Ondo: Tension As Kidnappers Go On Rampage, Abduct More Travellers



The tension among residents of Ondo State over rising insecurity got to a worrisome level at the weekend when most travellers from and to Akure and Akoko areas of the state including lecturers of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, RUGIPO escaped abduction while some were not lucky as they fell the victims of gunmen who flooded the highways yesterday.

The apprehension among the residents and travellers got to a worrisome level due to recent dismantling of the military checkpoints across the state which they believe had given criminals free hands to operate in the last one week.

An eyewitness account summarized that several people escaped at Ogbese/Iluabo area on Owo-Akure road around 5:20 pm on Saturday evening, “I narrowly escaped kidnapping after Iluabo on my way to Akure after a wedding ceremony I attended at Omuo Ekiti. Nigerians are under siege. I saw these guys shooting sporadically from a distance. Unfortunately, some kids and those who were unlucky to get out of their vehicles were taken away by the kidnappers”.

Our correspondent gathered that three different cases of kidnapping and armed robbery were recorded on the routes on Saturday’s evening specifically at Oba Akoko axis where three persons fell victims of kidnappers on Friday’s night, while that of Ogbese/Ilu Abo axis areas of Akure occured simultaneously on Saturday’s evening.

Only last week four persons including a lecturer Taiwo Akinyemi abducted at Amurin Village, near Owo, but Taiwo later died in the kidnappers’ den while three weeks ago, six chieftains of African Democratic Congress (ADC) including the state chairman and senatorial candidate for Ondo north were kidnapped on Ikare Akoko- Owo road and were later released after paying ransome.

Three victims were also said to be members of staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo were kidnapped but they were later released by the suspected kidnappers recently after huge ransoms had been collected from their families.

Narrating his ordeal on Owo-Akure road, a lecturer from RUGIPO, Dr. Rahman Abubakri who escaped being kidnapped by the gunmen at Ilu Abo area of Akure on Saturday lamented that he narrowly escaped with other travellers but another lecturer from the department of Marketing at the Polytechnic was not lucky as he was picked by the kidnappers yesterday.

Abubakri said, “Around 5:20 pm this evening( Saturday), I narrowly escaped kidnapping around Iluabo on my way to Akure after a wedding ceremony I attended at Omuo Ekiti.

Nigerians are under siege. I saw the fulanis shooting sporadically from a distance. The bushes and tick forests we don’t care to go into have been well studied by the Fulanis. Unfortunately, some kids were taken away by the kidnappers”.

He opined that, “almost the same time, a lecturer of the Department of Marketing, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo was kidnapped by the same Fulani herdsmen between Ipele and Owo Road. Another kidnapping took place at Oba Akoko. Three persons fell victim as they were taken away into the Bush. My colleagues missed being kidnapped on Friday evening”.

The lecturer who expressed worries over the increasing rate of insecurity in Ondo state in recent time, said the upsurge in kidnapping cases must be tackled by the police and government at all levels.

Another traveller who escaped, Mrs Nike Oyetade alleged that the kidnappers use the forests near their operation points as detention camps, stressing that children in secondary schools and tertiary institutions far away from their various places of residents are not safe anymore.

Another traveller’s family member sent a message to our reporter around 7pm Saturday, “Info from one of our members who just passed through Ogbese now has it that just before Ogbese from Akure the men of the underworld has struck again kidnapped some people and presently in a gun shoot out with the police.Kindly avoid the route now”.

Speaking on the security situation, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Femi Joseph, who confirmed the incident, said men of the state police command had been on the trail of the kidnappers.

The PPRO said “we have resolved to increase our manpower on our roads with more patrol to reduce the activities of these criminals to the barest minimum. I can assure you that justice will be done and the search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts, to find those responsible and bring them to justice”.

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