Routine beatings. Exposure to the elements. Starvation. Un-hygienic food, and water. Illness.
These were some of the torments the six kidnapped students of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, suffered during their 65 days in captivity, according to two of them yesterday.
They were released on Friday through the combined efforts of the security agencies and Governors Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
“We were blindfolded, kept under the bridge with our legs tied. They fed us eba and crayfish soup,” one of the students (name withheld).
And they were given ‘reddish water’ to slay their thirst, he said.
Yusuf Farouk, Isiaka Ramon, Pelumi Philips, Peter Jonas, Adebanjo George and Judah Agbaosi were abducted from their hostels- Yellow and Green houses- on May 25 by gunmen clad in police uniform.
The maltreatment soon took a toll on them with two falling ill: they bled from the mouth.
The victim said their abductors routinely beat them and left them in the open, day and night.
Their only shelter was a bridge.
But then they had no blankets or additional dresses to shield them from the elements.
He said: “They were beating us. They fed us with eba and crayfish soup. They mixed the crayfish with pepper and water and then gave us to eat with eba.
“They were giving us red water to drink. The water had a bad taste but no odour. It was polluted. They kept us under a bridge. They gave us no bed sheets or blankets.”
Their only wears all through were the dresses they had on when they were abducted and the replica jerseys provided by the kidnappers.
That was what they wore into freedom on Friday.
“They were the ones who gave us the replica jerseys,” he said.
The student is now “fine and happy” to be back home with his family after all the trauma.
“I have done my medical check up. I am fine and happy to be home with my family,” he said and paused, his mood changing immediately.
That ended the conversation at the discretion of his interviewer.
A second victim (name also withheld for security reasons) said they changed camps thrice during their captivity, enduring starvation at some point.
One of the camps was made of cut trees and the kidnappers had to erect a tent to shield them from rain.
As time went by the kidnappers allowed the boys to prepare their food, and move around, he said.
His mother commended Lagos Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni and the Commander, Rapid Response Squad (RRS) for standing by them throughout their ordeal.
“Honestly, I do not want to expose my son to any danger. It is true he fell sick in the camp because we were told then,” she said.
“He was kidnapped while he was recuperating from an illness and so, I think the environment they were kept and the trauma made him sick again. He was examined on Friday night and the doctors asked that we return to the hospital. But he is okay now.