Shortly after Jolayemi Ajuwon (not real name) arrived at the Eleyele Bus Stop on Sango Road in Ibadan at about 10pm on May 15, she had no idea that the next one hour would see her slip into the trap of a network of kidnappers who abduct unsuspecting individuals for ransom or ritual killing.
Commercial motorcycle riders and cab operators regularly ply the route, but that day, it was strangely quiet. Ajuwon waited for over 15 minutes before boarding a Nissan Micra with four occupants – male driver, two ladies sat on the front passenger seat and another at the back.
“When I entered, I was not alarmed or feeling unsafe because all the passengers were female,” Ajuwon told FIJ.
“Looking back now, I should have been fast in noticing something was wrong because there was space at the back — why would two women sit at the front when there was space at the back?”
In a rush to get home, Ajuwon offered to pay for the last seat so the driver would not delay.
“Immediately we moved, I just felt something was off. I was like, is it possible that at this time of the night, it is only women that will be in a car and why was it that there was still space at the back when I entered? So I started telling them that I was no longer going,” she said.
The driver said nothing when an argument ensued between Ajuwon and one of the ladies who tried to persuade her to not get off the cab.
“At that point, I knew that they had sensed that I was bad luck for them. Nobody paid money and nobody said they wanted to alight,” Ajuwon said.
“When I told them that I knew what was going on and that I would make a scene, the driver asked where I wanted to get off the cab and I said he should just stop. Because of the tension in my body, it did not occur to me to reply him with a location where there would be many people.”
Ajuwon believes that the driver stopped at a strategic spot on the road where another team would forcefully take her; this time, at gunpoint.
“I wonder why they let me out of the first car so easily, I am sure they work together,” she said.
“When I crossed to the other side of the road, another Micra cab put on its lights and began approaching me. As it got close, I peeped to see who was inside and then I saw a gun pointing at me. I jumped into a gutter and crawled towards a filling station near a new mall.”
Help came when her sister arrived after a phone call.
Adewale Osifeso, the public relations officer of the Police in Ibadan, despite promises, failed to return with answers to FIJ’s enquiries and multiple reminders to him were also ignored.
There was no patrol by security agents, including the Police, during the encounter with the kidnappers that night.
“We all know that it doesn’t matter whether the Police are somewhere or not; they are usually on Awolowo road, yet the people get robbed and killed there,” Ajuwon said.
“The Police we have now are corrupt and I think most of them are in collaboration with the kidnappers. We just need to be careful and vigilant by ourselves.”
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