Five members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, who were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday, have been released.
They were kidnappd while travelling to their orientation camps in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states, alongside two other passengers.
The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Dasuki Galadanchi told journalists that the victims were travelling from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states where they were billed to undertake their three-week NYSC orientation.
The CP gave the names of the corps members as Abiola Temitope, Olubisi Adekanmi, Jose Temitayo, Folarin Opeyemi and Shonibare Ademola.
Other victims were identified as Leonard Uzondu and Raymond Ojodahe.
Galadanchi stated that the kidnappers contacted the families of the corps members and demanded N5m ransom.
“The victims were travelling from Ibadan to Port Harcourt. Five out of the seven of them are prospective corps members. They were on their way to the NYSC orientation camps in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states for the three weeks camping.
“They were kidnapped around 5am on Wednesday at Umuapu, on the Owerri-Port-Harcourt Expressway. The kidnappers took them to a forest and dispossessed them of all their belongings, including money, phones, ATM cards and voter cards.
“They compelled them to call their relatives at home to speak to them. Immediately contact was established, they instilled fear in the parents and demanded N5m for their freedom.”
The CP explained that through intelligence gathering, the operatives of the Counter Terrorism Unit of the command were alerted.
“The operatives went into the bush and on sighting the officers, the kidnappers abandoned their victims and fled. We rescued them unhurt, but the hoodlums made away with their valuables.
“This is part of the dividends of community policing. I urge Imo State residents to keep sharing information with the police. We cannot do it alone,” he said.
Galadanchi said he had ordered investigation into the incident with a view to arresting the fleeing suspects.
One of the victims, Abiola, disclosed that,
“They stopped our bus and ordered us at gunpoint to follow them into the forest. They were five with guns and machetes.
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