I’m learning how to walk again after my ordeal, says kidnap victim

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When he was sacked from his civil service job, Prince Esmond Akonofua had thought he could fall back on his farm to eke out a living and also provide for his family.

Uba Group

But not too long after he took this decision and he started working towards realising his objective, tragedy struck!

One day in June, this year, two armed men invaded his farm, while he was busy tending his crops, and abducted him. They dragged him deeper into the forest! Later, they demanded that he paid them N10million ransom or risk losing his life.

I was working in my farm, after I lost my job, when two armed men accosted me and dragged me into the forest far from my location. They asked me for N10million or they would kill me. I was forcibly retired from my job, but my church was able to raise N5million before I was released. After, I was unable to walk for weeks

Gripped by the fear of losing their loved one, Akonofua’s family made frantic efforts to source for the ransom, but did not succeed. His church intervened, raised N5million with which they secured his release from his abductor’s captivity.

But before the help from his church, came, Okonofua had undergone a harrowing experience in the custody of his abductors. And due to this, the middle-aged man is now learning afresh, like a toddler, how to walk properly again.

The victim, who is also a former head of the Edo State Waste Management Board, said while he was made to sit on the ground inside the forest hideout of his abductors and denied food and water for days, he almost became crippled.

Akonofua said, “I was working in my farm, after I lost my job, when two armed men accosted me and dragged me into the forest far from my location. They asked me for N10million or they would kill me.

“I was forcibly retired from my job, but my church was able to raise N5million before I was released. After, I was unable to walk for weeks, if not months, and I thank God I am just learning to walk again.”

Meanwhile, the victim has called on security agencies in the country to be more proactive in protecting the lives of Nigerians, arguing that what they needed were better equipment and incentives to do their jobs.

He said life at Odighi in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State had come to a halt as many community dwellers, especially farmers, were now at the mercy of gunmen, who held them hostage and had been abducting innocent citizens at will.

Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin, Edo State