KIDNAPPING IN NIGERIA: THE ORDEAL OF A YOUNG MAN’S NARROW ESCAPE AND LESSONS LEARNT

He had a long and stressful day, came home late at night, a young man in his late twenties. A typical everyday-Nigerian youth whose long struggle to get a decent education bears marks of shortfalls and triumphs. He has never doubted his reverence for hard work and delayed gratification. A young man trying to plot his own escape from poverty, grateful for the love of his parents while also acknowledging the failed experiment his country has become.

Embroiled in the Nigerian hustle, with a postgraduate program at the nick of completion. In less than three days, he would be graduating with a second degree, his dreams being fulfilled incrementally, his joy creakingly expanding. He is gradually drawing closer to his goals, he had promised to attend his friend’s wedding ceremony. The educational success and a reunion with his old friend would be a cheerful way to celebrate his achievements.

Maybe he was wrong, he didn’t see it coming. He slept that night, in the odd hours of the night, a nightmare, woke up panting in anxiety!!!!. A terrible dream, chanting God’s name as he could recollect it. Twenty minutes later, his mum called the phone, oh no!!, what could have happened. He mustered some courage, picked the call with the expectation of bad news, mum! he muttered, the mum in her trembling voice asked if he was fine and he replied yes, hiding his fear.

She said my son, don’t go out today, please stay at home and pray to God. I plead with you, be indoor throughout. He asked his mum why she was saying this, hesitant to narrate a bad dream, she replied, I had a bad dream, I saw you in my dream, God forbid, you entered my room coming to greet me. As you moved nearer for me to stretch my arms, you disappeared. It won’t happen, get to work and start praying she said.

He said mum, I heard you, don’t let us panic, trust in God and we will be fine. He relies too much on his own cleverness, everything has to be subjected to logic and reason. Reassured by his enduring faith in God, he said he would pray and go out, convinced that nothing would happen.

He went out, a stupid act despite the warning? not so clear, he had a drama-free morning and afternoon, in the evening at 5:00 pm, he was at a computer shop in semi-urban Nigeria pricing laptop accessory, not the right accessory he needed, stumped out of the shop in disappointment. Heading home, he reached across the road to board a taxi, dressed in a native attire holding his laptop bag. A taxi drove by, asked where he was headed, he replied. He said I have a big change, hope you don’t mind. The sly taxi-driver replied no problem, the taxi had four men inside, two at the front seats with the driver inclusive, two passengers in the back seat.

It was all planned, unbeknownst to him, the men in the car knew each other. One passenger from the back seat dropped at the stop pretending to have reached his destination, the operation was well executed, the devious trick was to get their catch to seat in the middle. Unsuspectingly, he entered, then there was another passenger shouting from behind waving the driver to stop that he was going to the same destination. The well-orchestrated plan by the kidnappers was to fake a stop, in turn, one person from the back seat would highlight at the pick up to tell the fifth accomplice where the target was heading.

This explains why there was a sudden wail from afar asking the taxi driver to stop, they all knew each other, sinister teamwork, the driver waited for the last man to enter the car and behold!  he (target) was now in middle seat. The kidnappers got what they wanted.  A spontaneous and daily bustling of life had been mimicked to trap him, sensitized by his mother’s warning dream about the day, he was on edge. He has prayed to God about the day, uncomfortably sitting in between the two kidnappers. He was vigilant, then he remembered the impending warning of the day, realizing that everybody in the taxi was strong male other than himself.

The man seated to his right was unsettling, pretending to look for what appeared to be missing, peeking through his pockets. He looked at the kidnapper to his right suspiciously, the kidnapper greeted him trying to ease his fear. He was becoming afraid of the unusual body movement of the kidnapper, the kidnapper appeared to have found what he was looking for and it turned out to be a white handkerchief.  Something was about to happen he thought, scared and in distress, he looked at the kidnapper to his left, there was another handkerchief with him.

Oh no, a moving car, everybody was quiet, suddenly it felt like a dessert, no one was talking, he was not himself again, he looked for an exit. The car doors locked but had two glass windows wound down. Waiting breathlessly for an attempt by the kidnappers, a sudden flash of his mother’s warning jittered him. The kidnapper to his right expecting him to have been morose by the embedded charm in the car seat, trying to confirm if he had been confined by a mystical power, spoke in a condescending manner to him expecting a motionless response.

He knew there was a problem, before the kidnappers could notice his graceful disenchantment by their charm, he reached for a flight through the car door’s window, head stalked outside the window and trying so hard to get the body out of the moving car. The kidnappers sensed an exposure, they demanded that the door be opened for him to get out. Onlookers, passersby and passengers from other cabs were screaming and shocked by the scene. The car’s door was opened by one of the men, alas! he was set free, retrieved his bag and at the same time lost for words.

He thanked God for this happy ending experience, people thought the scene was a fight unfolding among passengers in the taxi, but he knew better. He understood the gravity of the battle he had just won. A lesson learnt, what could have been? who knows?

This is the reality of the country we live in, it cannot continue this way and we should all police our lives and communities to expose evil.

Remember that you are your own security where there is insecurity, be vigilant all the time.

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OLAMIDE AREGE

Olamide T. Arege is a Nigerian, research scientist, politician, social critic, revolutionary and online entrepreneur. He is the owner of Braingrip website (www.braingrip.com). He is from Lagos, Nigeria. A passionate blogger with social, educational, business and political interests. Educational qualifications: OND, B.Sc. and M.Sc.

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