Years back, everyone can boast of traveling in and out of Ondo state without any iota of fear as properties and lives were protected by security agencies.
Recently, things have gone worst as people of the state can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed over the fear of who is next to be kidnapped.
However, it is untrue that, the kidnappers seem to be operating freely and at will, whenever they desire to strike without any fear of being apprehended by the security agencies, including Amotekun.
In the last few weeks, the total number of people that have been kidnapped cannot be ascertained as cases continued to increase almost on daily basis.
There has been some who have regained freedom after paying huge ransom and those who are still in the captives in bushes across the state.
Weeks back, a clergyman coming into the state from the neighboring Ekiti State, was kidnapped and ransom was paid.
It was in the news that a family consisting of father, mother and children were traveling in their car were stopped.
Eventually, the parents were kidnapped and the children were left to their fates along Uso – Owo high way.
The kidnappers later released the parents after collecting millions from the family.
So many people have been killed in the process and countless have also been thrown into unimaginable trauma that they would not forget in hurry for the rest of their lives.
Surprisingly, the different caliber of people has been kidnapped including Monarchs, Chiefs, Lecturers and staff of the state-owned University, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba.
On 5th of January, 2021, a couple with their children were stopped and kidnapped at the same Uso – Owo road on their way from the east to Akure, the Ondo State Capital where the husband and his wife, Mr and Mrs Gbenga Ibikunle, were beaten at spot that is known to be police checkpoint.
Mr Ibikunle narrated his ordeal after paying a huge ransom worth millions of naira with others that were held captives by the gunmen in their dens.
A similar experience was witnessed by the information officer of the state-owned University, AAUA, Mr Victor Akinpelumi, along the same route where all valuables in his car were taken away from him though, the gunmen valued all taken from him and let him go.
Also, the wife of the Ondo state chief of staff to the Governor, Mrs Ale was also kidnapped and held captives for sometime before she could be released.
Initially, people believed that, hoodlums only target those riding on exotic cars but these days, they kidnapped every visible human being capable of fetching them their desired bill called ransom.
It is believed that, they kidnap anybody at any point in time in respect of whom he or she is.
Moreso, they have this kind of mindset that, everybody has a ransomed, no matter how small, hoping that such victim’s family would pay after several negotiations.
The hoodlums seem to have routes and dens across the state. It is also believed that they know all angles around the state.
Before the close of 2020, a report has it that no fewer than 10 personalities were kidnapped, as some died in the process.
The annoying part is that, they are so comfortable to operate even in the broad daylight anywhere in the state. Their operations have no specific base ranging from the border’s towns to the city centers.
These and many more have been the experience of the people in the state who are always at the mercy of the gunmen along our major highways and at the city centers.
The state government, however, must strengthen security agencies, especially the Amotekun operation, and collaborate with Fulani herdsmen to leaders to fish out bad eggs among them.