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Kidnapped while pregnant: Enugu woman’s ordeal ends with birth and rescue

Monday, April 22, 2024 will for a long time to come remain etched in the minds of Mr. Ekene Igwe and his wife Lovina Chinwendu of Awkunanaw, Enugu State.

To the Igwes, the fateful day broke without any sign of a foreboding danger. Little did they know that heavily pregnant Lovina, who was hale and hearty in the morning when her husband, Ekene, left for his commercial transport job, would be kidnappeds.

The kidnap survivor, while narrating her ordeal in the hands of her abductors, said she had been going about her business that day until about 3.30 pm when she lapsed into labour.

As her husband was not around, she got prepared to go to her hometown, Egede in Udi local government area of the state to give birth to her baby. She prepared her other two children ages five and two around 4 pm and they set out for the journey.

They first picked a vehicle at Garriki Park, Enugu, from which they disembarked at 9th Mile Corner, Ngwo. And from 9th Mile, they boarded a motorcycle popularly known as Okada to take the three of them to Egede. It was on the way to Egede after they had passed Eke town that kidnappers emerged from the bush and attacked them; and thus began her ordeal.

Lovina, who is full of thanks to God that she is alive to tell her story, expressed gratitude to the Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, and the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, CP Anayo Uzuegbu, for deploying officers who came to their rescue. She was exceptionally grateful to God. Mbah paid their hospital bill when she was discharged from the hospital where she and her newborn were taken to on May 2, 2024.

She said she never knew that the kidnappers who only spoke the Fulani language and a smattering pidgin English would spare her life, even after collecting ransom.

They took only the two of us and abandoned my two children on their own

She narrates:

“On Monday, April 22, 2024, at about 3.30 pm or thereabout, my husband had left for his transport business when my pregnancy began to show me signs that I was about to deliver my baby. I then decided to go home to my place at Egede to deliver my baby there.

“I collected my two children and we went to Garriki Park and boarded a vehicle that took us to 9th Mile, Ngwo in the Udi local government area of Enugu State same as Egede my parents’ house.

“Because of the hold-ups and the changing from one vehicle to another, we arrived at 9th Mile around 6 pm.

“From 9th Mile, we could not get a motor to Egede, so we hired Okada, a commercial motorcycle, to take us to Egede. Then dusk was coming gradually. As soon as we passed the boundary between Eke and Egede, we passed a man who flashed his torch at us. We were wondering why he flashed his torch when all of a sudden, three other boys jumped out from the bush and attacked our bike. We all fell. They pounced on the Okada man and started beating him mercilessly.

demanded a ransom of N10 million or they would kill me

“After beating him for some time, they took me and the Okada man a little bit far from the place they attacked us. They took only the two of us and abandoned my two children on their own. They later tied the man’s hand but afterward decided to leave him and asked him to take my children away.

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“When the Okada man had gone with my children, they took me further into the bush. My husband started calling my phone but they would not pick it up. Shortly after, my birth pains began again. This time more serious. I told them to let me go and cried profusely but they threatened to kill me if I did not keep quiet. Afterward, the baby came. I begged them to use their knife to cut the umbilical cord which they obliged.

“Later when my husband called again, they picked up the call and demanded a ransom of N10 million or they would kill me. My husband begged them that he did not have that kind of money and pleaded with them to collect N200,000 but they turned it then. He even promised to increase to N500,000 but they would not listen.

“We continued like that throughout the night. The following day, Tuesday my husband called and they reduced the ransom to N3 million. Meanwhile, all this while I did not eat anything and my baby. It was later two of them left and came back with bread and pure water which they asked me to eat but I declined. They said if I refused to eat, I would die. There was nothing I could do and I accepted the bread and pure water. From the pure water, I gave a drink to my baby who I wrapped with a wrapper given to me by one of the kidnappers. I had to put the water in the sun to get warmth before I gave it to my baby to drink since my breast had not started flowing.

I put pure water in the sun to become warm before I gave it to my baby to drink since my breast had not started flowing

“This was how we started the whole day on Tuesday. Sometimes two of them will go out and the other two will be guiding us until they returned. All the while, they ate nothing but bread and pure water.

“On Wednesday, the day I was rescued, I began to cry and beg them to accept the N1.5 million my husband was able to raise. I told them that my husband did not have that much money. It was then they said they would call their oga. When they called their oga, he told them to accept the ransom but they warned that Police should not be involved. They told my husband that if he involved the police, they would kill my baby before my face and cut him to pieces like a slice of bush meat before they kill me too. They said that my husband should cooperate with them.

“Later on that day, that is on Wednesday, two of them left and eventually returned with my husband and the ransom. When they collected the money, they went further into the bush and Police came out and asked us the direction they were taking and when we showed them the way they were going, they pursued them and we left for my place where I and my baby took our bath for the first time in three days,” she narrated.

They told my husband that if he involved the police, they would kill my baby and cut him to pieces like bush meat before they kill me 

She continued that the commissioner of police drove to their place and took them to the Parklane Hospital, Enugu. The commissioner, according to her, said that Governor Mbah was aware of the incident and ordered that they be taken to the hospital for proper medical care.

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She said that the commissioner of police gave her husband some money before they left for the hospital.

Mrs. Igwe said that after the kidnappers had released the Okada man and ordered him to take the other two children to his house, the Okada man took them to a security post at Eke, from where her people and her husband collected them.

Touched by the governor’s magnanimity for taking them to the hospital and offsetting the bill, she said she would remain eternally grateful to the governor and the commissioner of police.

She named her son, Akachukwu – the hand of God.

“I am grateful for Gov. Mbah who took us to the hospital and paid the hospital bill. I also remain grateful the Commissioner of Police for his intervention in coming to our rescue. I heard that the police arrested two of the kidnappers. May God bless them and my husband, Ekene who had to sell some of his property to save me from the kidnappers. I thank friends and well-wishers that have been coming to see us in the hospital and at home since we returned,” she said.

Asked if she suspected the Okada man to be an accomplice, she said she didn’t think so because if he was one, they would not have beaten him the way they did.

Their landlord, Chief Emma Ugwu, also expressed gratitude to God that God spared them what would have been a sordid experience if the kidnappers had killed the woman and her newborn baby.

Ede Nwa Ede
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