Sunday Magazine

Nnewi Monarch: My ordeal in the hands of kidnappers

The traditional ruler of Uruagu-Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, His Majesty, Obi Afam Obi, has recounted his ordeal in the hands of kidnappers, who abducted him on the eve of Friday February 12, 2021. Speaking to newsmen in his palace in Uruagu, yesterday, the monarch said: “On Friday, February 12, I attended the burial ceremony of my mother’s elder brother, in Uru-Dunu, Ifite Oraifite, in Ekwusigo LGA of Anambra State.


“On return to the palace, I informed those in the palace that I needed to be somewhere, and that I would be back soon. “Upon driving out, along Nkwo-Nkwo road, I observed that a Camry car was trailing me closely; so, I remained alert. However, seeing that they were up to something, I abruptly took to the road leading to Ichi mortuary, in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State; but they followed me.


“Eventually the fully armed and masked young boys intercepted me and came down from their car, one of them held the handle of my car door; threatening me with gun (AK- 47). As he was not able to open the door, he used the head of the gun to break my windscreen and door glass. The others started shooting sporadically into the air. “I had to surrender by turning off the engine, and opening the door myself.


They searched my car, picked up my phone, and we drove off in their own car; while they also covered my face with mask,” he said. He recalled that whenever they arrived any police checking point, the kidnappers would remove their facemasks, and would help him remove his own, and would demand his cooperation. The kidnappers, he revealed, also posed as his police escorts as they journeyed to their den.


He added: “Presumably, around 2am, we arrived at their den; I did not know the actual destination; and, due to the mask I had over my eyes. My hands were tied with wire gauze, which caused bruises on my right hand. “Two days later; precisely on Sunday, my abductors informed me that there was a planned protest in my community, concerning my kidnap. They admonished me that I should instruct the palace to ensure that the protest did not hold; or they would take my life. “For the first time, they gave me my phone to make calls for that purpose. First, I called my Palace Secretary, but got no response. Then, I called my wife, who picked the call. I pleaded with her to direct the Palace Secretary to make sure that the planned protest did not hold.”

The monarch further recalled that throughout his stay in his abductors’ den, they fed him well, and ensured that he did not lack food and water; as they believed that his life was necessary for the success of the mission; adding that: “Between Monday and Tuesday, being February 15 and 16, 2021, I personally negotiated my ransom, with the help of my family and some of my subjects. The ransom was paid as well.


“That same evening, they led me out of their den, into another Camry car. We took off and drove till the next morning, and, around 6am, on Wednesday, February 17, they stopped at Abagana market in Njikoka LGA of Anambra State, and directed me to step down from the car. They handed my phone to me and drove off.


“Standing there, I called my brother, who came there and picked me, and we drove to my palace in Nnewi,” he said. The traditional ruler further expressed gratitude to his family members and the good people of Nnewi, who he said, the Almighty God used in one way or the other to facilitate his release.


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