Gunmen have abducted six persons including some members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), a young orphaned girl and a pregnant woman.
It was gathered that the victims were kidnapped around Ochadamu community after Ayangba in Kogi State last Saturday.
The victims had boarded a Benue Links 14-seater bus from Gboko Local Government Area of Benue state to travel to Lagos State when they were intercepted by the kidnappers near Ochadamu Junction in neighbouring Ayangba in Kogi State and robbed of their valuable items.
The abductors, it was learnt are demanding N60 million as a condition for the release of the six persons.
Speaking to newsmen by telephone on Thursday March 24, the driver of the Benue Links vehicle, Emmanuel Owoicho, said he had picked 13 passengers in Gboko Town and started the ill-fated Lagos journey at about 10 am that day.
He said his vehicle was intercepted by two gun-wielding bandits who jumped on the highway and forcibly demanded that he stop the vehicle at about 4 pm shortly after he passed Ayingba in Kogi State.
“‘On Saturday I was travelling to Lagos. So after Ayingba, the place is called the Ochada junction. On reaching there around 4 pm, I saw some men coming out from the bush and started shooting at us. I wanted to go ahead but later I realised that if I do that, they will riddle the bus with bullets. So, I parked.’
Owoicho said as soon as he stopped the 14-seater bus, other members of the gang numbering about six came out from the bush and joined the initial two to rob him and all the passengers.
“They collected our money, phones, everything we had they collected. Then they asked us to lie on the road but on sighting a trailer at high-speed approaching, their leader asked us to get up and lie down by the roadside. He now asked six persons including a pregnant woman to follow him, three men and three females into the bush.
“I called back my passengers and we got to a naval checkpoint and reported the incident to them. They and some vigilante asked me to take them to the spot of the incident. After over 30 to 40 minutes search, they came back to say they could not find the kidnappers.
“The next day which was Sunday, I went to the Police Station in Ayingba to formally report the incident and they instructed me to go. I then took the remaining passengers back to Gboko.
“I had left Gboko by after 10 am on that Saturday and got to that junction at about 4 pm. I picked 13 passengers from Gboko on that day and they kidnapped six. They collected the sum of 42, 000 naira from me
“The kidnappers are demanding 10 million naira as ransom from those kidnapped but their families are negotiating between 750,000 and 450,000. There is an orphan girl whose family said they only have 80,000
“Amongst those kidnapped is a pregnant woman who left her phone in the vehicle. Her husband came and we have handed the phone and her luggage back to him. I feel sad about the whole incidence. And every night since the incidence, I’ve been praying that the kidnapped victims are all released as soon as possible.” the driver said.