An Ikeja High Court has heard how four armed men kidnapped a 60-year-engineer, Jaime Garcia Lacar, from Philippine, who works in Lagos and held him hostage for a week after collected a N4 million ransom from his company.
Lacar, a mechanical engineer and manager at Mateod Industries West Africa, told the court that he has lived in Nigeria for 10 years and was kidnapped on his way home from work at Odongunyan, Ikorodu in Lagos state.
The Filipino, while pointing at the three men docked before the court, identified his abductors as: Adebayo Yinka aka Osho, Ogunsumbo Seun aka Apa and Awokoya Ishau.
While being led in evidence by the State Prosecutor, Monisola Osibogun, the Engineer said that the three men abducted him and one his colleague, Mario, and took them to an undisclosed apartment where they were tortured for one week.
However, the three defendants are standing trial on a five count charge bordering on conspiracy, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms.
Lacar said that the incident, which forced his colleague to tender his resignation, traumatized him and his family to the point that he also wanted to resign from the company.
Narrating to the court, the witness said, “I am a mechanical Engineer working with Mateod Industries West Africa. On July 5, 2017, I was driving home from work around past 8pm with a colleague named Mario when we were stopped by four young men, armed with locally made pistols, just before the roundabout at Odongunyan.
“We were asked to park the car. They forcefully pulled us out of the car and dragged us to the back seat. Afterwards two of them sat in the front seat and while the remaining two squeezed us at the backseat.
“They drove us for a long time before we we finally stopped at a house where we were dragged out and locked in a room.
“They collected our phones, and my wallet after which they tied our hands and legs and used whips to flog us.
“The tied our hands to the window and made us sit on a wooden chair while the beat our backs with sharp whips everyday.
“The kidnappers then asked me to call my boss. They used my phone to call my boss and my boss’ wife talked to them on the phone pleading with them to release us.
“They told us that they were negotiating for our ransom and won’t release us without any pay. After some days, they told me that my company had paid the ransom but they could not release us as they wanted to wait for nightfall before they would release us.
“They drove us to a deserted junction, dropped us there and fled into the bushes. They left us in the car, including my small Nokia phone, and I immediately drove the car till I got to a nearby filling station. The attendant told me that we are in Ogun State. We reported the matter at a police station.
“After the incident, Mario resigned from the company and left Nigeria. I wanted to resign too but my boss and the General manager pleaded with me to stay in Nigeria promising that such an incident would never repeat itself again,” he said.
When Larca was asked what he wanted the court to do for him, he said: “I want justice. I pray that foreigners like me would feel safe in Nigeria,” he said
However, the counsel for the 2nd defendant, Omotubora Abayomi, asked Larca if he had met the 2nd defendant, Seun prior to the incident and he replied no.
He said, “I’ve not met him before throughout my 10years of stay in Nigeria But I recognize him very well. All of them did not cover their faces. The second defendant consistently came to the room, where we were tied up, with a cutlass, to threaten us,” he said.
The Defense counsel asked Larca if pinpointing the 2nd defendant was just a case of mistaken identity.
Larca said: “No! this is not a case of mistaken identity. I have worked in West Africa and East Africa. I have seen different faces of black people and no two are alike. I am positive. I know the faces of my kidnappers, ” he said.
The Judge, Adenike Coker thereafter adjourned the matter till 13th of May for continuation of trial and ordered that the defendants be further remanded at Ikoyi Prisons.