Okeke Nkemjika, a palm plantation worker, is grateful to God that he is alive to narrate his ordeal in the hands of suspected Fulani herdsmen numbering about eight.
"When the herdsmen invaded the plantation farm where I work, they demanded that I pay them N30 million, else they would kill me. "
Nkemjika, who spoke to SaharaReporters on a hospital bed, at Jideofor Hospital, Awgu, Enugu State, said that he survived the onslaught by a miracle, adding that the same gang was responsible for the gruesome murder of a native four days before his attack.
Narrating his harrowing experience Nkemjika, who was still reeling in pain, said, "On that very day, Sunday, May 22, 2022, I went to the palm plantation with a commercial vehicle to carry palm fruits. It wasn't put in one location, so after we loaded the ones put at the warehouse, I moved to carry the ones put at the residence.
"Suddenly, while I was carrying the palm fruits to the vehicle, I saw two Fulani herdsmen with guns. One was with AK-47 and another with a pump-action rifle. They were standing at a mango tree chewing mango fruits they had plucked there. When I turned back, I saw other ones; they were six in number. Three of them were carrying machetes, while the other three were carrying sticks.
"When I looked at where the vehicle was parked, I discovered that the driver had gone. They said I should kneel down and I knelt. The one carrying the AK-47 said I should bring N30 million or they would take me hostage and I told them I didn't have N30 million. I didn't have money. They said I should follow them to where they were keeping their hostages and I refused.
"This incident happened between 9:30 am and 10 am," he explained, adding that he had to tell them that this would be their last reign of terror in the area.
"The two carrying guns were threatening to shoot me. I was so resolute that I had to tell them that their guns could not shoot me. In their efforts to take me hostage, they now macheted me.
"After inflicting deep cuts on my left hand and at the back, I slumped. At that point, I was bleeding and when they couldn't take me hostage because they couldn't drag me as I was bleeding, they left.
"Shortly, after operatives of Ebube-Agu security team and a team of policemen stormed the farm and rescued me. I learnt they were contacted by the driver who saw them earlier and escaped. So, they brought me to this hospital (Jideofor) here in Awgu where I am being treated," he narrated.
He, however, told SaharaReporters that he went to the farm on Sunday because of the Monday's sit-at-home that has been compelling residents of South-East states to stay indoors.
He appealed to the governments of Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu states to team up to flush out criminals in their domains.
He added that the gang operates from Garrik Cattle market in Abia and alleged that they were responsible for all the abductions in Uturu and the killing of Abia State University students.