Former Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Dr Peter Jasper Akinola relived yesterday his abduction and rescue, saying “it was like a drama”.
He said while his ordeal lasted, he was in fear, imagining how he could die in the hands of his abductors.
He was at the Saviour’s Anglican Church, Abeokuta.
Ministers of God and members of the church, who converged for the Christmas service, were grateful to God for the safe return of Rev. Akinola.
The retired Primate and former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) said Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikemefuna Okoye and Secretary to State Government(SSG) Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, led the rescue operation, adding that his abductors were demanding “dollars” from him.
His words: “I want to thank all of you for your outpouring of love and prayers. What happened yesterday was what I used to think is drama thing that we used to see on the television, until much more later that I realised it was real.
“I left the house about 11am to go to our site where we are building structure to train young people in Nigeria that are unemployed. The irony of it is that as I was coming out of the place where I had gone to give food to our workers for Christmas.
“As I was stepping out, these two young men came out of their car from nowhere. They asked me to open the door and were knocking the glass with their guns. I instructed my driver, Jonah, to open the door for them. They sand-witched us at the back of the car and they drove off.
“They told us to put our head down and that they will blow off our head if we look up. They drove for about an hour, where we don’t know, until we discover that we are in the midst of a thick forest. Then I requested to talk and informed them that there was no enough fuel in the car.
“They queried us for not having enough fuel in the car and my driver responded that we just returned from a journey. In the bush there, I was surprised at how they were able to locate a filling station, bought N3,000 fuel and continued with the journey that was about three(3pm) in the afternoon.
“They started asking questiond about dollars, which I said there was none. I told them I was a village pastor that has just retired and that the car was given to me by the church, they asked about the security of the car and I told them there was none. They searched for it for almost two hours but couldn’t find anything.
“I was just praying that God of mercy should come to our rescue. I was just remembering how God saved some believers in the bible and I concluded that if I must die, how can it be in the hands of these people? Unknown to us, the news had started circulating around and people started praying.
“Meanwhile, they had taken everything from us; they have taken my shirt, my shoe. I was left with my singlet and trouser, but my driver was not so lucky; his cloth, trouser and shoe were taken; he was left with boxer.
“They said I should walk on. When we moved about 100 meters from the car, I was asked to take the left while my driver was asked to take the right inside the bush, I was hearing how they were threatening my driver.
“After a while, we started hearing gun shot. Apparently, the police were around. Later, we learnt that the Governor himself with the Commissioner of Police, the Secretary to the State Government led the rescue team. When we couldn’t hear any gunshot, I trekked back to the footpath, shouting for my driver.
“Not quite long I saw a vehicle coming. They approached me. I raised up my hands and told them it was my car they took and that I’m looking for my driver. They said they were police and they said I should come into the car.
“The leader of the police team, the state anti-robbery squad; they called him TJ, was a wonderful man. For the first time in my life I doffed my hat for the police for their performance.
“This same man, a Muslim, approached me and said they had heard about what I was doing, that I should not stop. He said God had preserved my life for this purpose. He charged me to do more, right from Imasayi to Ayetoro and right to Randa.
“It was just beyond my imagination that I come back in peace but was worried about my driver whom I later found out was at the hospital.”
Thursday, December 26, 2013
In his own words: ++Akinola recounts ordeal in gunmen's hands
Reported in Nigeria's Osun Defeder via The Nation: