22 February 2017
Barely a day after Epe farmers and community leaders staged a Save Our Soul (SOS) protest to the governor’s office against the continued abduction of their members, kidnappers, wielding sophisticated weapons, yesterday stormed Igbodu area of Epe, Lagos State, with ferocious anger and unleashed terror on the hapless residents.
But unlike previous invasions, the kidnappers met policemen resistance, who were patrolling the area in the mother of all battles. While some residents claimed the kidnappers were reacting to Monday’s protest, others claimed the bandits were fighting over sharing formula.
A resident said: “We heard they argued among themselves over money. The kidnappers withdrew money from an ATM gallery with the card of one of the victims. It was in the process of fighting that one of them was shot and killed. Apparently angry and mourning their slain colleague, five among them stormed Elysian Farm, hoping to abduct another set of victim
“They, however, met policemen and immediately opened fire, riddling the police patrol van with bullets. The policemen scampered in different directions, leaving their vehicles. But the policemen later regrouped, called for reinforcement and returned fire for fire.”
It was gathered that the kidnappers were able to abduct five victims. For reasons yet unknown, the kidnappers left the victims in the custody of two of their colleagues in the bush.
When the victims realized that only two kidnappers were keeping watch on them, they attacked and allegedly killed one of the kidnappers. Those who escaped returned from the bush to narrate their ordeal.
A farm manager claimed the kidnappers were more than 30, who stormed Elysian Farms yesterday. Elysian Farms was the farm where five farm workers and two members of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) were abducted last week. Yesterday’s attack was the third time the abductors will invade Elysian Farms this year.
The farm manager, who refused to disclose his name, said: “We can’t ascertain the number of farm workers abducted for now. We cannot go into the farm presently; those of us, who were around when they came, had to escape. We are going to have a head count later to know the number of workers kidnapped. There were gunshots everywhere. The community is under attack.”
The Baale of the community, Mr. Michael Shodipo, while speaking with The Guardian on the phone, screamed that the community was under intense attack.
“As I speak with you now, there is commotion in the community. Everybody is running for safety. We have tried all possible means to dislodge the kidnappers but our efforts have not yielded any fruitful results,” he said.
The state police boss, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, who confirmed the incident, said no police officer died in the shootout.
“The kidnappers came out but our men were able to repel them,” he said.