A young Igbo man has narrated his encounter with men dressed as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The man, identified as Ibekwe Livinus Chiemerie, aka Derico, said he had travelled to the South-East recently for business and had stay back due to the insecurity in the region.
He said he had opted to travel back to his house in Lagos on a Sunday due to the less traffic congestion on the road but ran into people who could have terminated his life.
According to Chiemerie, some men in black shirts, black trousers and red berets stormed the town he was driving through, and took him and some other young men hostage.
He said they asked if they were members of IPOB.
But he denied having any affiliation with the group, stating that he had only come to Owerri, Imo State for a business deal.
Despite that, he said he was thrown into one of the Hilux vehicles driven by the men, along with some young men.
He, however, said his promise to the men to give them N1, 000, 000 made them to put him into another vehicle while the rest were driven into the forest to be killed.
The young man said he eventually bought his life with N510, 000 that was in his bank account after which one of the abductors, who is from the South-West, confessed that they were not IPOB members but were sent from Abuja to disguise as IPOB members.
He said the abductors were mainly from the South-West, the North and the South-South.
He said, ”Good evening my brothers.
This is ibekwe Livinus Chiemerie, aka Derico.
”You know after I posted something, I didn’t say another thing since then, I was in shock. These killings happening every day, they happen truly. When they come to an area, they take all the youths there and drive off, you won’t see them again.
”I stay in Lagos but I came for a business in Owerri, Imo state but due to the shooting, I could not return.
“I felt that on Sunday, the road would be free so I came out from the hotel around 6:30 am so I could get home on time.
“When we reached a certain junction called Obinze, I was driving, suddenly, some men jumped out of two Hilux vehicles, wearing black shirts, black trousers and red berets. I just noticed that people started running. I alighted from the car and joined those who were running.
“I entered a compound with some other people but those who were chasing us pursued us into the compound and requested that the owner of the compound should provide us. The man said no one entered there but they insisted.
“They started asking; wey the people who enter this house now, wey them, wey those wey run enter this compound. The owners of the house didn’t want to implicate us. But I saw what was about to happen.
”The old man, who is the owner of the house has lots of sons and all of them were at home at the time. The wife came out and was asking him what the problem was.
”One of those men started attacking one of the sons of the woman. The old man rushed out and was telling them to wait, trying to stop them from hurting the son.
”They faced the old man, started beating him mercilessly. I could see how they were beating the old man and rushed out from inside the house and told them not to beat the old man that I was the one that ran inside the house. They said I wasn’t the only one, that all of us should come out.
”So they started selecting; the men were more. They were now dragging out the sons of the man, but they finally let them go and took all of us that ran inside the house. They took me outside and asked if I was the owner of the car parked outside. I said yes. They asked me why I was running, I said that we saw that they wore black and black and since there had been so many killings in Owerri, when everybody started running, I joined them.
“They asked me where I was going, I told them I just came for a business deal in Imo state, so they took me to the car and checked my car and said I was an ESN member because I was wearing black. I said I was not. They asked me if I was IPOB, I said no.
“I asked them to check the booth of my car, what I had there were rice, garri and oil that I was taking to Lagos. One of them instructed them to carry me. They left my car and carried me into their car, took my keys and my phones. They carried all of us into the Hilux vehicle. As we were going, I looked inside the vehicle, I saw a knife, gun. So I remembered what happened the previous day when they killed some people.
“They dumped me in the Hilux alongside the other people and drove for hours. As they were going, I kept shouting that I was not a member of ESN or IPOB as they thought, and that I was just a visitor.
“Out of fear, I promised to give them N1 million but they didn’t utter any word. At a point, one of them whispered to the driver and the driver slowed down and pulled over. Another man pushed me out and put me in the other Hilux vehicle. It was at that point I saw that another person was driving my car.
”They told me so I no wan die with these people, abi, I dey fear death (You don’t want to die with these people, right? You are afraid of death). I told them my time had not come and that I did not want to die. If na money you go take, make I go where I dey go (If you will collect money, then allow me to go).
“As I entered that other Hilux vehicle and mentioned that I live in Lagos, a Yoruba man amongst them approached me and asked me what I was doing at that spot. I told him I was a footballer and a businessman.
“He also asked if I was married and I told him yes, with five children, and that I was only in Imo State for a project. So the man asked me about the N1 million I mentioned and I told him I only mentioned that amount out of fear. The money in my account was not up to that. He then asked me how much I had and I told him the amount of money I really had.
”I actually allowed the man to see my account balance on my phone because the man was already with my phone. The man checked my phone and saw N510, 000. Then from there, they stopped again and at this point, they were taking us to a thick forest we did not know.
“They stopped again and took me to my car. I sat at the back of my car with another person, while another person was driving. At that moment, I noticed they were looking for a nearby POS stand (place with Point of Sale machine) where they could withdraw the money.
“Immediately they sighted one, they entered there and at that place, a huge amount can be withdrawn. They withdrew N400, 000 once from my account and another N50, 000 then I asked them to leave the remaining one so I can spend that when I get back to Lagos.
“When they heard that, they said if I wanted to die with the others, I should mention such again. I kept mute. After that, they withdrew everything from my account. But by that time, some people in the forest were already calling those men, asking them where they had reached.
”They took me in my car and came out at Okija junction. From there, I told them I know the area and could go from there to Lagos. They told me that they were taking me that far so that others would not collect money from me or so that I would not meet those their people again. The Yoruba man told me that they were sent from Abuja to do this and they were all in IPOB uniforms.
“They said they knew that Sunday would be a free day cause people would be out and that from the following day, the South-East would be hot. They said they would be out and would kill lots of youths. He warned me not to come to the South-East for now.
”They even asked to take me farther so those people would not see me but I refused, I told them I could find my way from there and that those people they were hiding me from might even see me and think I was one of them. So they dropped me off. From there I went straight to Lagos.
“One would know that there was no Igbo man among them, they are from Edo, South-West and the North. None of them understood Igbo. The man told me they sent them from Abuja to appear in IPOB uniform. I am saying this so that people will thank God for what he has done for me.
”That’s why I sent that message so you will help me thank God. I was safe cause I had money. All those other people, I can’t say what will happen to them. But thank God I am safe.”