A female lawyer, Paulette Bisola Ajayi, and an employee of the British High Commission, Paul Nyulaku, who were recently kidnapped in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have narrated their ordeals in the hands of their captors saying they would have been killed if not for police rescue operation.
Ajayi, a 25-year-old lawyer, was violently whisked away by gun-wielding marauders, who were dressed in military combat fatigue, on October 4 at the entrance of their apartment at Rumuokwurusi area of Port Harcourt.
Nyulaku was also kidnapped the same day by the same gang at NTA Link Road, Port Harcourt at about 6pm.
Ajayi said she feared for her life but kept praying to God for survival because the kidnappers had concluded plans to take her to the swamp and kill her. She said the kidnappers were apprehensive at the wide publicity her abduction generated and resolved that killing her the next day was the only way to guarantee their safety.
She said: “On Sunday evening I was taken by unknown men in front of my house. They shot at me and they took me before my family members. They were going to ask for a ransom of N50m. By the next day, the ransom went up to N200m because everybody had reported that I was missing.
“They were getting quite frantic and looking for how to kill me because they were certain that with the news that had gone round, somehow, something was going to go wrong. They planned to move me into the swamp to kill me yesterday night. The police just came right in time because all I could do was to pray.” She said one of the hoodlums thought she had a charm wondering while despite all the shootings, she did not sustain a bullet wound.
Also, Nyulaku said his abductors threatened to kill him if his family failed to pay them N20million ransom. He said: “I drove to NTA link road to give a document to my friend at about 6pm. They drove past me and blocked me. When they came out, they said they were officers of the police. They came with guns, opened my door got in and pressed me down.
“I struggled a bit but they used the butt of the gun to hit me on my head several times until I pretended that I had passed out. They left me. They took me to the location I can’t explain at the moment. We were rescued by members of the anti-kidnapping unit.
“We thank God, the team and the commander of the unit because of the kind of professionalism and commitment they showed when they came to where we were tied up. We know the kind of efforts they put into this.
“This was one of the sterling examples of commitment and professionalism by the police. Some of them wore military uniform, others wore plain cloth. They looked like military people. They asked for ransom of N20million. They kept putting a lot of pressure that our family should pay the ransom, otherwise we would be killed”.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, said operatives of the anti-kidnapping unit in a sting operation rescued the victims at Okomoko Forest in Etche Local Government Area of the state. Mukan said the operatives stormed the hideout of the kidnappers at about 9:30pm on Wednesday and engaged the kidnappers in a gun battle. He said “one of the kidnappers, Chinedu Chigbu, aged 39 was fatally injured during the shootout and later died in a hospital while others escaped into the bush with bullet wounds.”