Pastor Lawrence Ohimare, the group pastor of Christ Embassy Church, Brass branch, Bayelsa State, abducted on Monday, has been freed.
Ohimare and 11 other persons were let off the kidnappers’ den at midnight same day after spending 15 hours with their abductors.
Gunmen had abducted the pastor and 11 other passengers aboard a commercial speedboat heading for Yenagoa, through the Nembe waterways.
The pastor, who spoke on the telephone on Tuesday, recounted his ordeal in the hands of his abductors, saying the 15-hour encounter with the gunmen was “not a pleasant experience”.
He said their boat was hijacked around 8am on the waterways and taken to their camp blindfolded, where they were robbed of their possessions including their mobile phones and money.
Pastor Ehimare said his abductors initially thought the passengers, including himself, were important persons, whom they could hold and demand ransom.
He, however, said their saving grace was that the passengers they abducted with him were all civil servants.
Ohimare said, “Initially, they thought we were important persons they would hold down and demand ransom. So, what they did was to look into our faces and ask, ‘Honourable, who are you, are you not an honourable?
“And when they got to me, I told them I am a Pastor. When they discovered that most of the passengers were normal civil servants and a Pastor, we were released and dumped near a fishing point about 11pm.
“It was from there that one of us, who still had a phone, was able to get network on his mobile phone to make calls to some people. The boat driver, who was still with us, made some calls and we were eventually rescued through a fishing canoe to Okoroma town, where we slept until Tuesday morning.
“My brother, it was not a pleasant experience, but I thank God for his divine mercies and for rescuing all of us alive. It was horrifying but I want to give God all the glory.”
The gunmen had Monday hijacked a speedboat on its way to Yenagoa, abducting 12 passengers on board including Ohimare.
The commercial speedboat, which took off from Twon-Brass, en-route Nembe waterways to Yenagoa, around 7 o’clock on Monday morning, was waylaid by the sea pirates immediately after the Obama Rice Farm in Nembe and diverted to the Okoroma creek.