Prof. Johnson Fatokun, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Anchor University, Lagos who was released last week after spending three days in kidnappers’ den, has shared his ordeal.
Recounting his experience, Fatokun said he was returning to his base in Keffi, Nasarawa State around 9pm on Monday January 18 after dropping his kids off in their school in Jos when his vehicle was attacked.
The Professor who has lived with his family in the North for over 20 years before moving to Lagos to take up the university’s appointment, said he together with other motorists had driven past police and military checkpoints when he encountered the gunmen who were in military camouflage.
“We heard a gunshot at the back as the hoodlums came out in front. They blocked vehicles that had entered their trap and shot several bullets at my vehicle.
“They asked everybody to come out and lie down. They requested my gun and I told them I did not have any. They searched everywhere and saw my ID card. They also took my ATM cards. They took me through the bush and asked, ‘Do you know what just happened to you?’ They said I had been kidnapped. They assigned some men to me.”
Fatokun told Punch that a junior colleague who was with him in the car, was beaten to a pulp by the hoodlums and left for dead for refusing to follow them.
“They said I should let them know who they should call, because all they wanted was money. They said they could not leave me, because they were responsible to the people, who lent them the guns and they must pay back. They carried sophisticated weapons. They spoke Fulfulde; they are Fulani. One of them spoke English faintly,”
The 55-year-old said the gunmen contacted a senior pastor of his church in Keffi and demanded N20m ransom. Fatokun said his abductors who walked him into the forest till around 3am, threatened to kill him if the money was not delivered the following day.
“They went to somebody’s farm and harvested yam. They asked me if I would eat, but I declined. We slept in the open till around 5/6am then continued the trek to the mountainous part of the forest.
“They switched on my phone anytime they wanted to continue negotiation with the pastor. When the discussion did not go down well at a time, their leader came and said they would transfer me to the Boko Haram camp and he was no longer interested in money.”
He said after some discussions, the gunmen released him on the third day.