After a few weeks of respite, suspected kidnappers have swooped on a family at the Epe area of Lagos State, and abducted a 16-year-old student of Caleb University, Rachel Chukwuemeka. The kidnappers have swiftly demanded a N10 million ransom.
Chukwuemeka, the only child of her parents, is a first year Accounting student of Caleb University. She was abducted on Thursday around 1:00a.m. Numbering six, the kidnappers, reportedly armed to the teeth, came in a Sienna car and four among them went straight to the girl’s apartment. They used an axe to break down the door of the apartment and grabbed the girl, who was in her pyjamas.
They also inflicted machete cuts on her father when he attempted to struggle with them over Rachel. A resident said the injury on the man was so serious, that he had to be rushed to the nearest hospital.
Residents, who said kidnapping was still rife in the area, despite the presence of mobile policemen patrolling the area, revealed that more than six cases occurred within the last two weeks.
According to a source, Rachel’s abductors called on Friday night, demanding for N10 million ransom. The source said: “Rachel’s family lives at the back of the building. The building itself is fenced. The kidnappers jumped into the compound and went straight to Rachel’s flat. They used an axe to break down the door. They made enough noise to wake other tenants.
“When they gained entry into the flat, they asked her parents for Rachel and went into her room to grab her. She screamed and cried. She was only in her pyjamas; almost naked. They didn’t ask for anything else. They didn’t demand for money. They were not armed robbers.
“While four scaled the fence into the compound, two remained in the Sienna car. One, among the four that jumped into the compound, wore facemask. Rachel’s father refused to allow them to take her. When the father tried to stop them, they inflicted machete cuts on him.
“When the kidnappers called the following day to ask for ransom, Rachel’s mother demanded to speak with her daughter. The kidnappers gave Rachel the phone. The mother asked her if she was molested in anyway, she said no.
“She told her mother that they gave her clothes to cover herself. Rachel said that after the kidnappers snatched her from home, they bundled her into the Sienna car and drove to the jetty in the area. At the jetty, they left the car and entered a boat. She said she didn’t know where they took her. She described the place as isolated. The kidnappers collected the phone and told the mother to start working on how to raise the money,” the source added.
Residents believed Rachel was the target of the abduction after several days and weeks of careful planning. According to a resident, “we believe some of these kidnappers and their informants live in the community with us. We are terrified. They go after people they think have money. Kidnapping is becoming rampant in the area.
“Within two weeks, six different incidents of kidnap have occurred. It’s a serious matter. These men always escape through the river. I am suspecting that the parents of the girl will pay the ransom. I wouldn’t blame them. They’ll negotiate with the kidnappers. They appeared to be on their own. The police have not made any arrest since Thursday.
In most kidnap cases that have taken place in this area, victims’ families used to sort things out themselves.” Attempts by The Guardian to get the reaction of Lagos police spokesman, Famous Cole was futile as his telephone rang without any response.