Kidnapped ex-DSS Director, Ejiofor, recounts ordeal, says I survived on cashew nuts for four days
Following the spate of kidnapping in the country, the former Director, Department of State Services (DSS), Mr.Mike Ejiofor, who was kidnapped and released recently by Fulani gunmen has called for a re-examination of the country’s security service and a state of emergency in the security sub-sector.
Ejiofor who was recounting his kidnap ordeal on Channels TV said that there should be training on security consciousness on the so-called herdsmen. According to him these people are actually Fulani gunmen and not herdsmen as they have nothing to do with cattle rearing.
“I was returning from my State, Delta State to Abuja, between Okene and Obajana when we heard sporadic shootings. The gunmen soon emerged, four of them and pointed their guns at the four doors of my car, a Prado Jeep. I asked my driver to remain calm. They whisked us into the bush. This happened around 2pm. We ran into the bush, then trekked for one hour in a vast forest and another one hour of trekking in the same forest.
“From what I have seen there is no way police can confront these people because they are armed with highly sophisticated weapons including AK-47 and Pump Action machine guns. They searched my purse, took my laptop bag and checked out vital documents I had on me. They asked me questions and I explained to them who I am, that I am no longer in service.
“They said we and the police are the ones killing Boko Haram members. I argued that it is the other way round, that it is the Boko Harm members who kill police and DSS personnel. I was with them for four days surviving on cashew nuts. There were many cashew trees in that bush.
“By 6pm they brought us under a cashew tree which they told us is our new abode. By 10 pm I was allowed to make contact so I called my immediate younger brother from whom they demanded the sum of N30m. My brother told them we don’t have such money and offered them N1m. That infuriated them and they said my brother should never mention such amount again.
“I feel very glad that I had this experience because I had earlier made a proposal to my State Governor on security matters especially the containment of the Fulani gunmen who are all over Delta State as we speak. The training /lecture wouldn’t have been complete without my experience being that I’m now properly placed to know their operational structure, strategy and aims and objectives”.
“For three days, there was no water, no food. They drink water from a pot, water that percolated from rainfall but I told them I will not drink such water. I was dehydrating and I merely survived on cashew nuts. I told my driver, I pity that man, to drink and not to worry about me.”
Mr Ejiofor however noted that there’s proliferation of arms in the country. “With the kind of arms that these gunmen wield the police will not be able to confront them. These people have been operating in different parts of the country. If you recall, Falaye was kidnapped, the traditional ruler of my twon was killed by these same Fulani gunmen.
“I have come to alert Nigerians that there’s crisis in our hand; things are not working well and we have crisis in the land and it must be addressed. We have a lot of security challenges; we have the issue of Boko Haram which has been technically defeated and they’re still attacking. We have the issue of the avengers. And I must tell you that the greatest security challenge now in the country is the issue of the Fulani Gunmen”.
Ejiofor added that there should also be improvement in the structure of the security service; the operational cells of the government have to be improved. “My own case was peculiar because they looked at me as an enemy and that is why I get worried because the society does not accept the State Security Service or its agencies. They look at them as inefficient. The enemies of the people will not want to accept the security agencies as being agents of government.
“We need to look at the personnel of these gunmen because the marksmanship calls to question the real identity of these people; whether they’re Nigerians alone or people who have been disengaged for their security jobs”.
He however appealed that when one is taken hostage, the individual should not try to escape or they will kill such person. “This is the 3rd time I will be encountering them on this road (Okene) but I have escaped on the other occasions. There’re joint patrols and static checkpoints but these people study the area. If the police should go after such people, they’ll just kill them because they do not account for their arms.”
On the issue of death penalty and the likes for kidnapping, he said, “I think it is only subject to the jurisdiction where the locals are involved in the crime. But with the Fulani gunmen, who have no known base it is difficult to get them. The level of arms and proficiency is something I think should not be discussed on the television; this is a well-structured body”
He warned that for safety and security, if one is a hostage “you just have to negotiate first then when you’re released you can begin investigation”.