HEADLINE | Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2024

How I was lured by Fulani herdsman into kidnapping US returnees — Trader

A trader who was paraded alongside 16 other persons in Ebonyi State, Njoku Michael, has narrated how a Fulani herdsman lured him into the kidnapping of some returnees from the United States of America for the last Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The trader made the revelation when he was paraded by the spokesman of the Ebonyi State Police Command, Joshua Akandu, at the state headquarters in Abakaliki, the state capital.

He confirmed that they received N40 million ransom in both naira and dollar for the kidnap.

Michael, who is from Abia State, said: “We were four persons who carried out the kidnap but it was only two of us who were captured by the police and we don’t know where the others are. We didn’t kill anybody, the lady who died was out of fear, we didn’t shoot anybody.

“The man who involved me is a Fulani man, he is my customer. He buys things from me in my shop where I sell provisions. The man came to my shop on December 13, 2023, with his cattle. I told him: ‘Alhaji, you have many cows now o.’

“But he told me: ‘Yes, the cows are mine.’ I pleaded with him to borrow me N50,000 and promised to pay him back in February. He told me that he had no money and promised to get back to me.

“Five days later, the man came back to me. He didn’t come back with his cattle this time around. He told me that he wanted to carry me to work in Afikpo, Ebonyi State and I had never been to Afikpo before.

“I asked him the type of work he wanted to carry me and he told me it was manure work, that he wanted me to bag it and if I worked hard, I would earn N30,000 or N40,000 in four days.

“I said okay and called my brother to take care of my shop so that I would follow the Alhaji and go for that work. I followed the man to Afikpo and we got to Afikpo on that New Year in the evening.

“He bought me food and lodged me in one hotel. With the money, he stopped a bike and told me to join him on the bike and he took me to a thick forest and told me he was coming back.

“He went and brought two of his brothers and kept them with me. He didn’t tell me what he wanted me to do and it was evening period. He left us and came back with a bag. When he turned it on the ground, it was a gun and a cloth.

“I asked him what we were going to do with a gun, he asked me: ‘I think you said you were looking for money? This is the time we are going to look for the money.’