Saturday, 15 September 2012

‘For six days, they separated me from my nine-month triplets’

*A nursing mother’s
nightmare in
kidnappers den
By Henry Umoru
IT was a tearful home
coming for Mrs Justina
Ekwu Nwakwe (nee
Madu), a mother of
triplets in AMAC Estate,
Lugbe, off Nnamdi
Azikiwe Airport, Abuja,
last Sunday, when she
returned after six days
in kidnappers’ den.
Mrs Justina Ekwu
Nwakwe, in her early
thirties, hails from Achi,
Orji River local
government area of
Enugu State. A staff of
the Presidency, she is
married to Sir Rowland
Nwakwe also from
Enugu State but from
Mgbowo in Awgu local
government area. The
husband works with
the Federal Ministry of
Housing and Lands.
The victim was
abducted by the armed
gang on Monday,
September 3 between
7 p.m. and 8 p.m. in
front of her residence.
The men were said to
have laid ambush for
her by the gate to her
residence, opened the
gate for her to enter
and they immediately
drove away with her in
her Sienna bus marked,
DV 426 BWR.
Her bus was discovered
the next day at a bush
in Sabo, Lugbe area
where it was
abandoned after it ran
into a ditch, forcing
the kidnappers to take
her away in another
vehicle to an unknown
destination. Her GSM
handset, shoes and
handbag were intact
inside the bus. Also
found in the bus were
the caps of the
Mrs Nwakwe, who bore
her triplets nine
months ago, but one
died, never lost faith
that she would survive
the kidnapping.
Held captive for six
days, she ate noodles
in the kidnappers den.
The kidnappers,
moments after the
kidnapping, put a call
through to her
husband, demanding a
ransom of N25 million.
However, it was
gathered that nothing
was paid to the gang
at the end of the day.
*Nursing mother…
Kidnapped at home
A family friend of the
victim, Tobias
Obechina, told Sunday
Vanguard that the
police, on being
informed of the
kidnapping, launched a
manhunt for the gang.
Throughout the period
she was kidnapped, it
became a thing of
worry to the AMAC
Estate residents
especially against the
backdrop that it was
the first time an
incident of such would
happen in the
community. The
church which she and
her family attend, Our
Lady Queen of Martyrs
Parish, Sabo-Lugbe was
fully involved in
supporting the family
with prayers for the
release of the victim. It
was almost an
everyday block Rosary
session by the
parishers who
gathered at her
residence for prayers
under the supervision
of parish priest Vincent
Idanwojo that God
should touch the
hearts of the
kidnappers and release
The kidnapped mother
finally returned to the
family last Sunday.
After six days of
trauma, Mrs Nwakwe
was said to have been
drugged and dumped
at Agwansawa, a
village not too far from
the Estate around 7.30
p.m. where some boys
found her and took her
Sunday Vanguard
gathered that some
suspects have been
arrested by the police
in connection with the
The victim narrated her
ordeal when Sunday
Vanguard visited the
family. According to
her, the trauma started
last Sunday evening.
“They came in with me
as I drove in around 7
p.m. The next thing I
heard was `lie down,
lie down’. I now said,
`please don’t harm
anybody, I will
cooperate’. So, I lay
down on the floor
because I had already
come out of the
vehicle; so they said ‘if
you are cooperative,
we will not harm
anybody’. I told them
I will cooperate.
‘’They now asked me
to close my eyes and
jump inside the
vehicle. I jumped
inside the vehicle. They
blindfolded me, tied
my hands and stuffed
my mouth with
clothes; then they
yelled at my children;
`enter inside, enter
inside, if you shout, we
will shoot you’. Then
they drove off. I really
don’t know what
happened throughout
except the time they
took me out of the
vehicle and took me
inside the bush.”
When asked how many
the kidnappers were,
she explained: “I think
they were three
because one took over
the steering, one was
with me at the back;
the third one wanted
to enter the back seat,
they now commanded
him to enter the front;
so he jumped out and
entered the front seat”.
When Sunday
Vanguard asked if she
was maltreated by the
gang, Mrs Nwakwe
said, “All I know is that
I was walking inside
the bush, they beat me,
but not too much, they
hit me on the side of
the eye.”
On whether she asked
the kidnappers if she
did anything wrong to
warrant the action, she
answered: “Not really.
I was so scared and
confused, walking in
the night inside the
bush for more than
one hour, the
experience was
terrible. They did not
say that I offended
them, they only told
me that if I cooperate,
they will release me.
“Initially, they told me,
`Madam, do you know
what is happening?’ I
said no. They said, `You
have been kidnapped’.
I now begged them
not to kill me. I asked
them if they kidnapped
me for help or for
money, they said it
was for money; I said I
would cooperate as
much as I could.”
On how she fed while
in captivity, she
answered, “Once in a
while, they gave me
The mother of three
disclosed that she ate
the noodles because
there was no
alternative. “I had no
choice. I covered
myself with the blood
of Jesus. I told God, `I
don’t know what I am
eating, but all I know is
that you have laid
hand on the food that I
want to eat and I will
eat it.”
When asked about her
message for
government amidst
the rampant cases of
kidnapping in the
country, the victim
called on government
to address the issue of
unemployment against
the backdrop that her
captors told her that
they had no job and
they must survive.
“They told me,
`Madam, you are a nice
person, we go out and
people are talking so
good about you. It is
condition that put us in
the situation that we
are. We really don’t
mean what we are
doing, but no work, no
money and man has to
live’. The two that
released me asked me
to pray for them and,
that night they
released me, I really
prayed for them; I have
forgiven them.”
The husband, Rowland
Nwakwe, said he got
his church members,
friends and family to
pray for the safe return
of the wife while the
kidnapping lasted. “I
had the faith that
nothing would happen
to my wife, but it was
a trying period. My
neighbours, relations,
church members,
friends, all came
together to take care
of the babies.”

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