■ Chilling story of shot bizman’s escape from kidnappers
Enugu-born business¬man, Chief Emeka Omii, has told the heart-rending story of his miraculous survival after kidnappers shot him several times in the mouth, thigh and neck, for attempt¬ing to escape from where he was being held.
Having gone through the valley of the shadow of death as the Good Book described the experience of the Psalmist, Omii could easily be likened to the proverbial cat with nine lives.
Notwithstanding the fact that his body bears the ugly signs of his encounter with the merchants of death, Omii is exceedingly happy, and understandably so, to be alive to tell his story.
To start with, Omii was stripped naked by the gang that abducted and threatened to waste him if he did not give them N50 million. To prove that it was not an emp¬ty threat, the kidnappers beat him black and blue; they blindfolded him, tied his hands and legs and left in the bush. But determined to live, Omii made brave efforts to escape from where he was being held, but was caught again by the kidnappers, who shot then him on the thigh, neck and mouth.
With bullet wounds in his body, he eventually escaped from his captors and hid in an uncomplet¬ed church building. Bleeding pro¬fusely, he was mistaken for a thief by locals, who almost burnt him alive but for the quick intervention of a community leader.
Recalling that horrifying ex¬perience of watching young men wanting to set him on fire, Omii said: “They came with tyres, logs and different things, saying that I was a thief. They kept me there, asking me all sorts of questions. They did not even allow me to explain anything. I was bleeding; I was dying.”
Omii, who is based in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State, revealed that the encoun¬ter with the dare devil kidnappers happened at Aro Ngwa, Abia State, where he had gone to pay workers harvesting palm fruits for him.
Continuing the sweet tale of how he survived the bitter experience he had in the hands of kidnappers, Omii, who hails from Arinri Local Government Area of Enugu State said: “On that fateful day, I went to Aro Ngwa to pay my workers who were harvesting palm fruits for me. On getting there, about seven young men with guns accosted us. It was about 3pm. They said that everybody should lie down but I asked them, ‘gentlemen, who are you?’ They said we should obey first before asking questions. But I told them that they just can’t come and tell us to lie down like that. Then they told me that they were kidnappers. I got up; they told my friend, Mr David Orafor, to get up but he was lying on the ground, he didn’t get up. So, they shot at him. Fortunately the bullets didn’t get him; they passed through his arm¬pit. Thinking that they had injured my friend, I tried to go and check what they had done to him. They hit me with the butt of a gun and took me away. They took my car – a Sienna space wagon and put me at the back seat and we left. I told my friend that I would be com¬ing back. But before they came, somebody who sold a land to me nicknamed Baba Ke though late now, passed by on a motorcycle. He was answering a call and look¬ing at me. He said he was coming. Immediately he passed, this peo¬ple came.
“They took me to Obingwa and demanded that I should give them N50million. I told them that I had never seen such money before; I told them that the only money I had on me was N200,000. I said I would give it to them and I was also ready to give them the origi¬nal documents of my car but they told me that if I do not give them N50 million they would waste me. They took me inside the bush, stripped me naked, tied my hands and blindfolded me and asked me to stay there. I was there till about 7pm when they came back on a motorcycle, asking me if I was ready to bring the N50 million. Again, I told them I had never seen such amount of money. I wanted to shout but they said if I shouted, they would kill me. I begged them to give me water to drink but they refused.
“While I was inside the vehicle, they stepped on my head and shot me on the neck but God saved my life. The bullet didn’t go straight to the bone; it just brushed off my skin. When I discovered that they didn’t want to let me go, I decided to take my fate in my own hands. I was already bleeding and I knew that if they left me there I would die. But if I managed to escape, I could be saved. So, I decided that instead of me to die in pain, I would die honourably. I now decided to fight them. Like I said earlier, I was blindfolded and my tied hands tied, but I removed the blindfold. I asked them to let me go, that I would not stay there with them again. They started fighting with me inside the bush.
“They put me on their bike and brought me inside the town. They gave somebody sign to go and check if the road was clear so that they could take me into their warehouse where they keep their victims. So, I started fighting with them. In the process, they tried to strangle me. I saw one of them holding a cutlass and he asked his colleagues to make way so that he would cut me with the cutlass. I jumped up and grabbed the cut¬lass; I pushed the knife towards his chest and he left it for me. As I raised the cutlass up, all of them ran away. I used the cutlass to cut the rope on my leg. Then they shot me on the leg and I ran into the bush. They started shooting every¬where. They chased me from that point (7.30pm) till about 10pm. We were running inside the bush. Because they already knew the ter¬rain, if I tried to dodge they would see me and go to block me else-where. They were telling them¬selves that I was coming towards one direction or another.”
Bruised and battered, the busi¬nessman was eventually caught again by the kidnappers. That was when Omii noticed the deep cut on his lips, in addition to other injuries on other parts of his body, because as he was running within the vil¬lage, the abductors were shooting at him. Luckily, only a few bullets hit him, but none of them touched his bones.
His words: “So, when they caught me for the second time, they took me into their warehouse. That was about 12am. But before then, they dropped me on the road and hit me with cudgels. They asked me where I came from and I told them that I came from Enu¬gu. They asked me why I came to steal there and I told them I did not come to steal anything. That I could not come to that village to steal anything. That was when I discovered that some villagers had joined them in chasing me because they told them that the person they were chasing was an armed robber. There was an argument or confu¬sion because I told them that I was kidnapped while they said that I was a thief. They were arguing among themselves. Another group with guns emerged and asked me to get up. I asked them who they were and they said that they were vigilante people. I asked them what they wanted to do and they said that I should follow them. I was still 100 per cent naked; they had removed all my clothes. The two guys took me inside a house in the bush. I noticed that the same gun they came with to kidnap me was the same gun they had with them, because they cut the butt of the gun to make it shorter. It was the same people.
“They warned me not to attempt escaping because there was no way I could escape from that place. Because of too much struggling, I was already tired. I slept off im¬mediately they locked the door and left me. It was a mud house but with high walls. In a dream or what seemed like a dream, it was like someone tapped me and asked me why I thought those guys were my friends? I woke up and didn’t see anybody but the voice kept re-echoing and saying the same thing. I considered my situation and concluded that there was no way I could escape from that place. The wall of the house was so high and they blocked the window from the back. I tried to sleep again in submission, saying after all I had bullet wounds there was no way I was going to escape. As I want¬ed to sleep, the same voice came again and told me that in some of the movies I had watched some ac-tors were shot but they used their last strength to escape while I was there wallowing in self-pity. I now summoned courage to seek how to escape. My mind told me to try the door and I pulled it with force. The door slacked and I pulled it again and the door opened. I ran into the bush.
“They told me that nobody had ever escaped from that place. One miraculous thing that happened was that all the dogs around the place were sleeping when I es¬caped. It was when I left that I noticed that they were dogs. I en¬tered into the bush and saw a very big wolf, it ran away. Immediately I left, I heard dogs barking. Then they started shooting, meaning that they returned immediately I left. I decided not to go straight to the road because I would be an easy catch. I decided to walk through the bush until I saw a signboard belonging to a certain church in Obingwa. At a time, I couldn’t walk again because they had shot my leg and the pains were excruciating. I could hardly move again, so I lay on the ground. But my mind told me that they could just walk in there, kill me and walk away.
“I struggled to enter into one un¬completed building of the church. Early in the morning, about 5am, I saw women going to the market; I was shouting but they didn’t hear me. Sometime later, I saw a man riding a motorcycle. I shouted and told him to bring the police for me. He asked me what I was doing there and I told him that kidnap¬pers shot me and that I just man¬aged to escape from them. Mean¬while, I was still stark naked. But the man told me that policemen do not come to that place. So, he left; he didn’t even look at me. After some minutes, I saw another per¬son riding a bicycle and I begged him to get some policemen for me. He asked who I was and I intro¬duced myself to him. I told him that I escaped from kidnappers and that they shot me severally, so I could not stand up. He said ok, went and invited the whole village. They came with tyres, logs and different things, saying that I was a thief. They kept me there, asking me all sorts of questions. They did not even allow me to explain any¬thing. It was the village head who came and asked them how they ever thought that this sort of man will come to the village to steal palm fruits or cassava. I told the man that I had an SUV, LJ Cruiscame and asked them how they er and Sienna, and the man asked them how possible it was for me to leave all those things and come to steal in the village. He told them to look at my skin; that I do not look like a petty thief. Meanwhile, the kidnappers were running around the village in my Sienna. Kidnap¬ping was like an official business in that village, so they were not hiding. ¬
“The man went to the tradition¬al ruler and relayed his findings to him. The traditional ruler sent the Bakassi Boys and when they came, I was still lying down naked. They started shooting and every¬body started running away. They did their spiritual investigation or whatever they call it and gave me a clean bill of health. They took me to Umuobiakwa police sta¬tion in Obingwa. From there, they took me to Central Police Station (CPS), Aba. I was still naked, so one policeman removed him shirt and gave me. I just managed to use the shirt to cover the vital place.
Police in the mix
Omii said that it was at the po¬lice that his people brought clothes for him. It took the police time to launch an investigation into the matter; they were rather busy mak¬ing demands. By then his lawyer and many other people had con¬verged on the station, telling them that Omii was innocent. They told the police that he was a victim of kidnapping but the police request¬ed for money but he didn’t have the amount they wanted. So they turned around to say that they had a shootout with some armed rob¬bers, and maybe Omii was one of the armed robbers. At this point, his friend David Orafor, went to the soldiers who had given the kidnappers a chase when the ad¬duction took place. The army of¬ficer told them that the matter was reported the previous day and that his men chased the kidnappers until rain started falling and they couldn’t see the tyre marks again. The officer took Omii’s friend to the Area Commander and he or¬dered that he should be released to seek treatment. He was then taken to the teaching hospital. Unfortu¬nately, soon after the wounds were sutured, the hospital staff went on strike. From there, Omii was taken to Living World Hospital. Later he went overseas for surgery.
Today, Omii strongly believes that Baba Ke who sold the land to him had a hand in the travail that befell him. He told Sunday Sun: “I suspect Baba Ke because the guy had been perpetrating so many evils. He once kidnapped a 10-month-old boy and sold him. He was into many crimes but now he is dead. The family is aware because I went to their house and told them that Baba Ke was in¬volved. He was killed in the vil¬lage by fellow criminals he wanted to outsmart. They cut off his head and left.”
Another escape from death
The kidnap incident was not the only time Omii had had a close shave with death. By his own ac¬count, he fought with a massive cobra and killed it. Narrating his encounter with the animal, Omii explained that sometime ago, he entered inside a cave in his village on adventure but while coming out, a huge cobra had blocked the entrance. As the cobra wanted to attack him, he removed his shirt and threw it at the cobra. As the shirt covered the cobra’s head, he held it and struck it against a stone continuously until the cobra died. There was serious celebration in the village. The cobra was later cooked and feasted on by Omii and his kinsmen.
■ Chilling story of shot bizman’s escape from kidnappers