also made me give them my phone’s password and BVN number. They asked me where I was living, what my parents do for a living, and the job that my elder brother is doing. They also asked me who I can call for money for them to release me and I told them that my parents are poor people. They later called my mother and asked for the ransom.
When you found yourself in the bus, where did they take you and the others to?
I was left alone inside a room and asked to sit on a cement block overnight. When I peeped through the window of the room where I was kept, I saw that everywhere was just bush and broken bottles littered everywhere. I also saw cement blocks around too. I also heard the sound of birds chirping on Sunday afternoon when I was being taken out. Later, as we were going, I started seeing more buildings as we neared the road though I didn’t know the place.
How many people did you see in the place you were taken to?
Though I cannot recall the total number of all of us there, if my memory serves me right, we should be about 20 in there.
Can you tell us what happened while you were with the kidnappers?
They told us to undress and once you are naked, they will point to a particular room and say the person should go into the room. So, when I started to undress, they saw a cross on my waist and one of them asked me if I am a member of the Celestial Church of Christ twice I said yes, so they pointed to another room and told me to go and stay there. I was scared and asked myself why I should be the one to go and stay there, thinking that maybe they want to kill me. Later, two of them came to meet me and asked me for my state of origin, and where I am from, I told them that I am from Ondo State and they asked again which area of Ondo State I’m from. I told them that I am from Akure and one of them said that he is also from Akure. Immediately they called my mother on phone and told her to quickly pay the ransom before the Alhaji arrives. However, while I was with them, I did not see the Alhaji.
Were there people coming to buy human parts from them?
Some people were taking human parts out. I think those taking it out were the ones buying it.
Did you see bloodstains anywhere in the place?
In the second room where they were taking the undressed victims, at the entrance of the room, I saw some bloodstains on the floor and on the walls too. Immediately they open the door, they shut it quickly.
You said you did not know how you got into the bus because you were initially in a Keke Marwa, were you conscious when you got into the bus or you just found yourself in it?
All I remembered was that I was inside the Keke Marwa and after the street where we questioned them on why they were passing that route, the next moment, I found myself inside the bus. I was not conscious of how I got inside that bus.
When they were demanding ransom, were they threatening you?
They threatened to return me to the place where they are killing people if my mother does not come up with the money quickly. They said that I should just be praying to God that my mother can raise the ransom on time. They threatened my mother on the phone when she told them that she had no money and that she does menial jobs for us to survive. When she told them she only has N4,000, they told her to go and use the money to make a coffin for me.
Can you recollect the time of the day that you were released by the kidnappers?
It was after the last call that my mother had with them that they took me out and it should be around the afternoon. I was driven in a bus to Mile 2 because when they left me at the place, I saw a big signboard with ‘Mile 2’ written on it, and from that place, I boarded a bus going to Oshodi from which I found my way to Ikorodu.
How many of them took you to Mile 2?
Three men took me to Mile 2 in a bus and they gave me N2,000 to use as my fare back to Ikorodu. My mother later told me that they called her phone and said that she should send money to them for my transport. She said that it was one of our relatives at Akure who sent N5,000 to my account.
Let’s return to when you were set apart from the other group of victims, were there other people who were set apart aside from you?
Two other people were also set apart aside from me. A lady and one fair man though I don’t know what later happened to them.
Which kind of vehicle did they use to convey you to Mile 2 where you were released?
They used a commercial bus so that people will not suspect them. They used the yellow bus. My mother later told me when we met at my place at Odogunyan that they assured her that I would come and meet her very soon. I got to Ikorodu around 2 pm. All the calls that they were making were through my phone number and it was my bank account too that they used to collect the all money that was paid to them. They used a POS machine to collect the money.
While you were with the kidnappers, were you fed?
They brought food for me to eat. They bought rice and Fanta with a sachet of water for me but I did not eat it. I was crying. I rejected the food. I am not certain if the others were also given food.
Were you in any way tied up or your faces covered while you were abducted?
No, they told me to just sit in one corner on a cement block. The building where they took us had broken windows and the floor is rough. The roof too had holes in it.
Were they armed and what kind of weapons did they have?
Two of the kidnappers had guns with them and the others held machetes and daggers too. The ones with machetes were with me and they were two. They took turns guarding me.