NYSC, Winners Chapel Contacted By Boko Haram Over Ransom For Kidnapped Corper And Church Members
Tobi Aworinde and Kayode Idowu
There are indications that the Boko Haram insurgents have demanded ransom before releasing members of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) they kidnapped two weeks ago.
Gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram had kidnapped a member of the National Youth Service Corps, Ibrahim Amuta and three other members of the church on their way to Chibok to distribute relief items to internally displaced persons and evangelise.
Amuta’s housemate, Success Ezeanya, whose tweet about the abduction went viral on Saturday, told The PUNCH on Monday that he was told by a member of the church that the insurgents had demanded N200m before they could release those they kidnapped.
Although a source in Maiduguri said Boko Haram demanded N100m ransom, Ezeanya said that the family of the abducted corps member was communicating with the church
Ezeanya stated, “I haven’t heard anything from AB’s family members. I think they are communicating directly with the church, so I have not heard anything directly from them. I know he is the only son; I don’t know if he is the only child. According to one of the church members, Boko Haram asked for a ransom of N200m.”
The PUNCH learnt that Amuta served as a vigilante. Amuta’s colleague, Ezeanya told The PUNCH that the abducted NYSC member had gained experience combating crime as a member of a vigilante group in Jos, Plateau State.
He had tweeted, “Abraham Amuta is a corps member serving in Maiduguri. He was abducted by Boko Haram two weeks ago. He went for evangelism with a pastor from his church – Living Faith. He is an only son. Let’s not forget him in our prayers.
“He is a Batch B, stream 1 corps member serving in Maiduguri, Borno State. It’s been over two weeks now since he went missing in Maiduguri. Some people claiming to be Boko Haram have called and claimed to have abducted him. Please retweet until the Federal Government sees this.”
Speaking with one of our correspondents on Monday, Ezeanya described the abducted NYSC member as audacious.
He said, “We were just lodge-mates. I think he is 27 or 28 years old. He has a barber’s in the lodge where we go to cut our hair. I was in Batch A but I’ve passed out, although I’m still in Borno still searching for a job as a Mass Communication graduate.
“AB, however, is in Batch B. I would always interact with him whenever I would go to cut my hair at his place. AB is a very strong guy; the guy has guts. The kind of things he says, he’s a different kind of person.
“He would always talk about his experience as a security agent in Jos (Plateau State) and how he is ready to go to Sambisa Forest whenever the opportunity comes because he has got security experience. He said during the crises in Jos, a vigilante group was set up there and he was part of the group. He is a tough guy.”
Ezeanya stated that he had known Amuta since August 2018, adding that other housemates shared his sentiment about the abducted corps member’s courage.
He condemned the comments on social media ridiculing Amuta for his decision to evangelise and distribute materials in Chibok.
“That shouldn’t be the discussion now. The most important thing is how to have him released, not how he went there. When he comes back, we can begin to query him, saying, ‘Why did you go there?’ But the most important thing we should concern ourselves with now is getting him out.
“Nigerians always find a way of expressing themselves to the fullest, no matter the circumstance. Sometimes, you have to use diplomacy to address things like that. I am surprised that up till now, I have not heard any statement from the Nigeria Police, the Army or the Federal Government.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Pastor of Living Faith Ministries in Borno State, Victor Samaila, declined to speak on the incident.