A kidnap victim Mr. Nathaniel Ayogu has recounted how spent three gruelling days in the hands of his captors, whom he said in no unmistakable terms were Fulani herds men.
Ayogu, the younger brother of the former Commissioner for Environment and APC chieftain in Enugu State, Ambassador Fidel Ayogu, was kidnapped by Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, from his family house at 7pm and taken into the bush from where they trekked to Otukpa in Benue State.
According a report in an online news platform The Southeast Post, Ayogu was taken from there by the herdsmen/ kidnappers following cattle routes in the bush into the neighbouring Kogi State.
The kidnap victim said he was captured by six heavily armed herdsmen and taken away on bare foot, adding that they were moving with cattle, as his captors uprooted cassava tubers, peeled and ate them raw.
The report further cites Ayogu as saying that kidnappers also complimented their raw cassava meals with bread and pure water without giving him anything to eat throughout the period.
“At a time, we became friendly and the only thing I asked from them, which they lighted and used the burning end of the cigarette to torture me. You can see some burns on me. They were cigarette burns. After that I stopped asking for any favours from them. In the night we sleep in farms but they usually tie me on a tree and cover themselves with water proofs when it rained. I was walking on my bare foot. They don’t use torch in the night but we didn’t march on any snake..,’ he told the news platform in an in an interview.
Here is the story as told by the kidnap victim himself in an interview with Soitheast Post. Excepts: What happened, how were you kidnapped? “My friend, late Job Ikechukwu Ali, visited me at about 5pm in the evening on the day I was kidnapped. We have finished drinking when he told me that he wanted to leave. I pleaded with him to exercise patience so we can eat and stroll together. He just came out to ease himself and met the hoodlums. They started shooting sporadically and shot him on the stomach. “I stood up when I heard the sound of gunshots. I noticed that they have cordoned off my house. They had army and AK-47 riffles. They were six in number. Then, I decided to run for my dear life. “One of them chased me and threatened to shoot me. When I looked back, I saw one of them holding my child. This made me to come back and meet them. The one that chased me continued to threaten to shoot me which made me to dispossess him of the gun, but I fell down in the process and he collected it back from me. “At that time, his members have ransacked my house; taking all my money. They started beating with machetes and ordered me to follow them. I asked them where they were taking me to and they said, “Let us go and see Oga.” They dragged me into the bush and we started the journey from there. This was happening at about 7 pm in the evening. “When we got to the bush, they told me that they were kidnappers and demanded that I should cooperate. They asked me to call my brothers, that was when I told them that I was the eldest son. They gave me my daughter’s phone which they took from the house and I called my wife to inform her that I am alive. I told her that the Fulani herdsmen were holding me at ransom and that she should call my younger brother who is a medical doctor. “They told me that I have brothers and that they have money. I didn’t want to mention the name of my brother, Ambassador Fidel Ayogu before them. At that time, the medical doctor called my daughter’s phone unknowingly that it was with the kidnappers. They picked the call and started negotiating with him. I did not know the amount they agreed on. “I spent three days in the bush and trekked on barefoot for that number of days without food or water. The journey was from here to Otukpa in Benue State through the bush path. I did not see any road or house; it was from hills to hills. It was a tedious journey to say the least. “I did not eat for three days. If it rained, they would cover themselves with waterproof material but would tie me to a tree in the rain. One of them told me that they were Fulanis. The one that carried the army riffle told me that he knew me. He said he drank in my house the day I was given councilors vehicle. He told me he used to pass through my place with his herds of cattle but unfortunately, when his dad died, his father’s herd was shared and that he did not get any share because he was a small boy. He told me that he was paid N30,000 every five months by those who shared his father’s herd. He said that Alhaji would always complain that his cattle’s were not well fed each time he took them out which made him to quit and join kidnapping business. He told me that kidnapping gives him money more than anything he has done before. “When they were discussing with my younger brother, an army patrol vehicle passed and they thought he arranged the soldiers to arrest them. So, they told me that they would kill me if they were attacked. At that time, I was already fed up, having received several beatings from them. In fact, I was ready to die, I even disobeyed them at that point. The soles of my feet were badly damaged then as I was not wearing anything on my legs. “They ate raw cassava tubers. I begged them for cigarette, instead of giving me, they lighted it and burnt my lips and other parts of my body with it. I don’t want another person to pass through similar experience, not even my enemy. I saw hell, or something worse than hell,” he said.