Last week, ViewPointNigeria reported of the kidnap of 5 University of Jos students in their abode around the student hostel, along Bauchi road. These students were subjected to the harshest of ordeals in the hands of their kidnappers, but have since been released and united with their families -albeit, after a very tortuous ordeal.
Below is the exclusive narrative of the gentleman who kindly facilitated their release.
At about 7pm yesterday, Tuesday 24th July 2018, I waited at Old Airport Junction to collect the ransom that the kidnappers had demanded. And as if they were watching my every move, as soon as it was delivered to me, the phone rang, and a voice blared through the earpiece saying “maza maza ka yi tsauri ka je Terminus ka karbi dubu dari daga wurin dayan mutanen, bayan haka, sai ka kira mu a wannan layin”.
As instructed, I dashed to the Terminus area at the speed of light because time was of the essence. I parked the car by the “Total filling Station, opposite first bank, adjacent Sterling bank. As I waited, the people who had been instructed by the kidnappers called to know where I was. We met and after dragging for some time, the old man obliged (giving the money), however, he expressed fears that he didn’t believe the deal will go smoothly.
The phone rang again and this time around the same voice spoke rather harshly with a threatening tone, “ka karbo kudin?” I answered, kwarai na karbo. Then he said “maza ka taho ta Bauchi junction, za ka sami dayan matan kuma zata baka dubu dari takwas sai ka hada da naka. Ama tare da ita zamu gaya maku inda za ku tsame mu. Amma ku sani, a shirye muke, idan kun kira sojoji ko police, za ku gane cewa mu ba yara ba ne” and the phone went off.
At this time I was already getting worried and agitated. I zoomed off again to Bauchi Junction (arrived at 8:16pm). There, I waited for about 20mins, without any trace of the said woman.
The man again called, and said ashe ku munafukai ne haka?, idan baku yi tsauri ba, na rantse maka da Allah za mu kashe su”.
At such a threat, all I could do was plead, ku yi hakuri, ku yi hakuri. Then he said “nawa kudin da ka ke da shi yanzu?” I answered, then he said, “ka hawo Keke ka ce su kawo ka hanyar Sharna farm, kafin gidan main Jagab. In ka isso wurin sai ka kira mu, za mu fadi maka abun yi”.
As you can imagine, it was a bit tough getting keke as it was already 5mins to 9 pm. However, I eventually got there. If you are familiar with that axis, there is an open space to the right immediately after the STF checkpoint, with a tarred road into the field. I called the fellow and told him I was already there. He asked after the woman and I told him I had not seen or heard from her yet, then he hung up.
After about 5mins, the woman called and begged that I give her a little time as she was stranded at Bauchi junction trying to get vehicle to come down. I waited for about 40mins constantly exchanging calls with the man. He angrily asked me to come into the open field and follow a path that leads to a stream, and that I should cross that stream and come up the mountain and that they were watching me every step and any wrong move will cost me dearly. I obliged and solitarily moved as instructed. It was a very lonely environment and there I was praying like never before as I made it to the foot of the mountain.
A flashlight signalled me to come up. At this point, I saw the first of them, with an AK47. He asked asked me to hurry up -I did with all the courage I could muster. As I approached, I saw another with a gun, then another, and another, and others with heavy clubs and machetes. And as I close up to them, I saw another with a gun a little bit further up the mountain.
At this point, they asked me to sit down. As you can imagine, I was quite exhausted from the climb. Then he said to me, “wato matan nan ta nuna mana cewa ita munafuka ce, toh za mu baka naka yaran ama za mu tafi da nata. Mu ba ma su kisa bane, mun fito ne mu sami abinchi sabi da haka, ka da ka ga laifin mu”, bamu kudin”. I hurriedly gave it to him, then he asked me to name my wards. I did and he brought them out, 3 of them without the woman’s daughter, then it was about 10:35pm. Again, my phone rang and it was the woman, I answered and she told me she was already at the foot of the mountain.
They then asked me to leave the girls there and go down to collect what the woman had brought. I was obviously panting as I made my way down the mountain again. It was truly hell, but because we needed the girls alive, it was seamless for me.
About 8 vigilante guys who had noticed my movements came and surrounded me and were asking what I was doing all alone going up and down the mountain. I had to tell them what was going on, but pleaded that they kept it quite for the safety of the girls. They escorted me to where the woman was waiting. I collected her money and with pains in her heart, she started crying. I asked her if she would be able to come with me up the mountain, of course she out rightly refused.
I hurriedly went back up the mountain with the money. They accused me that I connived with woman to waste their time, therefore they do not trust me. I pleaded with them to be merciful. They asked me to sit down again while the count the money. After that, they brought out all the 4 four girls and handed them over to me, but threatened that if anything goes wrong, they are watching and will open fire.
We hurriedly but carefully went down the mountain, it was around 11:17pm. I called my wife and the other parents who were waiting anxiously to come and pick us up by the main road.
This was the first and the most difficult experience of my life, having come this close to a gang of Fulani kidnappers. These bandits abducted my wife’s niece and 3 of her course mates, all 300 level theatre arts students who were innocently reading in their room in preparation for their exams around the students hostel along Bauchi ring road after Oddus.
In closing, the gentleman had this to say, it is a shame that the security of this great nation and state has been compromised. We need to keep praying for more intervention. But we indeed give God the glory for the safe return of all 4 girls and my safety. I salute the courage of the girls, I salute the courage of my wife and her sisters for staying strong and being there all through the whole saga. I salute the courage of all the parents who turned strong for their wards.
We got home after 12midnight.
count | 582