How I Spent 6 Days In Kidnapper’s Den — Electrical Engineer In Ogun (Photo)

Electrical engineer, Kayode Ogunsade tells TEMITOPE ADETUNJI the harrowing story of how he was abducted by unknown gunmen from his workplace place in Ogun State[/b]

What do you do for a living?

My name is Kayode Ogunsade. I am 58 years old. I am an indigene of Ekiti State. I live in Ogun State, and I am an electrical engineer.

Could you describe the events leading up to your kidnapping?

The incident occurred in 2023. It was after our virtual management meeting at Eltees Farm, around the Shagamu interchange. I wouldn't have been present at work on that fateful day, but our company's egg-handling machine was faulty and needed my attention. By 4 pm, I had finished all the day's chores and returned to my office to brief my assistants about the meeting outcome and to plan the following week's tasks as usual. Samuel, my assistant (mechanical), and I were waiting for Ridwan, my assistant (electrical and admin), who was busy on a task when sudden sporadic gunshots jolted us to full alert.

What came to your mind when you heard the sporadic gunshots?

What came to your mind when you heard the sporadic gunshots? I thought that the sounds were due to the blasting of stones; perhaps they were digging a well somewhere and were blasting a stone or something. Samuel offered to go and check what was going on outside; he returned with the news that the people wore hoods and were armed with AK-47s. By this time, all 19 maintenance boys (the majority of whom are northerners who left home because of terror experiences) were already present at the office.

The incident occurred in 2023. It was after our virtual management meeting at Eltees Farm, around the Shagamu interchange. I wouldn't have been present at work on that fateful day, but our company's egg-handling machine was faulty and needed my attention. By 4 pm, I had finished all the day's chores and returned to my office to brief my assistants about the meeting outcome and to plan the following week's tasks as usual. Samuel, my assistant (mechanical), and I were waiting for Ridwan, my assistant (electrical and admin), who was busy on a task when sudden sporadic gunshots jolted us to full alert.

What came to your mind when you heard the sporadic gunshots?

What came to your mind when you heard the sporadic gunshots? I thought that the sounds were due to the blasting of stones; perhaps they were digging a well somewhere and were blasting a stone or something. Samuel offered to go and check what was going on outside; he returned with the news that the people wore hoods and were armed with AK-47s. By this time, all 19 maintenance boys (the majority of whom are northerners who left home because of terror experiences) were already present at the office.

One of them suggested we break my office window's burglary proof and escape to the nearest bush before the bandits broke the door, which they were already working on, I gave the go-ahead, and the window was broken. The boys were jumping out of the window one after the other. It was the turn of Samuel and me when the door gave way, and we were ordered to move at gunpoint. However, all other offices had been ransacked and all laptops and phones were taken.

Fortunately, all other senior staff were outside the admin block and hence ran into the bush for safety. While Samuel and I were being dragged, Samuel tried to plead with them in Hausa, but the guy (they call him Magaji) who was with him, whom I later found out was their leader, shot him at a very close range. He fell and I later found out that Samuel died on the spot.

A teenage Fulani boy they address as “Yaro” ran at me and hit me on the head with a piece of wood. The impact tore a part of my head, and blood started gushing out of the wound. One of our loaders and one lady who works at the crate washing unit were taken with me to the gate. The lady escaped back into the premises because they weren't focusing on her, so I gave her an eye signal to run away. While the kidnappers were trying to take more hostages from the passersby, the loader, a Fulani guy from Maiduguri, and I was guarded by a guy holding a cutlass (they call him Yellow).

Do you perceive yourself as unfortunate when you were captured alongside Samuel?

Yes, I would say I was unlucky, but actually, what came to my mind was that I was doing the best I could as a leader to allow them to go.

So what happened after you were captured?

At the entrance gate of our company, a building contractor and his boy were stopped in their car. The guy was dragged out and shot in the stomach. He was left in his pool of blood, and his boy was taken with us. Another Fulani guy, an amputee who works as a gateman at a company not far from Eltees farm where I work, was taken along with us. We trekked through a bush and came out at a footpath about 500 meters away from our gate, where the bike conveying a man and his co-worker from another company were stopped, and the two of them were herded with us. They led us through the bush path into a fenced compound overgrown by bushes. A farmhouse with five rooms was our abode for the night. Six of us were asked to lie down on the floor amidst beating and gunbuttling. They asked me if I was the manager, and I said I wasn't. I said that I was a maintenance man. The loader was asked if I was lying

The incident occurred in 2023. It was after our virtual management meeting at Eltees Farm, around the Shagamu interchange. I wouldn't have been present at work on that fateful day, but our company's egg-handling machine was faulty and needed my attention. By 4 pm, I had finished all the day's chores and returned to my office to brief my assistants about the meeting outcome and to plan the following week's tasks as usual. Samuel, my assistant (mechanical), and I were waiting for Ridwan, my assistant (electrical and admin), who was busy on a task when sudden sporadic gunshots jolted us to full alert.

What came to your mind when you heard the sporadic gunshots?

What came to your mind when you heard the sporadic gunshots? I thought that the sounds were due to the blasting of stones; perhaps they were digging a well somewhere and were blasting a stone or something. Samuel offered to go and check what was going on outside; he returned with the news that the people wore hoods and were armed with AK-47s. By this time, all 19 maintenance boys (the majority of whom are northerners who left home because of terror experiences) were already present at the office.

One of them suggested we break my office window's burglary proof and escape to the nearest bush before the bandits broke the door, which they were already working on, I gave the go-ahead, and the window was broken. The boys were jumping out of the window one after the other. It was the turn of Samuel and me when the door gave way, and we were ordered to move at gunpoint. However, all other offices had been ransacked and all laptops and phones were taken.

Fortunately, all other senior staff were outside the admin block and hence ran into the bush for safety. While Samuel and I were being dragged, Samuel tried to plead with them in Hausa, but the guy (they call him Magaji) who was with him, whom I later found out was their leader, shot him at a very close range. He fell and I later found out that Samuel died on the spot.

A teenage Fulani boy they address as “Yaro” ran at me and hit me on the head with a piece of wood. The impact tore a part of my head, and blood started gushing out of the wound. One of our loaders and one lady who works at the crate washing unit were taken with me to the gate. The lady escaped back into the premises because they weren't focusing on her, so I gave her an eye signal to run away. While the kidnappers were trying to take more hostages from the passersby, the loader, a Fulani guy from Maiduguri, and I was guarded by a guy holding a cutlass (they call him Yellow).

Do you perceive yourself as unfortunate when you were captured alongside Samuel?

Yes, I would say I was unlucky, but actually, what came to my mind was that I was doing the best I could as a leader to allow them to go.

So what happened after you were captured?

At the entrance gate of our company, a building contractor and his boy were stopped in their car. The guy was dragged out and shot in the stomach. He was left in his pool of blood, and his boy was taken with us. Another Fulani guy, an amputee who works as a gateman at a company not far from Eltees farm where I work, was taken along with us. We trekked through a bush and came out at a footpath about 500 meters away from our gate, where the bike conveying a man and his co-worker from another company were stopped, and the two of them were herded with us. They led us through the bush path into a fenced compound overgrown by bushes. A farmhouse with five rooms was our abode for the night. Six of us were asked to lie down on the floor amidst beating and gunbuttling. They asked me if I was the manager, and I said I wasn't. I said that I was a maintenance man. The loader was asked if I was lying.

They spoke to him in Hausa first and in a language, I later found out from him is Fulfulde (a Fulani language). He told them the same thing I said, and then the beating started again, on the guy and me. At about 2 am on 31st May 2023, they roasted three chickens they took from the pens at the Eltees farm and shared them among themselves. At about 4 am when they were done with their meals, one of them pointed a flashlight at my face and called out “Manager.” Immediately I opened my eyes, I said I was not the manager; that I am an engineer. The boy “Yaro” said in his poor English that he would have killed me right there if I had owned up to being the manager.

Do you feel he was going to kill you?

Yes, if I had answered him without clarifying that I wasn't the manager, there is a tendency that he would kill me because those boys do not have mercy and human sympathy. Their leader asked me to be brought to him, “Call your oga patapata for company,” he said. I replied that I didn't remember any phone number at the moment and that they should give me either my small phone or one of my SIM cards. The one they call “Yellow” brought some SIM cards, but none was mine.

Then the other Fulani teenager threatened to kill me, but the leader said no, that he shouldn't kill me. I then requested my small phone, and luckily there was a message I had sent to Ridwan about a month earlier which still contained his number. I typed out his number and called him, luckily he picked up the call, and I said “Samuel” because I thought I was talking to Samuel, unaware that Samuel had died from the gunshot earlier. I was able to pass two pieces of information to Ridwan, of which one was “Please tell my wife and the chairman to contact the kidnappers on this number, send me my wife and chairman's number.” The second one “I will send you a message please forward it to Victor.” Before I could say any other word, a blinding slap that opened my wound again threw the phone out of my hand.

I started bleeding from the wound again, and I was feeling dizzy, but I managed to tell the leader that I wanted to pass information to the chairman so that he would pick up my call if I called him from the phone they were using. He asked how, and I said I would need to send a message if he permits me. He then gave me the phone and said, “Do it quick.” I quickly typed two messages, one to Ridwan describing the location we were kept, the other telling the chairman I had been kidnapped.

I sent it to Ridwan and deleted it immediately. I left the chairman's message on the phone and even showed their leader (Kidnapper) who waved me away. My wife called at about 4:50 am, and all she could offer was crying. Mr. Kola, our HIC, called at about 5:10 AM, and they made a ransom request of N30 million, which he said was difficult. He was asked to call back later.

How did you know the location where you were kept?

The funny thing is that the location is not far from the farm where we were taken from. I had always passed by with my car when going to my workplace, but I never imagined there was a hiding place where kidnappers could be operating in the bush.

How did you manage to stay calm during such a traumatic experience?

It wasn't easy, but I just kept believing in God, even though my faith was shaking at a point. So, we were in the room where we were kept until early afternoon when the sound of a gunshot jolted everyone to attention. I later found out it was the vigilante group attempting to rescue us. One of the criminals volunteered to go after the gunman. About 10 minutes later, a lone gunshot was heard, and soon the volunteer returned with his victim's gun and charms; he had killed the vigilante operative.

All nine of them started talking at once, asking who had called the vigilante. When things calmed down, I pointed out to them that the hiding place was close to a village and it was on the way to the villagers' farm, so someone must have suspected that they were hiding there. They agreed, and the leader told them to prepare to move us out of there. Then, movement into another bush started. Earlier, I had told them that I could not walk well because I had terrible pain in my right leg and hip, so the leader said something to “Yellow,” and he went into the bush and came back with a walking stick for me to aid my walking.

We trekked for two hours in the forest towards Omu village along Papalanto. Then, we were asked to lie down in the bush to rest. We continued the journey from about 11 pm until 5 am. During the journey, we were beaten with wood and gun butts. I fainted twice. I was lying there for about 30 minutes feeling the bites of Soldier Ants. However, I didn't have the strength to get up. I heard one of them cocking a gun, and I heard their leader telling him something in another language other than Hausa. When another camp was formed, we stayed there all day.

How many days did you spend in their den?

We spent six days. On the third day of our abduction, one of them was sent to fetch water with a five-litre keg. When he returned, he brought 10 plates of Jollof rice in disposable takeaway containers. They shared the food among themselves, leaving one plate which they gave me. Their leader said in his tattered Yoruba, “Baba daku daku eat that.” I asked about the others, but he shrugged and looked away. I couldn't eat after three days without water, so I gave it to the rest of my fellow abductees.

Then, I begged our captors to please give me some water to drink, but they turned me down. Some minutes later, it started raining. I cut some leaves and folded them to scoop some rainwater and drink. In the night when we continued our journey, we entered a fenced estate site from the back at about 1:30 am. We drank water from the bricks the builders were using to mould blocks on-site. They kept us under one tree with two of them guarding us while the rest surveyed the area. I think there was a man who might have been in the military or an expert in firearms. He was the security man in that particular compound where we were kept.

When they sat us down, they asked three of them to monitor us, while the rest went to survey the area. We just heard gunshots. A few minutes later, they came back, and three of them were wounded. One out of the three was fatally wounded, and one of the two teenagers and one other guy sustained gunshot wounds. The fatally wounded man could not continue the journey, so they eased him out (he was later killed so that our journey would be faster and so that he wouldn't be left there alive). They split us into two teams of three people each. The two Fulani men and the builder's boy were taken away from the rest of us. I later found out they were the ones who buried the dead kidnapper and were released afterward.

Last updated on July 16th, 2024 at 12:11 am

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