By Dayo Johnson
LIKE the biblical Daniel who was delivered from the jaws of the lions right inside their den, a history student of the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Oluwaseun Mary Olaniyan, has experienced the same divine escape after 11 days in the kidnappers den. Divine because it was when her captors were quarrelling over the price to sell the body part of another “inmate” who had been slaughtered that she summoned courage and fled by running blindly into the bush.
Some female students of the same institution were kidnapped and slaughtered by three ritualists who have been arrested and paraded in Akure, the state capital by the state police command. Three breasts and hands according to the ritualists were sold for N15million. The college is gradually becoming a market for ritualists to catch prey going by the number of students that have been declared missing in the last few months.
The story of their kidnap is similar, their abductors pose as either Okada riders or taxi drivers ready to convey the students after lectures to their different homes. Findings showed that majority of the students live off campus and the number of those who troop out on a daily basis after school hours makes it easy for people with criminal intentions to get away with it. The murdered three girls rode on Okada and a few minutes after leaving the vicinity of the college, they were hypnotised and taken to the thick forest where they were killed and dismembered.
Their left breasts and hands were chopped off and transported to the merchant who resides in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State. Luck ran out on them as one of the ritualists was involved in an armed robbery incident and was caught after which he confessed and led police detectives to where the girls, decomposing bodies were recovered.
The decomposing corpse of two of the three students, Oladepo Blessing and Oluwasemilore Mary, were recovered by the detectives inside the thick forest. However, because of divine intervention, sister Mary as she is fondly called by her mates in school, saw an opportunity to escape and took it though it was a dangerous adventure that if apprehended by the fierce looking kidnappers would have ended her life.
Narrating her ordeal and how she eventually escaped from the kidnappers den at a thanksgiving service in her parents church- the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Ogunsulire Street in Ondo, Mary said she was kidnapped by men in a vehicle painted in the state taxi colour at about 6.30pm outside the main gate of the institution. She said, “I boarded a taxi cab alongside a lady at the same location in Ondo town.
“Two of them were going to Yaba in Ondo city. As soon as I boarded the vehicle, I became unconscious. I later found myself in a building located inside a thick forest. We were six in their hideout and we were fed only with water. We saw strange men coming in a Sports Utility Vehicle to collect something I suspected to be human parts which was concealed in a cellophane bag.
“My escape from the hands of the kidnappers was divine. It was while they were quarrelling that I took the opportunity to escape into the bush. I trekked inside the forest until I got to the Ile-Oluji/Ipetu Ijesa road where I met a lady and asked for directions to Ondo town. The lady told me I was very close to Ile-Oluji. When I got to Igbo Oja I made efforts to reach my mother on her phone. I contacted my mother. My father immediately called me and I informed him that I had reached Itanla junction along Ondo/Akure highway.”
During the church service her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Akintan Olaniyan were full of praises to the Almighty God for the divine escape of their daughter. Their pastors and church members jumped for joy, singing and praising God on behalf of the Olaniyan family. Vanguard also learned that the same scenario played itself out at college as students and workers were seen expressing joy of Sister Mary’s safe return.
Parents of sister Mary thanked authorities of the college, the Police, other security agencies for their efforts to secure the release of their daughter from the “ lions den.” The news of the escape of the student spread across the town and members of the public trooped to the church to have a glimpse of the lucky girl. Vanguard gathered that the arrival of the missing girl elicited excitement and joy across the town.
Provost of the College, Dr. Olukoya Ogen, Vanguard was informed, has equally thanked God for seeing sister Mary through the lions’ den. Dr. Ogen commended security operatives for all their efforts in securing the release of their student. The provost thanked the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo and other management staffs and staffs of the College who assisted with prayers for the safe return of the student.
Meanwhile, worried by the security challenges in the state in the last few months, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has summoned and met with security chiefs, traditional rulers, council chairmen and other stakeholders on how to end the challenges. Cases of kidnapping of traditional rulers and innocent persons, cult war, armed robberies, killings by fulani herdsmen, arson amongst other crimes have increased anxiety across the state.
Akeredolu during the meeting expressed concern over the security challenges since he assumed office. He said, “There have been some security challenges in the State since we came on board. There had been cases of kidnapping, murder and arson in some of our communities. The menace of the Hausa-Fulani herdsmen in the communities increases by the day. In sum, the lives and properties of our dear people have been at great risk.”
The governor said that the meeting with the stakeholders was “to deliberate on this ugly development with a view to taking drastic measures to end the security challenges. My administration has already taken some proactive measures to ensure the security of the good people of Ondo State by the deployment of more detachment of security personnel to the State. This is to ensure the security of lives and property of the good people of Ondo State.
By the grace of God, never again will Ondo State witness the kidnap of any of our traditional rulers. I wish to appeal to our traditional rulers to continue to cooperate and collaborate with this Administration in the maintenance of peace in their respective domains.”