Popular Wazobia FM Port Harcourt On-Air-Personality, Anthony Akatakpo aka Akas Baba was shot and kidnapped from his home in Rumuekini on Thursday March 13 but was released a week later.
Recounting his ordeal in the kidnappers den, Akas says his abductors kept him blindfolded in an uncompleted building located inside a forest and fed him only fufu, bread and water. He tells Punch: –
“My ordeal in the kidnappers’ den is not what I wish anybody to experience. It was not a good experience. They have a doctor. The first day they took me there, they gave me first aid. I was relieved to discover that no bullet lodged in my leg. They did something to reduce the pain I felt and to avoid decay,”
The two men that kept watch on me were friendly. Each time I wanted to visit the toilet, they allowed me to go without much fuss. But I had to obtain permission from them first. I was scared that if I did not do that, they might do something bad to me. Even if I wanted to sneeze or cough, I had to take permission from them or they would misinterpret my action as an attempt to send signals to rescuers lurking around the hide-out.
They blamed the government for their involvement in kidnapping. They said if government had created job opportunities, they would not have been involved in crime. Those that kidnapped me are all unemployed graduates from the Niger-Delta.
They said the entire Niger-Delta region had no company that could provide them with jobs, but they had established private companies on their own and their guns were the tools. They said as long as the situation did not change, they were prepared to use the weapons to make a living for themselves
They apologised for shooting me in the leg. They begged me to forgive them from the depth of my heart and asked me to tell my wife to also forgive them for what they did to us. They confessed that what they did was uncalled for. I have forgiven them. Only God can judge them.
When they came to my compound, they told me to open the door. But I did not because I did not invite anybody to my house. When I saw them I was really scared. They actually thought that I was being stubborn. So, they shot at the door. They gained entrance into my house by shooting at the gate and the door. When they came in, they shot me in my leg for refusing to open the door for them
When they were taking me away, they (kidnappers) actually told my wife to go and provide N10m before they would release me. I thank God that with the prayers of people and fans around the country and those in Diaspora, they (my captors) did not collect anything from me. They only told me to send a message to the government to help the youths. They also told me that they did not go into kidnapping for their own selfish interest. They did not collect money from my family.
My advice to government is that it should take the issue of job creation seriously. The youths are not smiling. They (unemployed youths) are bitter and they are angry. They told me that it is always very painful when somebody spends many years in school, including university, and fails to get a reasonable job in the end.
They say it is more painful when your parents look up to you for support and you cannot get a job after graduating from the university. Government must begin to take the creation of jobs for the youth seriously. Apart from reducing crime to a manageable level, job creation will reduce the stress that security agents have to undergo to protect lives and property. The government should also look at the rural areas and build industries there so that the youth living around such places can be employed. That will reduce the incidence of kidnapping in Nigeria.”