Kidnapped in Kogi, Found in Lagos

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For the family of Mr and Mrs Paul Garuba Atabor, Sunday December 1, 2013 will remain one they will forever cherish. That was the day the family’s abducted son, John Atabor, a 23-year-old, 300 level Civil Engineering student of the Federal Polytechnic, Idah, who was kidnapped on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 and released by his captors on Tuesday, November 26.

Atabor had left his hostel room on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 19, 2013, to go get something from a colleague. But little did he know that danger was lurking in the corner.

As he walked down the tarred road within his campus, an ash-coloured Mercedes car with four hefty male passengers suddenly pulled up beside him and called his attention. Seeing as there were other students nearby, he boldly obliged them. “That was all I could remember,” Atabor recalled. “Even before I got to the campus gate, I was not myself anymore. I began to think that I must have been hypnotised.” Atabor also recalls that despite entering in the vehicle in full glare of other students, he could not call for help and no one raised the alarm. “We drove out of the campus’ gate and that was how my journey to Lagos began.”

John narrates that the four men took him to Lagos, where they locked him up in an unknown building. “I didn’t know where I was and I was not allowed to come out for any reason. One night, one of the abductors came to his cubicle where he was kept and asked him: “if we leave you can you find your way to where you came from?”

“It was then that I realised that I was still alive and in this world, because where I was kept, it was difficult to hear any sound. Where I was kept, I was only given water and bread. Most times, I would be asleep and just wake up to see the food there. I never saw the person who brought the food. That,” he narrated, “still remains a mystery.”

The next morning, the same man returned to him and informed him to prepare, because he would be on his way home, before nightfall. “He gave me the phone and told me to call anyone I wanted to come pick me. The first name that came to mind was my father’s and I called him. He wanted to know where I was and after asking the people around, I informed him that I was in Alaba Suru in Ojo, Lagos State,” Atabor said.

When the elder Atabor learnt that his abducted son was the one on the other line, his joy knew no bounds and, like every other father, his mind got to work. He asked his son where he was. When he got the details, he called his brother, a soldier serving at the Ojo Barracks. “My brother went to Alaba Suru armed and eventually saw John Atabor alive without bruises. I give unequivocal thanks to God for His goodness.

“When I got the news of my son’s ordeal, I tried to think about someone who I must have offended, but I could not remember any. The only alternative I came up with was to give praise to God and engage in prayer sessions for as long as the ordeal lasted.” Atabor narrated that all his relations and well-wishers went into prayer for the safety and release of his son.

The elder Atabor recalled that he made several phone calls to relations and friends within and outside Kogi State, letting them know what had happened to his son.

The thanks-giving service organised in honour of the returned Atabor was well attended. Joyous worshippers thronged to the church, where they piled into the pew of the Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Cathedral Lokoja, Kogi State and joined the Atabors in thanking God.

The father revealed that he could not estimate how much was spent, but remained ever grateful to God for his mercies.

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