Gunmen have abducted 18 traders in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State. The traders were said to have been travelling from Pandogari town to Bassa village for the weekly market.

Eyewitnesses say the traders, mostly women were in an 18-seater bus when they ran into a blockade by the gunmen who shot sporadically. They were forced into a waiting bus and driven into the bush.

It was also gathered that most of the traders had contacted their families, asking them to pay the demanded ransom ranging from N200,000 to N500,000 depending on their personality to secure their release.

When contacted, the police spokesman in the state, Mohammad Abubakar said they had been briefed about the incident but no official report had been made.

In a similar development, and as reported by the Punch, armed bandits on Tuesday evening kidnapped three persons on the Ajebo axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. 

Confirming the abductions, the Chief Medical Director of Lafia Hospital, Apata, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Dr. Oladipupo Sule told The Punch on Wednesday that his son, Kayode and two members of staff of the hospital, namely Opeyemi Abifarin and Dele Adigun were abducted during the ambush. 

Dr. Sule said the hospital’s vehicle, a Toyota Sienna car in which the victims were travelling as of the time of the incident had been recovered by policemen from the Ogunmakin Police Station in Ogun State after it was abandoned by the kidnappers.

Sule told the Punch: “I’m presently in Ogunmakin Police Station as I talk to you. I am distressed and seriously devastated. My son and two others went to Lagos to buy drugs for the hospital and were on the way back from the trip when they were ambushed and kidnapped.

“The driver said one of the kidnappers communicated in English and others were speaking in Hausa or the Fulani language. They have yet to talk to me for us to know what their real identities and intentions (are),” Sule said.