Twenty three passengers of the Niger State Transport Authority, Minna, travelling to Katsina State have been kidnapped.
Punch gathered that two of the abducted passengers have been released after their families paid a ransom.
It was reliably gathered that the driver followed a route prohibited by the company.
The passengers who were heading for Katsina on Tuesday evening were ambushed along Jos Road in Plateau state.
One of the freed victims, Emmanuel Ayodele, who was going for an official assignment, said the kidnappers swooped on them after the driver parked the vehicle along the bush area.
He said, “He wanted to buy fuel. We asked him to take us to where there are houses and people but he left us. Few minutes later, we were rounded up and they marched us into a bush path.
“They seized 23 of us and left those whom they felt may not have ransom to pay. They took our phones and asked us to mention those they can contact to save our lives. I gave my wife’s number and that was how they started the negotiations.
“I can’t say how much was paid. Others are still there. I do not know the place because they covered my eyes.”
A devastated family member who said her brother was among those abducted said the victim was going to the Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State to do documentation after securing an appointment.
She lamented, “Since the incident happened, it’s really unfortunate that even the NSTA or the government has not got in touch with us. The kidnappers are demanding N40m but we have been bargaining with them. They said the least they would collect is N30m and we don’t have such amount.”
The state police spokesperson, Wasiu Abiodun, told our correspondent that the incident didn’t happen in Niger.
Abiodun said, “It did not happen within our jurisdiction and we cannot give account of what transpired in another state.’’