- Survived on Cashew fruit for 4 days
The former Director of the Department of state Security (DSS), Mr. Mike Ejiofor, has narrated his ordeal at the hands of kidnappers; he identified as Fulani gunmen, who held him hostage at an undisclosed location in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria.
Ejiofor who had earlier some of his friends and contacts about his predicament, disclosed his close shave with death as a guest on Wednesday’s Sunrise Programme in Channels Television studio in Abuja.
He said he was kidnapped four days between Okene and Obajana in Kogi state, with the gunmen threatening to waste his life when his brother told them he could only raise N1million to pay them for his release.
According to the former secret service agent, he was returning to Abuja last Friday from Delta state, when the gunmen emerged from the bushes with sporadic gunshots that halted their movement allowing the assailants to kidnap them into the safe haven in the expansive bush after over an hour and 80 kilometres of trekking.
He said that the gunmen had demanded the sum of N30million as ransom before they will release him but he explained to infuriated kidnappers that the current challenges in the country will make it impossible to get such amounts of money.
It was at this point, Ejiofor said his younger brother begged the suspected “Fulani herdsmen” to collect N1million, which he could raise. This, according to him, angered the kidnappers, who wanted to kill him before he pleaded to be allowed time to make more contacts.
This was account of his ordeal: “I was driving back to Abuja from Delta State on Friday. Between Okene and Obajana bus stop, some Fulani gunmen jumped out of the bush and accosted us with sporadic gunfire. I asked my driver to stop the car. At that point, four of the Fulani gunmen, came over, pointed guns on our windows and asked us to come out.
“I want to say categorically that these people are not Fulani herdsmen but Fulani gunmen because they had nothing to do with cattle’s. There were no cattle’s around them. They just came out of the bush at about 2pm in the afternoon to perpetuate the act.”
“They took us into the bush. We trekked for about one hour into a vast forest before they said we should stop under a tree which turned out to be our abode for four days. When we got there, I asked them if I could communicate to people since they said it is money they wanted. They told me until 10pm. They collected all my belongings, my laptop bag, my IPAD, my wristwatch, my rosary and phones. They searched the ID card and saw that I was a retired DSS director and told me ‘so you are the people along with the Police who have been killing Boko Haram. I replied that that I was retired because I had to save my life. Commenting on how the Fulani gunmen could fathom that he was DSS personnel if they cannot read. Four of the herdsmen were moderately educated as they could operate the laptop and IPAD.”
Speaking further, the renowned security expert said the police or other security agencies could not have come to their aid because of “the type of weapons the gunmen were carrying is so sophisticated that the police cannot fight them in the bush”.
He noted: “The marksmanship of these people shows they are proficient. In fact, I was told that a bus that was behind us who refused to stop, they shot the driver on the head that died and when the vehicle skidded and tumbled, two of the passengers died while the bus caught fire. On if the herdsmen got information about his movement. I got information that they trailed my vehicle after we passed a Police Checkpoint.
“They go after Jeeps. There was a function by the Governor of Kogi State on that day. They thought my car; a Prado Jeep was part of those that attended the governor’s function in Okene.”
Ejiofor also revealed how he survived for the four days in captivity without food or water, saying: “They (Fulani Gunmen) were drinking the water from the pounds in the bush and they asked me if I will not drink, I said I will not drink. What saved me was that there was Cashew Trees all over the forest and I had to eat Cashew for the 4 days to survive”.
The security analyst who did not disclose if ransom was paid and how much, however thanked his friends who came to his aid before he was released but harped on the “need to declare a security emergency in the country”.
“We have crisis in our hands. Things are not working well. We must declare emergency in the security sub sector. The greatest of all the challenges we have now is the Fulani gunmen,” he said.