Kidnapped For Ransom: A Personal Experience

Kidnapped for ransom. a personal story of being kidnapped for ransom in Nigeria

Another worrisome problem in Nigeria

This is a personal story of being kidnapped for ransom. I will tell it with all my heart. However, to put it in a proper perspective, I will begin by giving you a brief background.

I live in Nigeria, a country richly blessed by God but filled with many problems. Most of the problems are caused by all of us humans – leaders and the citizenry alike. This is a piece of common knowledge but some people will still choose to deny it.

We are all part of the problems and the problems are part of us. But for how long will we continue to live with all the preventable problems that plague us?

Except you are from outer space, you must be well aware of some of the not-so-good stories of things that befall us as a people and as the nation with the highest population of blacks in the world. Because of that, I would totally understand if you are fed up with hearing ugly tales about Nigeria and Nigerians.

And to be honest with you, most of us are tired too, but what can we say? It’s our country after all – for better or worse.

Just read my story highlighting another worrisome problem we face. It may sound familiar but it doesn’t mean that what happened is acceptable.

As Nigerians, we deserve a better life than the country is offering us.

Our lives and property are in constant danger. Life is almost seen as meaningless here.

Blame it on prolonged bad leadership, you are right.

Blame it on the docility of the citizenry, you are right too.

Things are getting worse instead of better. The national outlook continues to be frightening to peace-loving citizens and men of goodwill. The reasons are not so far-fetched:

The problems are just too many…

For instance, It is sad to say that my beloved nation ranks high on the poverty index. In fact, some audacious reports claim Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world.

What a shame for a country so richly endowed with both human and natural resources – far more than you can find in many parts of the world put together – to continue to wallow in squalour!

As I alluded to earlier, the problems in Nigeria are too many. The country is in deep trouble and so are the people.

We are all suffering on many fronts…

Talk of infant mortality, we rank high.

Corruption in government, we are also guilty.

A few years back, according to a media report, a sitting British prime minister referred to Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” country.

Many Nigerians kicked against that uncharitable appellation, but we know who we are.

It doesn’t mean we are not known for any good things. But this post is not for me to write about the good things in the country but to bring to light another ill that is seriously plaguing us.


I mean, kidnapping for ransom – huge ransoms for that matter.

In addition to corruption, high infant mortality, terrorism, and kidnapping for ransom is one of the many other bad things happening presently in the country.

People now travel on the road in fear. The situation is that bad.

Kidnapping for ransom in Nigeria

bandits mask - kidnapping stories
Photo from Pixels

Kidnapping is described as “the action of abducting someone and holding them captive.”

And when a ransom is demanded before the captive is released, then we have a bigger monster to grapple with.

No, kidnapping for ransom is not a new problem in Nigeria. But it has taken on monstrous dimensions – spreading to all parts of the country and affecting many a large population of people.

Victims of kidnapping for ransom in Nigeria now cut across people from all social, religious, economic, and political backgrounds.

In the past, only expatriate oil workers or their families were kidnapped for ransom payments.

That doesn’t justify the evil act in any way! But the reality of today sees school children and even an average Joe or Jane being kidnapped for ransom. And that’s colossally worrisome.

“Kidnapping epidemic”

A recent report by The Guardian stated that “More than 200 school children remain abducted by armed “bandit” groups in northern Nigeria among more than 1,000 students taken this year as schools in northern Nigeria have become prime targets.”

The paper described what is being experienced in Nigeria as a “kidnapping epidemic,” observing further that, “As the economy has suffered, and poorly funded local security forces proved incapable to respond, kidnap-for-ransom attacks have become a lucrative crime. The freedom with which kidnap gangs have been able to operate has caused widespread despair in Nigeria…”

It is worth repeating that “kidnap-for-ransom attacks have become a lucrative crime.”

Unfortunately, what we see as a crime, the perpetrators see as a business. I know this because I had a first-hand experience of this kind of criminality.

Yes, yours sincerely recently fell victim to kidnapping for ransom while on a road trip with my family from Lagos (South West) to Agbor (Midwest) Nigeria.

This is my story…

My personal story of being kidnapped for ransom

Yes, I was kidnapped from my car on the road and held hostage in a forest along Benin-Agbor express road for four consecutive days. And I wasn’t released until a huge amount of ransom was paid on my head.

My friends and family and anyone else who cared about my life were forced to contribute to the ransom money, an equivalent of eight years’ salaries of a federal minimum wage earner in Nigeria.

Grateful for life even though kidnapped in mourning mood

Being kidnapped for ransom was a sad trajectory in the story of my life, but I’m grateful to be alive to tell the story.

Whether I like it or not, I’ve become part of the kidnapping statistics in Nigeria. I never imagined it, but it happened and I cannot deny that it did.

Before the ugly incident happened, the closest I had come to being kidnapped and held for ransom was in movies I had watched, in the news reports I read, or in feeds on social media (pun intended). None of these experiences come close to being a real victim of the dastardly act.

Yes, I was a victim of Kidnapping – one too many. 

Worse of it all, my family and I were in a mourning mood over the loss of the breadwinner of my father’s house when the incident occurred.

Imagine losing the father figure in the family. That was the situation we found ourselves in.

My kidnapping story is a long one, still, it has to be told. And that’s what I am doing here.

A little more background

My eldest brother suddenly died in August 2021. We found it had to believe.

We cried. We grieved. We sobered and we cried again.

Life must go on for the living but the dead has to be buried too. We had fixed the burial ceremony to take place on 23 September 2021, in our quiet hometown in Delta State.

Meanwhile, the Christian service of songs had taken place on 18 September 2021 at his residence in Lagos and with the internment scheduled to take place on 23 September at our village.

All was set for the ceremony to bid our family hero the final goodbye. So naturally – for the entire family and friends alike – all roads led to Delta State for the occasion.

Mine started on Monday 20 September 2021, in the company of my wife and our 11-month-old baby. I was behind the wheel in the family car, expecting to reach our destination in five or six hours.

The journey progressed well, without hiccups until the unfortunate incident that prompted this post.

It was a Monday.  The road was free of the typical traffic bottlenecks at the Lagos end of the Lagos-Ibadan highway. So in no time, we had progressed to the Ore-Benin expressway.

kidnapping stories along Lagos- Benin expressway, benin-agbor bypass
Photo credit: Author, Victorscorner

I suggested to my wife that we should park and eat lunch at Ore, just as many travellers on that route would do. But we later changed our minds and agreed that we should rather reserve our appetite for the akpu and egusi soup delicacy that was already waiting for us at our destination.

And for sustenance for the rest of the journey, we bought bole (roasted plantain) and groundnuts with bananas on the fly.

At Benin, we made a stopover at the University of Benin to pick up a nephew of mine and his sister. He joined me in the front passenger seat while my niece joined my wife and our baby in the back seat.

We negotiated our way out of the usual Benin City traffic gridlock and made course to use the Benin bye-pass road leading to Agbor on the Benin-Asaba stretch of the road.

With five of us now in the car, the conversation became more lively. And the fresh bananas we bought were still available for them to devour.

“How was school?” I asked.

“Fine, thank you, sir,” the undergraduate relations chorused.

“Have you been to the village before?” I asked the younger one.

“Yes, that was many years ago when Grandma died.”

“Oh, I remember … Then you were a small girl”, I said to my niece. “Now you are a full undergraduate. You are doing well. Please keep it up.”

The conversations continued along that line in a cheerful manner. You know, my wife and I tried to keep their spirit high. Come to think of it, it was their dad who died and we were going to the village to bury him.

Military checkpoints

We encountered several military and police checkpoints in the course of the journey. The last one I saw before we were attacked was after Ahor village. (I remember seeing a road sign with the inscription of the name of the village).

The checkpoint was manned by just two stern-looking officers. (In hindsight, I am now wondering why there were only two officers there as all other checkpoints we passed in the course of the journey had more than two military personnel manning them).

The one closer to my end of the road was clutching his gun as if he was ready to shoot at any time. He flagged me down and asked,

“Where are you coming from and to where…?”

I felt like I saw a slight grin on his face. So I replied politely, “From Lagos to Uniben and then to Agbor.”

He waved us on and looked away. I thanked him and zoomed off on the road ahead.

What happened next was totally unexpected. We were entering kidnappers’ trap without knowing.

Being kidnapped for ransom

Photo from Pixels

Less than five minutes after we passed through that police checkpoint, I sped past a big truck on the road with just a car racing ahead of me, descending towards the place where the road passed through a valley.

It was there all hell was let loose on us. A loud sound pierced through the serene atmosphere of the road we were plying on, jolting us up in our seats.

At first, I thought it was a tyre explosion and I began slowing down. But in a matter of seconds, it became clear that the sound we heard was a gunshot, as multiple other shots immediately followed that one.

In a bid to escape to safety, the driver of the car ahead of me engaged the reverse gear and sped backwards towards my car. I tried to manoeuvre my car away from his but it was too late.

The rear end of his car crashed into the front end of mine. So we were both stuck and could not move the cars any further.

The shots were being fired from ahead of us, beside us along the road, and from behind. We were caught in the middle of gun fires that could pass for a scene from a Hollywood action thriller.

At that point, some Ak-47-wielding young men fully covered up from head to toe emerged from the side bushes and forced us out of the car. Only their eyeballs were visible from the bandits’ masks they wore.

“We are kidnappers,” they announced forcefully, in pidgin English, “Oya, come out, come down, enter the bush; we go collect ransom for your heads. Make you cooperate with us or we go shoot you dead.”

Before I knew it, I was standing outside the car. And I saw my wife laying flat on the road, clutching our baby to her chest. My other relations were also forced out of the car…

When they dragged me out of the car, my shoes were not on my feet. So standing barefooted on the highway, I pleaded, “Please let me wear my shoes…”

“Forget your shoes,” hollered one of the gunmen at me. “Take only your phone.”

I searched frantically for my phone until I laid my hands on it in a matter of split seconds, throwing my hands up in the air as they commanded.

I observed by their appearance and the language being spoken amongst themselves that the gunmen were Fulanis. So I whispered to my wife, who was now on her feet, “Could you speak Hausa to these people?”

I thought that would help. But I wasn’t sure my wife even heard me because I couldn’t speak loud enough.

They ordered all the occupants of my car into the bush. At that point, I began to pray under my breath, “Father, give me my life and the lives of my family…”

From behind us, I could hear my little baby cry frantically. The sporadic gunshots must have seriously disturbed her.

While we were being marched into the forest against our will, I overheard a conversation between two of the gunmen.

“This baby will disturb us. Let’s leave this woman and her baby.”

My wife and our baby were thus left on the expressway while my nephew, my niece, and I were taken hostage and led deeper into the forest.*

* Continue reading: Kidnapped for ransom – a personal experience – part 2

60 thoughts on “Kidnapped For Ransom: A Personal Experience

  1. Precious Agada 11 October 2021 / 7:17 AM

    This is so heartbreaking💔. A country where crime now now passes as new normal. Thank God you for seeing you through all the travails. Glory to God alone!

    • Victorscorner 12 October 2021 / 5:48 AM

      Thank you Precious for your thoughtful comment. The experience was tough but I thank God for seeing me through.

  2. francisashis 11 October 2021 / 9:10 AM

    Very sad indeed,life is really very difficult in such situation.I shall pray for you and thank the Lord that you have been released.Take care.🙏

    • Victorscorner 12 October 2021 / 5:49 AM

      Yes Francis, it was a difficult situation I found myself. But God saw me through. Thank you for your prayers.

      • francisashis 12 October 2021 / 7:10 AM

        Yes,in every difficult situation we find God’s caring hands and that’s the blessings we always need as his loving children.My pleasure.Take care.🙏😊🌹

        • Victorscorner 12 October 2021 / 6:10 PM

          You are so right Francis. God promised to be with us always. Thanks for your encouraging words.

  3. Bruce Cooper 11 October 2021 / 11:32 AM

    Thank you for sharing this Victor. I look forward to the next post. Blessings.

    • Victorscorner 12 October 2021 / 5:51 AM

      Thanks Bruce for reading and commenting. Surely, there will be other posts from this experience. Blessings to you too.

  4. McApple 11 October 2021 / 2:35 PM

    Hmmm. So sorry for what you and your family went through, Victor. Nobody deserves that. It’s very sad what our world has turned into.

  5. Joshua 12 October 2021 / 6:47 AM

    I thank the Lord God for your deliverance.
    May He continue to preserve us all especially at this trying times.

    It’s well…

  6. Adebisi Adetunji M. 12 October 2021 / 2:25 PM

    So horrible! Thank God you are alive to tell the story. May God deliver our country from this mayhem!

    • Victorscorner 12 October 2021 / 6:11 PM

      Amen. Adebisi. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. Timothty Friday Nkeonyeasua 14 October 2021 / 12:10 AM

    Hmmmm. It’s unfortunate we the common are serving punishment for the failure’s of our leaders. My brother, despite the trauma you passed through and hard-earned money lost, I thank God you are alive today to tell the story. To God be the glory.

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:30 PM

      You are right Timothy. That I’m alive to tell the story is the greatest testimony. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  8. Godfrey Ogbumah 14 October 2021 / 2:48 AM

    Lost for words . Thank God for his mercies over you and yours …

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:31 PM

      Yes, Godfrey. Glory be to almighty God for his mercies.

  9. Olukemi Oluwatoyin 14 October 2021 / 7:19 AM

    It is better read than experienced!
    I am so shocked but greatful to God he kept u and your family.
    We just lost bro Vincent and to think this could happen to you too is so scary
    Only him deserve the praise!

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:32 PM

      Yes indeed, only God be praised for what He did. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  10. James Otokwala 14 October 2021 / 8:01 AM

    May God’s name be praised. Thank God for your deliverance and the opportunity to tell the story

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:33 PM

      Thanks James. I’m grateful to be alive to tell the story.

  11. Morrison 14 October 2021 / 8:22 AM

    I just try to imagine the incident and what happen on that day. i had similar experience September last year between Zaria and Jaji in kaduna state, it was like war film being acted live.
    Thank God for the gift of life. Am really happy for you sir. more grace

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:42 PM

      Wow, I’m glad you are alive to tell the story too. May God continue to deliver us.

  12. Olanipekun'Niyi 14 October 2021 / 9:04 AM

    To God be the glory at least, you’re alive to narate your ordeals. We also thank God who, answered our prayers on your behalf, when the request for prayers got to us. It has formed part of your life’ experiences. Congrats !

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:41 PM

      Thank you sir. I’m so grate for your prayers and other forms of support. Yes indeed, I will never forget the Kidnapping experience.

  13. Mr B 14 October 2021 / 11:02 AM

    Thank God you are alive to tell the story, some people were not so lucky.
    It is very unfortunate that there is a limit to wish we can express our concern on a public forum without being regarded as enemy of state.
    Anyway, it is well with all of us.

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:39 PM

      You are right Mr. B, we thank God for his mercies and for life.

  14. Monday 14 October 2021 / 12:27 PM

    This is so scary. I thank God that you are alive testifying. Thank you Jesus.

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 3:38 PM

      Thank you Lord. Happy to be alive and testifying.

  15. Abidemi 14 October 2021 / 1:59 PM

    All thanks to God for life

  16. Anuoluwapo Olagoke 14 October 2021 / 3:56 PM

    Thank God for your life Victor. Indeed you’re a Victor. Glory to God in the highest.

  17. Seraphine 14 October 2021 / 5:19 PM

    You were actually kidnapped ? It must have been a harrowing experience ? Thank God for His mercy ! Ah! God is truly faithful, my brother !

    • Victorscorner 14 October 2021 / 5:45 PM

      Yes I was kidnapped and it wasn’t for a tea party. I agree, God is faithful. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  18. Bube 14 October 2021 / 6:13 PM

    My goodness. I saw a post u made on Facebook on this a few weeks ago and I assumed it was a family member of yours that was kidnapped. Didnt know it was u. Thank God for preserving your life

  19. Femi 14 October 2021 / 7:38 PM

    Thank God for your life bro. I can’t even express my feelings as I’m reading through your experience. Glory to God for keeping you and your family safe to tell the story. It’s well with Nigeria

      • clement owoyemi 15 October 2021 / 12:07 PM

        My brother this is the Lord’s doing o. In fact as I was reading through your story I became speechless but later I was inspired by the spirit of God to thank Him on behalf of you and your family for being alive to tell this story. It’s my prayer that such experience will never come your way again in Jesus name.
        May God help us in Nigeria.

        • Victorscorner 15 October 2021 / 4:17 PM

          Amen my brother. It is the Lord’s doing that we are alive to tell the story. Just continue to thank God for what He has done for us. Remain blessed.

  20. DASYLVA O.A 16 October 2021 / 8:59 AM

    Thank God for life brother. God will continue to be with you and your family in all ramifications. For the shame YOU SHALL HAVE DOUBLE of your lost.

    • Victorscorner 16 October 2021 / 4:49 PM

      Amen. Thank you so much for your prayers. Remain blessed.

  21. Uchenna 17 October 2021 / 7:50 PM

    Victor nwannem, may God be praised in your life and that of your family

  22. Mercy Eleazar 21 October 2021 / 11:43 PM

    Kidnapped for ransom…this indeed is worrisome. But in all, thank God for you being alive to tell the story.

    • Victorscorner 23 October 2021 / 6:19 AM

      Your are right Mercy. It’s worrisome but God gave me victory. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  23. Ejakpovi Isaac 30 October 2021 / 12:55 PM

    Glory be to God for Hos security over you and your family.We prayed for you when we got the news and I thank God you are alive today to share the testimony of God’s faithfulness

    • Victorscorner 30 October 2021 / 1:50 PM

      Thank you so much Isaac. Indeed God answered your prayers that’s why I’m alive to tell the story. Remain blessed.

  24. Kayode Oluwaojebi 1 November 2021 / 4:24 PM

    We thank God for his mercies on your life and that of your family. The Nigerian govt has failed us indeed!

    • Victorscorner 1 November 2021 / 5:35 PM

      Yes, we thank God for all His mercies. Your comment is appreciated.

  25. musingsalonglifesjourney 1 November 2021 / 6:24 PM

    What a blessing to be connected with you my dear brother. Thanks for the account that makes things personal. I believe this is the darkness before the dawn and the gospel and God’s glory will be shining. The enemy only thinks they win. Shalom to you and your family, friends and loved ones.

    • Victorscorner 1 November 2021 / 7:34 PM

      Thanks so much for the warm feedback. It’s such an honour to have you say those beautiful words. It shows you have a beautiful soul.

      I agree with you, a new dawn is coming, that will be a blessing to us and bring glory to God. Remain blessed.

  26. 1reward 3 January 2022 / 9:47 PM

    Just seeing your story…and praying for you and your family. God will strengthen you and help you.

    10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

    Isaiah 41:10

  27. Ayodele Funsho Olubi 9 March 2022 / 8:37 AM

    Well articulated write-up. Amazing!
    This story needs to be published.

    • Victorscorner 9 March 2022 / 3:32 PM

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • victoralert 6 April 2022 / 9:09 PM

      Thanks for the warm feedback. Yes, I’m thinking along that line too.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.