How My Kidnappers Collected N8.5m And Abducted My Nephew That Brought The Ransom...Victim

Malam Abba (not real name) is a civil servant who was kidnapped on November 21 along Kaduna-Abuja highway and only got his freedom in the first week of February after spending 78 days in captivity. His case became more complex when his nephew who was sent to deliver the ransom was also abducted alongside the driver conveying him. Daily Trust Saturday had a chat with the recently released abductors

How we were kidnapped

Malam Abba, who spoke with Daily Trust from his hospital bed, said they were abducted at about 3pm on November 21, 2021 at Rijana, a town along Kaduna-Abuja Highway.

He works in Abuja but came to Kano to spend the weekend and was on his way back to Abuja when he was abducted alongside four other fellow travellers by gunmen who blocked the road, forced their vehicle to park and whisked them away.

“We were driving towards Rijana when we saw other vehicles stopped and later, we heard gunshots. They continued shooting sporadically in the air which made every vehicle to park. We quickly got out of our vehicles and ran into the forest for safety. But we didn’t know that others were inside the forest and before we knew it, we were in their hands. From there, they made us trek barefooted for several kilometres deep inside the forest,” he said.

He said as they were trekking, they crossed about five different rivers.

“When we crossed the last river, which was the deepest one, some of us nearly drowned. We finally got to a point where we spent the night. It was at that point the bandits collected our phones and started making calls to our family members.”

He stated that when they contacted their family to make ransom demands they threatened to kill them if the ransom was not paid on time.

“The bandits threatened us and our families that they were moving to another place where there will be no mobile phone services due to the blockade of telecommunication services by Kaduna State government, so the ransom has to be paid on time. We were all scared.”

The man said they spent five days trekking in the forest before they got to their captors’ enclave.

“Two days later, we were moved to a farther enclave where we saw about 50 motorcycles which they used to convey us to another place where we crossed another river using boats. Afterwards, they took us on their motorcycles and continued with the journey where we climbed a dangerous hill with the motorcycles.

“It took us the whole day to get to the bandits’ enclave where we stayed for the remaining two months. It was there that we experienced our worst treatment, including beatings by the bandits,” he recalled.

He stated that when they finally reached the enclave, the bandits celebrated their success for kidnapping more than 50 victims at a time. 

Life in captivity

Malam Abba said they were held in a small hut. And they were denied everything, including five daily prayers.

“We were afraid to ask them about prayer. So, we just pray like that without even performing ablution or facing the right direction (qibla). It was when the in-charge of the enclave started coming for inspection that he asked his boys to allow us pray.

“Whenever the in-charge of our enclave came to us he saw our disturbing conditions and asked us to pray so that Allah could ease our hardship. And he made sure we were fed three times a day and goes to the length of asking us whether we were okay or not. If we are not okay with the food, he would ask them to cook another meal for us.  But if he was not around, we were fed only twice.”

The man said their captors fed them with rice and beans, and they drank stream water throughout their stay.

He added that while they were there, they brought in more captives into their enclave, adding that whenever the bandits sight a military fighter jet, they hide all their guns, preparing to rush to another safe place.

“They used to tell us that they were ready to flee and leave us there where the military could easily target and bomb us as we could not even move because of the chains we were tied with,” he said.

How ransom was paid

The civil servant said a N8.5 million ransom was paid to the bandits to secure his release on February 4th, 2022.

“Our captors demanded for the sum of N50m, but we managed to raise N8.5m and after collecting the money, they still kept us in captivity for several days. They abducted my nephew when he came to deliver the money, demanding that the said N50m must to be paid.” 

Malam Abba, who is now on admission at a hospital in Kano, said they were finally led somewhere in Kaduna by the bandits and released.

Nephew also abducted

Malam Abba’s nephew, a prospective student of Kano State University of Science and Technical Wudil also shared his experience with Daily Trust Saturday.

“When I took the money, my uncle in Kaduna hired a vehicle for me. So, the bandits, via phone calls, ordered that the money be taken to Rigachikun. They later changed the delivery location to Sabon Birni, and to several other locations, possibly to beat arrest.

He explained further: “My ordeal started when I finally went to deliver the ransom to the bandits. When we got to the place, they collected the money and shepherded us into the forest. In the beginning, they deceived us that they were taking us to spend just a day there so that in the morning we could be allowed to go with my uncle.”

He said they spent four days before they knew they were also victims.

“In the morning, we were told that we should wait for Modibbo to come, and he did not come throughout the day. So, we spent four days waiting for Modibbo to come and release us. On the fourth day when he came, he called our family and told them that they’ve abducted us and we wouldn’t be released until the remaining N41.5m is paid. It was at this moment we knew our fate.”

He stated that even the driver that conveyed him was also asked to pay N2m ransom.

They were beaten up and made to go through inhumane treatment during his days in captivity, he added.

The young boy said that it was after they spent 64 days that the bandits finally asked their family to bring two motorcycles for the two of them and N1m for the driver after realizing the initial demand could not be met.

“So, my family agreed and sent two other guys to deliver the motorcycles. This time around, they released the five of us without any problem. We were brought closer to where we parked our car.”

He added that it took them several hours before they got to Rigachikun junction where a member of their family was waiting for them.

He said they noticed as they were coming out of the forest that the vehicle of the driver that conveyed him had been burnt.

“When we got to the place where we parked our car, we saw the car burnt. We think the car was burnt by their rivals as they have different camps in the forest and they usually attack one another.”  

According to him, their captor’s den may not be far from the Nigeria Defence Academy as they could hear the activities of soldiers from there.

“We always hear gunshots possibly from the NDA because the place we were kept is not far from the military zone. We saw their jets moving around the area,” he added.

The victims warned that banditry and kidnap for ransom will persist unless concerted efforts are made to end it.

“These people are well organized beyond our thinking and they own very sophisticated weapons. They always brag that they are ready to face the military as they are very sure they would overpower them,” the young student added.

Source : Daily Trust


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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