The abduction story of The Sun Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Steven Nwosu’s wife, Toyin, rolled into a happy ending yesterday when the kidnappers who took her away on Monday dropped her off in Festac area of Lagos.
A close family source told Daily Sun that “she was dropped off at 2:30 am, the same hour she was abducted from her home at Okota suburb. The mother of four was whisked away in a speed boat through the Amuwo Odofin canal. Her kidnappers yesterday dropped her off at a spot near Zenith Bank branch close to Festac Link Bridge before speeding off in their speed boat.
The source further stated that the kidnappers told Mrs. Nwosu that it was people in her neigbourhood that gave them information about her.
“They told her that they were given information that she had always been good to people in the area, providing them with transformer and free water.”
Speaking on how his wife was released, Mr. Nwosu said that he was called to drive to the location without informing anybody. “I did as I was told and low and behold, my wife was waiting stranded in the dead of the night.”
When asked if he paid the N100 million ransom his wife’s abductors demanded, he queried: “Do I look like someone who has N100 million lying anywhere? All I know and would like to tell you is that she was picked from this house and dropped off at the spot where I picked her. Every other thing that happened in between, I don’t know.”
Daily Sun gathered that Mrs. Nwosu was not physically injured but had a clot of blood in her left eye. She said that happened when a stick almost pierced her eye while her abductors were attempting to take her through a thick bush. The area she was taken she said she never knew. However, she admitted that her abductors treated her nicely.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nwosu cannot stop thanking God, security operatives, the Chairman of Sun Publishing Company Ltd, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, friends and associates and Nigerian people for their prayers and the specific roles they played and their encouragement which ensured his wife’s return.
Confirming the release of Mrs. Nwosu, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, at a press briefing yesterday in his office, Ikeja said: “I am happy to announce to you that The Sun Newspaper’s DMD, Steve Nwosu’s wife, Toyin, who was abducted by armed robbers has been reunited with her family. She was release at about 2.20am yesterday. I was there personally with my senior police officers.
“She has debriefed us and from what she said, we want to assure Nigerians that the police will deploy all necessary tools to get the abductors arrested.
“Anyone that is involved must be arrested. We will not relent until we get the hoodlums arrested. They must face the law.
“I want to equally advise members of the public that in the face of such unfortunate incident, it is in their best interest to cooperate with the police. Mr. Nwosu must be commended because he gave the police all the necessary information needed.
“With all the information gathered, we are going to pick all the people involved,” he assured.
Toyin, Daily Sun learnt, was freed unharmed. She was, however, said to have gone for medical checks. Her abductors were said to have treated her kindly.
Although her husband, Steve, bore stress of days of sleeplessness and anxiety, he said he was happy that his wife was lucky to have been freed unhurt. He lamented the fate of about three other victims kidnapped in the area who were yet to return till date.
At the moment, news of Toyin’s release has turned the Nwosus’ home to a Mecca of some sort. Well-wishers and colleagues, including the former Managing Director of The Sun Publishing Ltd, Mr. Mike Awoyinfa and Vanguard Newspaper Editor, Mideno Bayagbon, among other people have been trooping to the areas to rejoice with the family. Before Mr. Awonyinfa left the home of the couple, he prayed that Toyin’s experience should mark the end of attacks on the Nwosus.
Similarly, the Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Solomon Adeola expressed joy and relief with the Nwosu family following the release of his kidnapped wife. Reacting to the news of her release, the Senator thanked God that she came out of the traumatic experience alive as the regrettable incidence came after a robbery at her home, adding that her abduction must be a devastating and excruciating experience for a family that had just been subjected to a violent robbery.
The Senator called on the security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities of securing lives and property as certain reports indicated that the abduction could have been aborted if the Police Force had reacted promptly to emergency calls for assistance after the incidence.
Adeola urged Mr. Nwosu not to allow the ugly incident to dampen his patriotism for Nigeria as reflected in his weekly column and other endeavours, adding that his prayer was for Nigeria to develop to a higher level in order to prevent or minimise such societal malaise as armed robbery and kidnapping.
Also, the Acting Director General of Nigerian Maritime Adminsitration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Haruna Jauro expressed delight at the release of the celebrated columnist’s wife.
Jauro, who led a delegation of the Agency to The Sun coprporate headquarters on a courtesy visit expressed gratitude to God for ensuring Mrs. Nwosu’s safe return. ‘
“We are happy about her release and rejoice with The Sun family and the entire families of Mr. and Mrs. Nwosu.
On the other hand, the President of Ago Plaza Two stakeholders forum, Okota, Lagos, the umbrella association of all the estates along Ago Palace Way, Prince Nixon Okwara, accused the Police of neglecting the distress calls made by the residents of the area for adequate protection, especially those living along the canal which had been the main entrance and exit for robbers who terrorised residents of the area.
Speaking on the abduction wife, he lamented that for a long time, armed robbery attacks in the area had become a recurring decimal, adding that they had always appealed to the Police to come to their aid but got no response.
He recalled that on May 13, 2015, the community wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police to intimate him of a robbery incident in the area during which the hoodlums escaped through the canal that separated Ago Palace Way from Festac Town. He said that the office of the Commissioner of Police acknowledged the letter on May 18, 2015, but nothing was done to that effect. Both documents were made available to Daily Sun.
Prince Okwara said that they even invited a television station to do a comprehensive report on the atrocities of armed robbers in the area as well as their escape route through the canal usually with speedboats.
According to him, the report was aired but nothing concrete was done to stop the spate of robberies in the area.
He said in order to make matters worse, the nearest police station to them had no functional vehicle and as such, if they were called in the middle of the night to come to their aid, there was no way they would be of help to the residents.
He added that even if the Police station had functional vehicles, there was no access road for them to easily drive in as the existing one was no longer motorable.
According to him, “these unfortunate situations have left us at the mercy of the robbers who come at will to terrorise the residents and go unmolested.
“What this means is that over 500,000 residents of Ago Palace Way are living without hope of security and this is very dangerous. This has given armed robbers the opportunity to always come to the area to rob without any challenge. In fact, they always have a field day each time they come, hence the recent kidnap of Steve Nwosu’s wife that lasted for hours without any challenge from any quarter. We want to use this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to come to our aid since all our appeals to Lagos State Government have fallen on deaf ears.
“The Area E Police in Festac Town is very far from those living around Amuwo-Odofin and Ago Palace Road, so also is Okota Police Station. This has been made worse by the state of the road in the area. We therefore, appeal for a police post to be located in the area for quick response to emergencies and security breaches,” Okwara pleaded.
It would be recalled that the abductors of Mrs. Nwosu stormed the neighbourhood in a boat through the canal directly facing the community. The street, on which Mr. Nwosu’s house is located is parallel to the long stretch of the Okota canal which separates Festac Town and Amuwo Odofin. It runs through Mile 2 and empties into the Lagos lagoon at Apapa.
The robbers were said to have robbed a building next to Mr. Nwosu’s before scaling the fence of his compound. Having succeeded, the men pulled down the burglary proof on one of the windows and gained entry into the apartment.
When they stormed the living room of the Nwosus, they started screaming “where is the money, where is the money and the jewelry too.” Among three men who invaded the couple’s living room, one was wielding an AK 47 rifle, another, a pistol, while the third held a sledge hammer with which they pulled down the burglar proof. The rest waited outside.
They took Mrs. Nwosu to all the rooms, and began ransacking everywhere. When they could not get anything, they returned to the palour, took a scarf and blindfolded her husband, forced him to lie face down and began stamping on him. They later told him to get up and follow them, but changed their minds afterwards, took him back to the palour and then asked his wife to go and dress up because at that time, she was putting on pyjamas. Then they forced the husband to lie face down again, still blindfolded. They shot at neigbours shouting at them ‘ole, ole’ before escaping. No fewer than seven men carried out the operation which lasted for about 30 minutes. It began with the banging at the window at about 1.50am, Mr. Nwosu said.
Some Nigerians and organisations among them the Managing Director, Sun Publishing Co Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), have decried the action. The abduction of the journalist’s wife happened days after the release of the abducted Vanguard columnist, Donu Kogbara. The Sun