Kidnapped OAU Student Dumped In Kwara State [Full Story]

What is this world turning into? Read the story of a Law student from Obafemi Awolowo University that was kidnapped in Ife and dumped in Kwara state as reported by PUNCHNG

Jesusegun Alagbe

Saturday, July 23, 2016, was one day that
will always give 18-year-old Praise Adelakin nightmares. That day, a
journey from Ile-Ife, Osun State, to Ibadan, Oyo State, that was
supposed to take her about two hours only, almost turned out to be a
journey of no return.

A 300 Level Law student of Obafemi Awolowo
University, Praise had gone to the school in the morning of that day to
check whether her things were still intact in her hostel before
resumption after some weeks of strike by lecturers in the institution.

Around
4pm, when she ensured she had put everything in place, she left for the
Mayfair Motor Park in the town to board a bus going to Ibadan, where
her family resides.

All things being equal, she should have been
back in Ibadan by around 6pm on the same day, but by 12 midnight of the
following day, she found herself in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Narrating
the incident to our correspondent in Ibadan on Tuesday, she said,
“We’ve been on strike for some weeks. Meanwhile, freshers had resumed
three weeks before the strike, but due to the action, they were also
sent back home. On July 23, I decided to go to school to check if my
things were still intact and probably whether they had allocated my
space (at Moremi Hall) to someone else. I got there and saw that my
things had been scattered; my mattress had also been taken away with my
buckets and other things, so I had to go round the rooms to gather them
together. When I did that, I put them in my locker and locked them up.
“When I finished all that, I decided to return home and that was around 4pm. I had arrived in school by 11am.

So I went to the Mayfair Motor Park in Ife to get a bus back to Ibadan.
It’s a popular motor park in the town because it’s a public one. When I
got there, there were only two passengers in the bus and the driver was
hanging around somewhere. All the same, I entered the bus to wait until
we had enough passengers to take off. As of 7pm, we were only nine in
the 18-seater white Mazda bus. It was getting dark, so everyone started
complaining. We begged the driver to take off and told him that while on
the way, it was possible he would get more passengers. He agreed and we
took off.”

Praise and other passengers were happy the driver
heeded their pleas. Nothing in the driver’s appearance or the look of
the bus suggested anything sinister. After all, they boarded the bus in a
motor park, Praise thought.

The journey proceeded normally until
the driver swerved off the major road. He told them it was a short-cut
to Ibadan. But the path turned out to be a ‘long-cut.’

She
continued, “There is a university outside Ife town called Oduduwa
University. A few minutes drive past it, our driver said he wanted to
pass through a short-cut. He said because it was weekend, there was
traffic in front. So he took us through the route. When we turned to
pass through the so-called short-cut, we saw a bus in front of us and
there was another bus behind us. It was a bushy path, but we were not so
afraid because of the other two buses which were also taking the route.
We thought it was a route which would take us to Ibadan faster.

“As
we were going through the path, we got to a junction where we saw that
the bus which was in front of us was already parked. The passengers had
disembarked. As we got there, we were also flagged down by a group of
about five men; our driver stopped and he himself ordered us to get
down. Everyone was shocked and we wondered what was happening, but
nobody talked. We were all just looking. The bus behind us was also
stopped and all of us passengers in the three buses were up to 40. They
asked us to lie face down. At that point, I became afraid as I knew
something was wrong. As I lay down, I quickly sent a message on my phone
to my dad, reading, ‘Dad, I am held hostage and I don’t even know where
we are.

I think I am in danger. Please pray for me.’ I could use
my phone to send the message because when they ordered us to lie down,
the men went for a meeting at a nearby bush, together with our driver.
My dad called me back after a few minutes, but I couldn’t pick it. The
phone rang out. When they heard that my phone rang, they came back and
collected my phone and others’. After collecting our phones, they went
back to their meeting.

“After a while, they returned and
surprisingly, they asked the passengers in my driver’s bus to get back
in. They instructed our driver to go and ‘dismiss’ us off. I was afraid.
I thought ‘dismissing us’ meant ‘killing us.’ Our driver looked
disappointed, so he shouted at us to get in; he was now holding a gun.

Everybody kept quiet. Then he drove away inside the bush till it was
really dark. When it was around 10pm, he started dropping us one by one.
He would drive for about 10 minutes, drop a passenger and give him or
her their phone and bag, then drive for another 10 minutes, drop another
passenger, and on and on like that. He would spread the phones out and
ask the person to pick their phone. It finally got to my turn and I
think I was the sixth passenger to be dropped, I can’t remember full
well because at that point, I had become so confused.”

When
Praise got out of the bus, it was then that it dawned on her that she
was in another world, in the middle of a forest and the screech of
insects. By then, tt was around 11pm.

“He stopped me at a
T-junction and gave me my phones, but they were already dead, so I
couldn’t contact anyone. When he dropped me, he told me I was at Share
(Kwara State). I didn’t know where Share was then. It was very dark,
around 11pm. The village was quiet. Anywhere I turned to, it was forest
all around me. I got to know later that Share was very close to Niger
State. It’s a border town between Kwara and Niger states,” she said.

Suddenly, in the midst of the the forest and darkness, she heard the sound of a motorcycle coming towards her direction.

She
continued, “I flagged down the rider and he stopped. I asked him, ‘I
was told this is Share. Please, where is the nearest town or somewhere
where I can get help from?’ The man simply said, ‘Ilorin.’ I know Ilorin
quite well because my grandparents stay there, I once schooled there
and my aunt still lives there. I got on the motorcycle and he took me
from the jungle to Ilorin. When he dropped me, I could recognise the
area and found out that the place was actually close to my aunt’s house,
around Basin area.

“I asked him how much I should pay him. He
just nodded his head and zoomed off. He didn’t utter a word or ask for
money. Meanwhile, I was lucky my phone came up again, so I quickly
called my dad that I was in Ilorin and that I was near my aunt’s place.
He quickly notified my aunt that I was coming.

“I was
dumbfounded. From where the motorcyclist dropped me, I trekked to my
aunt’s house for some minutes and when I got to the door, around 12 am
on Sunday, I knocked. She was a bit scared because she was expecting no
one. She asked who was knocking. I replied, ‘It’s me, Praise.’ She
retorted, ‘Which Praise?’ I said, ‘Praise Adelakin.’ She asked again,
‘Praise Adelakin from where?’ We often talk and so she recognised my
voice. She then said someone should open the gate for me. She just
didn’t know what to do when she saw me in the middle of the night.”

In
the morning of that Sunday, Praise’s parents came for her in Ilorin to
take her back home. But up till now, she has yet to recover from the
incident.

She said, “I wouldn’t know what happened to the other
passengers in the two other buses. I’m still trying to get over it
because I’m still scared of boarding buses right now. I used to enter
any bus as long as I see people inside it, but my experience has taught
me to be more conscious. I am still amazed. It was not the first time I
would board a bus from the park, and it is even a public park. It wasn’t
a lift.

“My parents came over to Ilorin to pick me up on Sunday
to return to Ibadan. They said they immediately started praying for me
when I sent them the message. They also told me they went to the police
station in Ibadan and contacted another one in Ife to report the
incident, but the police said they couldn’t do anything about it.

“The
police said they should go to MTN office to track my phone to know
where I was. MTN said they needed a police report, which the police
couldn’t give because they didn’t know about the incident. Everything
was complicated. They said they had to resort to prayers throughout the
night. I just thank God I am still alive to tell this story. I don’t
know what would have happened to the passengers in the two other buses. I
will be back to school this weekend as the strike has been called off.”

Could she describe the driver, his conversation with his fellow suspected ritualists and the area they were taken to?

Praise
said, “I didn’t hear their conversation because they really went far
away, but they could still monitor us. They talked in low tones. I can’t
really describe the area but I know it’s a few minutes’ drive after
passing the Oduduwa University that he branched into the bush.

“Our
driver was wearing an ankara dress that day; he has an average height
and dark-complexioned. Except one old man, almost all other passengers
were students. I suspect that the drivers of the other two buses too
belong to the gang because they all held the meeting together.”

Praise’s
father, Timothy Adelakin, who is a pastor, said when he received his
daughter’s message that she was in danger that day, his heart jumped
out.

He said, “I just thank God for how He acted in the
situation. When she was about leaving Ife that day, she called to say
she was returning home and I thought she should be home two hours later.
We were attending a prayer meeting in the church; we were rounding off
when her message came in that I should pray for her. She said they were
held hostage and she didn’t know where they were.

“When I got her
text, I told the church members what had happened. I called other
pastor colleagues to pray for us. We prayed again till 11pm. Around
midnight, her aunt called me and said, ‘Speak to Praise.’ The next voice
I heard was hers. I was filled with joy.

“I would like the
authorities to investigate this incident because it is surprising that a
driver from a public park could do this. They must have been doing it
before. Praise told me the passengers of their bus and the two other
buses were mostly students, so I am worried what would have happened to
her colleagues.

I have already instructed her never to board
private cars and she doesn’t do it. But with something like this
happening in a public park, it is worrisome.”
Meanwhile, Saturday
PUNCH learned that the Mayfair motor park closes by 4pm and vehicles no
longer load passengers from the park after this time.

The
Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Ife 1 Branch,
Mr. Gbadegesin Asiyanbi, when visited at the park, said Praise could not
have boarded the bus from inside the park at the time she got there.
Asiyanbi
said activities at the park close by 4pm, after which any driver is
allowed to pick passengers on the road irrespective of where they come
from.

He said, “There are no kidnappers in our motor park. I have
never heard of anything like that. There is no way such thing can
happen, we know ourselves, our members are true drivers.

“We
lower our flag by 4pm and as you can see for yourself now (around 5:30pm
when Saturday PUNCH visited on Thursday), there are no vehicles on
queue, so anybody who boarded a vehicle between 6pm and 7pm here and is
claiming they boarded it from our park is either ignorant or telling
lies.”

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