The Nigeria Army on Thursday handed over a Corp member kidnapped by gunmen along Wukari-Jalingo road to the authorities of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Mr David Markson, the Taraba Coordinator of NYSC, who disclosed this to newsmen in Jalingo said a corps member, Mr Okoye John, 28, who is serving in Benue was kidnapped on the March 4 at about 8.30 pm when the vehicle he was travelling in from Ukum in Benue to Jalingo ran into a checkpoint mounted by the gunmen.
According to him, the corps member was blindfolded and taken into the bush on a motorcycle from where the kidnappers established contact with his father whom they requested to pay the sum of 5,000 as a ransom to secure his release.
Okoye, who narrated his ordeal in the hands of the kidnappers said he was denied food for several days and was beaten mercilessly by his abductors who stripped him of his NYSC uniform and left him naked for days.
“On the 4th of March, I was travelling from Ukum to Jalingo after getting clearance to go for medical treatment because I am highly asthmatic. At about 8.30 pm, our vehicle ran into a supposed police checkpoint mounted by gunmen.
“We were flagged down and everybody in the vehicle was ordered to come down from the vehicle and forced to lie down on the road. They collected all our money including my own N22,000 before they eventually blindfolded me and dragged me into the bush”, he stated amidst sobs.
Okoye said he was driven on a bike inside the bush for over an hour before he was dropped at a destination where he was kept for days.
“They asked me to call NYSC to bring money but I told them NYSC doesn’t give money but I eventually gave them my father’s number whom they told to bring N5 million or I’ll be killed.
“After several days of negotiation, and after my dad insisted that he doesn’t have money, they eventually agreed to collect N300,000, after collecting the money, they blindfolded me again and drove me through the bush for another hour before dropping me off.
“I was wandering in the bush before the operatives of Operation Ayema Kpatuma saw me and I told them I was a corps member and was kidnapped by gunmen.
“They told me that they have been looking for me and that was how I was rescued,” he said.
Speaking to Journalists after taken custody of Okoye from the Army authorities, the NYSC Coordinator, Mr Markson warned Corp members to avoid night travels and be very conscious of their security.
He thanked the Nigeria Army for a job well done by ensuring the rescue of Okoye, saying NYSC would continue to collaborate with the Army wherever necessary to enable them to do more for the society.