A 300 level student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, identified as Praise Adelakin has recounted how he was kidnapped at a public motor park in the state.
According to Punch, the 18-year-old girl was returning to Ibadan, Oyo State where she lives with her parents, when she met her nightmare.
Praise had gone to the school in the morning of that day to put her things in place in the hostel ahead of resumption after some weeks of strike by lecturers in the institution.
Around 4pm, she left for the Mayfair Motor Park, a public park in the town to board a bus going to Ibadan, where her family resides.
Praise was expected to arrive Ibadan by around 6pm on the same day, but instead she found herself in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital by midnight of the following day.
She said, “We’ve been on strike for some weeks. Meanwhile, new students had resumed three weeks before the strike, but due to the action, they were also sent back home.
“On July 23, I decided to go to school to check if my things were still intact and probably whether they had allocated my space (at Moremi Hall) to someone else.
“I got there and saw that my things had been scattered; my mattress had also been taken away with my buckets and other things, so I had to go round the rooms to gather them together. When I did that, I put them in my locker.
“When I finished all that, I decided to return home and that was around 4pm. I had arrived in school by 11am. So I went to the Mayfair Motor Park in Ife to get a bus back to Ibadan. It’s a popular motor park in the town because it’s a public one. When I got there, there were only two passengers in the bus and the driver was hanging around somewhere.
“All the same, I entered the bus to wait until we had enough passengers to take off. As at 7pm, we were only nine in the 18-seater white Mazda bus. It was getting dark, so everyone started complaining. We begged the driver to take off and told him that while on the way, it was possible he would get more passengers. He agreed and we took off.”
According to Praise, nothing in the driver’s appearance or the look of the bus suggested anything was fishy.
After all, they boarded the bus in a motor park, Praise thought.
She continued, “There is a university outside Ife town called Oduduwa University. A few minutes drive past it, our driver said he wanted to pass through a short-cut. He said because it was weekend, there was traffic in front. So he took us through the route.
“When we turned to pass through the so-called short-cut, we saw a bus in front of us and there was another bus behind us. It was a bushy path, but we were not so afraid because of the other two buses which were also taking the route. We thought it was a route which would take us to Ibadan faster.
“As we were going through the path, we got to a junction where we saw that the bus which was in front of us was already parked.
“The passengers had disembarked. As we got there, we were also flagged down by a group of about five men; our driver stopped and he himself ordered us to get down. Everyone was shocked and we wondered what was happening, but nobody talked. We were all just looking.
“The bus behind us was also stopped and the passengers in the three buses were up to 40. They asked us to lie face down. At that point, I became afraid as I knew something was wrong. As I lay down, I quickly sent a message on my phone to my dad, reading, ‘Dad, I am held hostage and I don’t even know where we are. I think I am in danger.
“My dad called me back after a few minutes, but I couldn’t pick it. The phone rang out. When they heard that my phone rang, they came back and collected my phone and others’. After collecting our phones, they went back to their meeting.
“After a while, they returned and surprisingly, they asked the passengers in my driver’s bus to get back in. They instructed our driver to go and ‘dismiss’ us off. I was afraid. I thought ‘dismissing us’ meant ‘killing us.’ Our driver looked disappointed, so he shouted at us to get in; he was now holding a gun.
“Everybody kept quiet. Then he drove away inside the bush till it was really dark. When it was around 10pm, he started dropping us one by one. He would drive for about 10 minutes, drop a passenger and give him or her their phone and bag, then drive for another 10 minutes, drop another passenger, and on and on like that.
“He would spread the phones out and ask the person to pick their phone. It finally got to my turn and I think I was the sixth passenger to be dropped, I can’t remember full well because at that point, I had become so confused.
“He stopped me at a T-junction and gave me my phones, but they were already dead, so I couldn’t contact anyone. When he dropped me, he told me I was at Share (Kwara State).
“I didn’t know where Share was then. It was very dark, around 11pm. The village was quiet. Anywhere I turned to, it was forest all around me. I got to know later that Share was very close to Niger State. It’s a border town between Kwara and Niger state,” she said.