Five members of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) posted to Akwa Ibom and Rivers states were kidnapped on Wednesday by unidentified gunmen on their way to orientation camp with two other passengers.
The victims were travelling from Ibadan, Oyo State capital, to Rivers and Akwa Ibom states where they were posted to undertake their three-week NYSC orientation.
The kidnapped victims were coming from Ibadan and they were kidnapped on the Owerri-Port Harcourt Expressway and taken to the Umuapu forest in the Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
Imo State Commissioner of Police, Dasuki Galadanchi, said the kidnappers collected the victims money, phones, ATM cards and voter cards and also demanded N5m ransom from their families.
The Commissioner of Police identified the corps members as Abiola Temitope, Olubisi Adekanmi, Jose Temitayo, Folarin Opeyemi and Shonibare Ademola, while the other two victims were identified as Leonard Uzondu and Raymond Ojodahe.
Galadanchi explained that through intelligence gathering, the operatives of the Counter Terrorism Unit of the command were alerted and able to rescue them unharmed from the bush while the kidnappers abandoned them and made way with the victims valuables.
“The operatives went into the bush and on sighting the officers, the kidnappers abandoned their victims and fled. We rescued them unhurt, but the hoodlums made away with their valuables.
“This is part of the dividends of community policing. I urge Imo State residents to keep sharing information with the police. We cannot do it alone.”
Galadanchi said an investigation is being carried out into the incident with a view to arresting the suspects.
One of the victims, Abiola, said, “They stopped our bus and ordered us at gunpoint to follow them into the forest. They were five with guns and machetes.
“In the bush, they took our belongings except our credentials and ordered us to call our parents. They made a demand of N5m, but they later brought it down to N3m.
“They ordered us to close our eyes. They were even quarrelling on how to share our personal belongings which they took from us. It was in the process that the police intervened and they abandoned us and ran away.”