The young man was so scared, he had to wee on his trousers like a kid. He could not bear the thought of dying at a tender age; barely a week after his 22nd birthday. Just as he was led through the bush paths, a lot of thoughts flashed across his mind. Death seems imminent, death was lingering.
The young man’s parent and co-travelers thought he had escaped into the nearby bush as everyone tried to scamper for safety. Everyone has been laid down on the ground when they abducted the young man. Sadly for the young man, he couldn’t say a farewell message to his beloved ones.
Then, the journey with the abductors began. The young man thought of what would have become of his parents; his mother especially. The night falls as his abductors were yet to speak a word. He became tensed and would like to escape but there seemed to be no way. Just as he was deep in thoughts, he heard a voice: “Aboki, stand up!” It was at this point that he confirmed to himself that he had actually fallen into the hands of the Fulani’s.
He stood up, almost falling off his steps. “Sidown,” the first man said and continued “shey you wan die or you wan go house?” Just before the young man could reply, he tried to raise his head, then got a hit from among the abductors. He could now confirm for himself that there were three men squatting beside him. The young man made the abductors realize through his facial expression how much he had missed his people within the short-while and that he wants to go home.
“Na money fit carry you commot for here, shey I dey hear me?” their Boss said. They asked the young man a few questions to know if his parents were financially buoyant. Although, the young man disappointed them by affirming how poor his parents were. The abductors threatened to kill him and exorbitantly placed a price tag of five million naira for his ransom.
At the dead of the night when the young man thought it was time to rest, their abductors called them (himself and the co abductee). They all began a trek that seemed “lifelong” The young man was tired but could not rest. They all trekked through the swamp, river and the thick forest to get to their final destination. Although, before they got there, they had gone to a farm to get tubers of yam. Everyone got to a place of rest, the five abductors made a fire and they roasted some tubers. The young man was famished, all he had in him was just some slice of bread and tea before he journeyed on that Saturday morning.
Surprisingly, the young man got nothing to eat from his abductors and then he had to sleep on an “empty-belly”. Sleeping in such a thick forest was never near his imaginations. The young man could not sleep through the night because of the fear of being consumed by wild animals or being slaughtered by his abductors. He bore the thought of running away that night when he felt his abductors were asleep.
The young man tried to translate those thoughts into a reality and then began to take steps one after the other. Immediately, a light shone from behind and some words followed: “if you try run ehn, I go shoot your head”. The young man freaking out already quickly muttered few words saying “O-ff-icer, I just wan piss” Then he went back to lie down breathing heavily with a depth of fear in him.
On the following day, the abductees all wandered like nomads. At this moment, the young man could not speak anymore because he was too weak and he dared not look at the abductors in the eye. Later that evening, the young man’s parent were contacted. The young man spoke to them as a confirmation that he wasn’t dead. The young man’s father received with shock the amount to be paid for ransom.
His father kept pleading but that wouldn’t help as the abductors hung up. At this time, all hope seemed lost as the young man knew in his mind that getting five million naira within twenty-four hours doesn’t appear feasible. The young man started to seek for the forgiveness of his sins, he became a friend of God at the point of death. The young man kept on seeking for grace and he made vows to God for his release.
In the dead of the night, the two weak abductees were fed with a small yam alongside dirty water to drive it down. What a miserable life! The young man thought in his heart. He then got to know the value of life and freedom. The two men were tied to a tree at nights and loosened in the day. He lived this way for five days and four nights.
However, the height of the young man’s anguish was on the fourth day when the previous-day tied abductees were seriously bashed, folded and tied to a stake, turned upside down on a tree for some time. The young man’s head became heavy, he cried out in pains but got hit on his back with a thick log which after a while would be relieved again.
Fears and anxiety filled the young man’s mind on the fourth night. It was either he dies or goes home the next day. That evening, all his parents had raised was three hundred thousand short of a million naira which was amounting to a seven hundred thousand naira. “Tomorrow is the deadline”; that was what the young man heart kept breathing. Lo and behold, ten o’clock on Wednesday morning, the ransom was complete.
The young man’s father came to airport road, Akure with two million naira to pay for the two abductees. He’d come with the ransom raised by the other man’s family. He was delayed but the boys were finally released at 6:00 pm that day. His father must have been so scared, it was more like a gamble. A few minutes past 7 that evening, after journeying through the forest, they had a warm embrace, amidst tears of joy.
Surely, the young man has learned lessons and had determined to live his life with the belief that death could come at any time. He had also learned to relate well with everyone. Individuals he does not have a good rapport with were amongst those that raised his ransom.
Truly, one should live as though it’s the last day on earth. It was an experience to always remember for the poor young man!
Written by Ogundahunsi Ayodeji
The Kidnap Victim