Seven farmers kidnapped in Epe
It was gathered that the gunmen, numbering about 15, dressed in military camouflage, stormed the farm situated along Ishiwo road around 7a.m. and abducted the OPC members, who work as security guards and the farm workers.
Investigation revealed that the two OPC members were employed by the farm owner to provide security at the farm when kidnapping in the community was on the increase in the area.
After the morning abduction, the victims were taken through the forest into a waiting boat at the riverside. As at the time of filing this report, the kidnappers have not contacted the farm management or families of the victims.
“The sound of strange voices woke me up early this morning,” said Isaac Ayuba, a farm worker who was lucky to escape. “Before I know what was going on, I saw a man ordering me to open the door to the room where I slept. I noticed there were other men in the premises. I counted six of them and they were all armed. They were ordering my colleagues to open their doors.
“One of the other men fired his weapon and the whole place was in commotion. Even the armed man standing at my door was confused. So I used the door to push him aside and ran towards the fence. He shot at me as I did but missed. That was how I escaped,” he said.
Isaac and a farm manager called the police who visited the facility and found no one. All the other workers had been kidnapped. “Marcus, James, Modiu, Alfred and three other farms workers are missing,” Isaac added.
A source in the area, who spoke on phone, said two weeks ago, the same gunmen invaded the community and abducted six farmers and one customer who came to buy farm produce.
The kidnappers also stormed the community on Friday, January 27, and abducted a 24-year-old Olabiyi Ifeoluwa, a graduate of Nutrients and Biotechnology from Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, Oyo State and three other farm workers identified simply as Busuyi, Kposu, a Togolese national and John.
The four kidnapped victims were workers of Tanda Farm. Thereafter the abductors contacted the owner. It was gathered that N2 million ransom and two cartons of red label gin were eventually paid as ransom for their release.
The negotiator, Ayodeji Akinyemi, who is Ifeoluwa’s fiancé, was said to have dropped the ransom at a designated point, as directed by the abductors. He was said to have also been instructed on phone, the direction he would lead the released workers through in the forest after their release.
Akinyemi said the kidnappers also had a room where kidnapped babies are kept, as well as first aid box for treatment of injured victims. He also revealed that one of the victims, identified simply as John, who attempted to escape, was shot in the arm.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Dolapo Badmos, who confirmed the incident, said “it is true seven farm workers were kidnapped at Igbodu area. The Lagos State Police command has commenced investigation following the report and we are working assiduously to rescue them.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, told The Guardian that the picture was not clear yet on the reported kidnap.According to him, “we received a distress call that some farmers were kidnapped, but when the Divisional Police Officer and his men visited the scene, they discovered there was no such incident, but after sometime, I heard that it was some farmers who were off-loading chicken that was kidnapped. We are still investigating the matter to get a clearer picture.”