Chikamso Ugoh, an Onitsha businessman, revealed how he and two other passengers were rescued from suspected kidnappers at the River Niger bridgehead in Anambra State.
Recall that a group of kidnappers had reportedly been intercepted along the bridgehead in Onitsha by some security agents.
Although the Police Public Relations Officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, said his office did not receive such a report, an official of the Federal Road Safety Corps, who did not want to be mentioned, said, “Yes, the incident happened two days ago (Thursday). The vehicle had loaded at Upper Iweka but only three people were authentic passengers among the 14 passengers on board.
“So, as the kidnappers were trying to divert the vehicle to another direction, a naval officer, who was among the passengers in the vehicle, based on intelligence, signalled to his people on the bridge, who chased after the vehicle and intercepted them. The kidnappers were forced out and ordered to lie down by the roadside and thereafter were taken to the Army barracks, Onitsha.”[code]
But narrating his experience to Sunday PUNCH on Saturday, Ugoh said he was one of the three lucky passengers who escaped, adding that it was the “sheer bravery and intelligence” of the naval officer, who was also in the vehicle, that saved him and the other victims from being abducted.
He said, “At the point I boarded the vehicle at Upper Iweka heading to Asaba, only two seats were vacant. I sat on one of the seats and shortly after, another person came and occupied the remaining one. But shortly, after the vehicle took off and on getting to the River Niger bridgehead, some of the people in the vehicle told us to start making calls because we had been kidnapped, while the driver of the vehicle was making a detour to another direction different from where we were originally going.
“Luckily, one of us who boarded the vehicle was a naval officer, but he was not in uniform. I don’t know how he communicated with some of the military officers along the road, and they chased the vehicle and intercepted it. They ordered the kidnappers to lie face-up by the roadside.
“What still baffles me is that, among the kidnappers, were women and some aged men, people that you would, ordinarily, not suspect. In fact, it is unbelievable. People should be extremely careful about the bus they board these days. I am still in shock and also thanking God for saving us.”