The abducted Chairman of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Kehinde Bamigbetan, who was released on Saturday night has narrated his ordeal in the hands of kidnappers, saying his release was a miraculous escape.
Bamigbetan, was released by his captors yesterday after he was kidnapped on Monday and asked to pay $1 million ransom.
The council chairman, who spoke with P.M. NEWS in his house at Ejigbo area of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, said “it was a miraculous escape with divine intervention and testimonies of God’s kindness to me and it was a way in which God has made me to appreciate how much the people love me.
“This is a re-affirmation of the fact that there is a purpose for my existence and I believe I am following the path in which God has created for me.”
He said from the point he was kidnapped, he was forced into the kidnappers’ car and that for the next four hours, “my head was down and I was just hearing the car’s wheels on tar. At some point, we got to a place and I was blindfolded.”
“When they opened my eyes, I was on a carpet and they asked me to lie face down and blind-folded again and my legs were tied and that was the beginning of my ordeal. At that point, I started praying.
“The whole agitation was that they were graduates without employment. They graduated for about six years ago with no employment and they have to do this, take the risk. They have to take part of the national cake,” he explained.
Bamigbetan stated that the kidnappers’ grievance was that they had no employment and that they must survive by all means.
On why he thought the kidnappers made him a scape goat, the council boss said his captors claimed somebody had paid for his life, adding that they explained that lots of graduates were roaming about the streets without jobs and that as long as those in power did not provide jobs for them, the government should be held responsible.
He said he started to explain to them that he shared in their plight and that he is a champion of youth empowerment in his domain, saying that “I support that cause, I believe that there should be graduate employment,” as he had empowered the youths in the area to be self-employed, among others.
Bamigbetan narrated further that the kidnappers took his laptop and went through his account on it and that he was asked to sleep as they would see him in the morning, adding that at the point they checked through his laptop, that was when they discovered that he was a council chairman.
“They asked me where I worked and I told them that I am a journalist and I work with the government. I gave them my complimentary card, they checked it and discovered that I am a local government chairman and they asked, am I the one eating all the money?
“At that point, I tried to present my case to them and they got annoyed, tied me up and tortured me. They tortured me because I argued with them that I don’t have money. They were saying I was not telling the truth as a council chairman serving a second term. They felt I was not cooperating and they tied me up and tortured me,” he explained.
The chairman said at the beginning of his stay with the kidnappers, it was very tough, saying that after he was tortured, they resumed discussion with him, adding that “they said they wanted $1 million and I told them that there was no way I was going to get that. I told them I don’t have more than N800,000 in my account. They took my laptop and checked through my account and they found out that my salary is actually N187,000.
“They insisted and asked me what I could offer and I told them we will discuss it later as I don’t have money with me personally and that I can link them up with my friends who will help me. They even went to my office to make enquiry about me and they came back to tell me that people were saying I am a good man and that I should not have been the kind of man that will suffer this.
“They assured me that even if their boss gave them any instruction, they were not going to kill me. They were equally monitoring people’s comment on the pages of newspapers and they were convinced that I am a good man and that I support the youths as well,” he stated.
He explained further that when he first got to the kidnappers’ den, he took water and coke in 24 hours interval, saying that they took his clothes and washed them for him. “They told me that money or no money, they will allow me to go and that I should not bother,’ he said.
Bamigbetan added that he met other people in the kidnappers’ den but that he could not relate with them because they were all blind-folded, as he started praying for divine intervention as soon as he entered the place.
The council chairman stated that towards the end of his stay with the kidnappers, they became very friendly with him and that he was dropped on the bridge close to his house as they sped off, adding that he was taken to around Badagry area by his captors. [PM News]