…Kidnappers Demand N5m Ransom.
It was a tragic and abrupt end of the homeward journey of a deceased Enugu indigene whose remains was being conveyed to his home town from Lagos for burial as the hearse was attacked in Benin City, Edo State, and his younger brother accompanying the corpse kidnapped.
The journey had been smooth all the way from Lagos until the ambulance, with registration number LAGOS KRD 782 GO said to have set out around 6.30 am, got to the Benin bypass when they were attacked by some gun men who turned out to be kidnappers. It is suspected that the hearse was indeed the target of the criminals.
The driver of the hearse, Salami Erijuwa, who escaped death by the whiskers when their assailants opened fire on the vehicle said he had sighted the gun-wielding hoodlums from both sides of the road and managed to dodge the bullets but lost control and ended up in a ditch. However, the driver of the vehicle behind him was not that lucky as he died instantly from the stray bullets.
With the hearse in the ditch, the attackers were said to have dragged out the deceased’s younger brother who was sitting on the passenger’s seat in front, and marched him into the bush thus bringing the journey to an abrupt end. The ambulance was said to be seriously destroyed while the corpse was deposited at a mortuary around Benin-Auchi Road in Benin City.
As of the time of filing this report, the magazine gathered that frantic efforts were being made to secure the release of the kidnap victim. The distraught family was said to have opened negotiation for ransom with the kidnappers who were demanding the sum of five million naira.
Speaking with newsmen, the driver of the ill-fated hearse described the incident as traumatic. Erijuwa, who was visibly shaken by the experience, called for security along major highways across the country. The driver who spoke in pidgin English, said when they approached the spot, he sighted the gun men on both sides of the road, he suspected that they were robbers and before he knew it, they released staccato of gun shots on his vehicle.
Men of the Edo State Police Command however said some suspects constituting security threats along the Benin by-pass have been arrested. Recall that the late Dennis Abuda, an America-based Nigerian who died in custody of kidnappers February 6, was abducted along the Benin bypass en route Lagos to catch a flight back to his Atlanta, Georgia base.
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