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Friends Abducted During Birthday Freed After Ransom Payment

The three friends– Veronica Otogo, Bisola Mohammed and Damilola Oribuyaku–abducted around a creamery in Wuse II, Abuja, have been released after their families parted with some money.

Although the exact amount paid in ransom was not disclosed, PUNCH Metro learnt that the kidnappers collected millions of naira from the families.

It was gathered that the three friends, who were seized on Friday, January 27, were dropped off along Kubwa Road.

Our correspondent had reported that Veronica, who marked her 24th birthday on the Friday, and Mohammed had gone to the creamery – Cold Stone – on Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, around 6pm.

They met with their friend, 29-year-old Damilola Oribuyaku, at the place before they were all abducted.

A car owned by 29-year-old Damilola, was reportedly found near the place with a broken windscreen, which gave an impression that the three friends had met and were abducted at the spot.

Mohammed was said to have travelled from Lagos, where she lives, to visit Veronica in Abuja.

A family friend of Oribuyakus, Alhaja Adeola Agoro, had written on her Facebook page that the assailants demanded $300,000 ransom from the family, a claim Damilola’s sister, Jumoke Oribuyaku, debunked.

 She had written, “…The abductors are demanding $300,000. Engr. Oribuyaku is a hard-working man who has built his businesses with clean money. He doesn’t have that kind of money.

“Please, join us in praying for the safety of these young people in the hands of these criminals. May God let us find them alive and in one piece…”

Jumoke, who spoke with PUNCH Metro on the telephone on Tuesday, said the victims called with their phones, which were given to them when they were released, adding that they were found by the roadside on Sunday.

“Damilola is still in a hospital. He was not injured; he is having a checkup. He didn’t offend anybody. They (the kidnappers) were just looking for money,” she added.

Asked the sum collected from the family by the abductors, she said, “I can’t tell you how much they collected. I am not going to say anything about that.”

Veronica’s elder sister, Geraldine Otogo, said the victims were given some money by their captors after releasing them, adding that a Highlander driven by Veronica that day had not been found.

She said, “They were found on Sunday and they are fine. They were dropped off along Kubwa Expressway.

“They kept on asking for money; nobody responded, and they could see there was so much pressure on them. They just released them, gave them money and let them go. For now, nobody has been arrested.”

When requested to speak with the friends, Geraldine said, “I am not with them now; call me in two hours’ time.”

However, subsequent calls to her line indicated that the line was not reachable.

The Police Public Relations Officer for the FCT Command, ASP Anjuguri Menzah, had yet to reply to a text message sent to his phone.

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