“We are in serious trouble; at about 2pm on January 26, 2022, I got a call from my cousin who came back from Switzerland for a burial at Umuike Ukpor (Ukpor is in Nnewi South Council, Anambra State). He told me that he was under the captivity of IPOB guys at Lilu. The IPOB guys told me to come with N200,000 and bail my brother and his SUV if I still want him alive. They warned me not to involve police or else they will kill my brother.
“Initially, I thought it was a prank but when the call came again, I knew it was a serious matter.
“I called my elder sister and she warned me not to try it. I called my boss in the office and told him what was happening and he advised me not to go. I also sought the opinion of my other friend who is a DSS guy, he asked me not to go. But my instinct continued telling me to go and save Okey. I took my old Sienna bus and withdrew N250k and moved.
“As soon as I joined the St. Joseph/Onuselogu road, one particular bike man started following me from Awka Etiti section. (He was the emissary). Surprisingly, the person asked me whether I was the person with the Sienna and I answered in the affirmative. He then asked me to stop at Hajosty Petroleum at Ukpor which I did. I pretended that I wanted to buy fuel but the pump attendant told me that one man was calling me on the other side of the road.
“I walked to the other side and the man showed me my phone number and asked me whether I was the owner which I accepted. He then told me to buy him two bottles of Hero beer at a shop there which I did. I also took my own two bottles of Heineken beer.
“He then told me that my brother was in safe hands only that MNK (Mazi Nnamdi Kanu), Onye Ndu is in prison and there is no money to operate. That is why they deployed a way of raising money by kidnapping. I told him that I understood him perfectly well. I waited for further instructions. He then told me to remove everything that bears Nigeria I have on me and keep them in my vehicle and I obliged.
“He asked me to join him on his bike and we zoomed off from that Hajosty Petroleum Ukpor. The guy was on a neck-breaking speed until he got to Lilu junction, Orsumoghu. There is also a filling station there but I cannot remember the name now. He stopped and went to the filling station to greet some fierce-looking men. All of them were carrying AK 47 automatic rifles with cache of ammunitions.
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“He asked me to pick a green leaf and be waving it across my head as he rode into Lilu. They created a road in the bush where one could drive through but the road was seriously manned by IPOB guys. We got to a point where they used a trip of chippings to block the tarred road and they dug a deep gully after the chippings to prevent soldiers from entering with armoured tanks into Lilu. That was when I knew that I was in trouble.
“We rode for about three kilometers without seeing any life there except IPOB guys who were armed with various types of arms and dangerous weapons. My visa was the green leaf which identified me as a peaceful man.
“When we got to their camp, it was a gory sight. Everywhere smelled like sewage or septic tank. My brother was already pushed into their cell. I stayed there for 30 minutes before the GOC (General Officer Commanding) came out to see me.
“As soon as the GOC saw me, he queried them why they brought me there. They told him that I came for my brother. I told him how I got a call and how I came to save my brother. He said that he liked my guts. He asked them to bring out my brother.
“They brought him out, knelt him down before me. I gave them what they asked me to bring and I also gave them 20k (N20, 000) to drink. The GOC told me to be praying for MNK to be released. He ordered four of his men to escort us to that Ukpor junction.
“I was shocked to see a woman selling beer there and some girls who put spices to their lives were there singing and clapping. I bought them beer, they were 25 in number. But most of them were speaking Abakaliki dialect. Several exotic cars were there. It is either their owners were killed or the owners ran away and abandoned them.
“Lilu town is like Sambisa forest now. It has been taken over by insurgents. There is no life there now. These guys are mean. They have intelligence everywhere. They are small boys. Lilu, Orsumoghu, Azia, Isekke, Ukpor are in serious trouble. It is very unfortunate. The experience is not worth having for a second time. We are in serious trouble in Anambra South.” Vanguard