From Mathias Oko, Calabar
It was possibly one of the worst moments of his 58 years on earth for Joshua AsuquoA�Olugu, father of six and a native of A�Udung-ukpong, in Okobo Local govt area of Akwa Ibom state as he watched himself helplessly being held hostage by kidnappers sinceA�November 4A�last year.
A�AA� gang of four gunmenA� shocked him and his family when he was A�whisked away A�before the watchful A�eyes of his wife and children A�at no. 20 Spatt Avenue , Ekpo Abasi, Calabar South local government area of Cross River state A�to an unknown destination .
The Oron-born NNPC retiree never in his life dreamt that a day would come when his freedom will be A�so A�invaded and his person A�humiliated . Neither could his family imagine A�that a day will come when their father and bread winner as well as A�defender would be unable to defend himself from external forces. But the invaders stormed A�his abode A�that faithful day and bundled him to an unknown destination .
Since then, uncertainties have beclouded his fate A�as his whereabouts haveA� A�remainedA� A�a mirage. Fear, anguish and apprehension have gripped A� his family members as A�they A�have A�been wondering if their bread winner is A�still alive or dead. Most worrisome is that, his abductors have A�since A�seized communication A�and A�kept them incommunicado even A�about the A�ransom they A�earlier demanded from them without success.
The ordeal of the Asuquos A�started that day when their father A�was returning from A� his routine outing at aboutA�8 .00 pm.A�He got to his residence not knowing what fate awaited him. He least expected A�that A�he was being trailed by the dare- devil kidnappers .
A�Soon after he drove into his premises, the gang accosted him with guns, and suddenly A�occupied the car with him, A�urging him to A�reverse the car A�out of his premises. Sensing theA�unhealthy scenario around him,A�Asuquo had no choice than to oblige. Soon after he drove out of his residence , one of A�his curious daughters,A�sensing A�that their father was in danger A�attempted to raise A�alarm to attract the attention of the neighbourhood, but A�the abductors suddenly pointed gun at her, A�threatening to silence her if she dared made further noise. . In fear of the unknown, she retreated while they sped away with their father to God knows where till today.
According to the daughter, confused as they were, A�they ran aroundA� thinking how to proffer solution to the imminent danger awaiting their father. They headed toA�the police station A�but there was no respite .
A�A day after, the kidnappers got in touch with the family requesting for twenty million ransom as a condition for the release of their bread winner.A� Several pleas by the family A�to the kidnappers A�to accept #400,000 which they planned to raise, fell on deaf ears.
The issue became more confusing to the Asuquos when the hoodlums were calling withA�different phone numbersA�and sending different bankA�account numbers from A�different banks to them A�for the deal, A�thereby making it difficult A�for them to believe the sincerity of the kidnappers.
During A�a telephone conversation betweeen the gang and Asuquo’s family, they promised to park Mr. Asuquo’s Lexus jeep in which he was whisked away at a designated point A�along the highway for recovery, But they did not keep to their promise. The gang was said to have maintained communication for the first two weeks after the incident, but suddenly stopped.