Kidnappings seem to have spread to Abuja in the past month after several people were reportedly abducted in different parts of the city.
The most recent was on Kwame Nkrumah Crescent outside Blinkers Plaza in Asokoro on September 14, where Aisha Umar Ado, a 24-year-old daughter of a former governorship aspirant in Adamawa State, Umar Ardo, was kidnapped at about 7:45 pm.
The manager of a supermarket in the plaza, Emmanuel Ameji, narrated how his attention was called to the kidnapping of a customer. He said Ardo came into the premises with a driver who waited for her while she shopped, but when she returned a second time the driver parked outside the premises. That was when they learned that she was kidnapped.
It was reported that the gunmen who drove away in an ash-coloured Toyota Camry car initially parked close to the plaza and whisked her at gunpoint to an unknown destination. She was however released after a ransom of $15,000 was paid in bitcoins (cryptocurrency).
Another victim who preferred to remain anonymous narrated his ordeal in the hands of kidnappers within the capital’s city centre on September 7.
“I was driving back to my residence when I ran into a group of torch-lights around 12am. I had earlier gone home but had to step out. It was very dark and bushy on the path to my home. I tried to reverse and make a getaway, but unfortunately, the car fell into a ditch and got stuck. They were four and came over and grabbed me from the car. Then we began a journey into the bush that took six hours,” he said.
He added that he was taken to a mountain far away from town, and that was where he stayed for three days. His kidnappers were between the ages of 19 and 30 and spoke Fulani and Hausa.
“I was treated well on the mountain, they brought rice, beans and the like, although I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t tied and their faces were not covered but I wasn’t allowed to look at them. I was free throughout my captivity. We chatted and they asked questions about issues like amnesty, what I do and so on. They even allowed me to perform my ‘salat’ (prayer). They were with me throughout the three days.
"It was from there that they communicated with my relative who brought the ransom. I didn’t initiate any conversation with them, I only answered their questions and they commended my composure. I was calm and careful. Whenever it rained, we would be under it, although there was one time when they brought a plastic for us to cover ourselves,” he said.
He was held with a woman who was released on the same day.
Grumbles on the system
He revealed that the kidnappers ranted about the injustice in the Nigerian system, the lack of jobs, embezzlement by government officials and so on, while people suffer.
“She wasn’t molested to the best of my knowledge, even their commander was particular about that and said that wasn’t their priority,” he said.
He said after his relative paid N3m bargained from the initial demand of N100m, he was released.
“It was on the other side of where we came through, and I just found myself on the expressway. It was when the car started moving that I noticed I was on Airport Road. They gave me N1,000 for transport,” he said.
“I really think it’s the bandits from states like Zamfara who are coming to Abuja because they believe it is the hot spot. The kidnappers were uneducated, although very organized as they were very careful not to call their names. They spoke fully in Fulani and I don’t speak Fulani, so I couldn’t get a hint of who they were,” he added.
After he was set free on September 10, he said the police came to take his statement on September 11.
“I also got my car that was in the station back,” he said.
Parents of two children who were alleged to be kidnapped also declined to speak to our reporter when we approached them at their home at Wuse 2 to tell us what their children went through. All efforts to get them to talk failed as the father rightly declined to speak saying he doesn’t want to speak saying anyone who doesn’t believe the story shouldn’t pray to find themselves in that situation. The Islamiya, our reporter noted, was about two streets away from the house, even though a mallam at the Islamiya said the alleged kidnap didn’t happen at the Islamiya.
Taken in Gwarinpa
When Helen Ikechukwu (not real name) decided to take a cab from Galadima in Gwarinpa to Dutse Alhaji in preparation for a skills acquisition programme the next day, she had no idea what was to befall her.
“I never knew someone was inside. I just turned to drop my bag and one of them hit me hard on my face. I wanted to scream but they asked me not to talk and collected my bag. They then started beating me and held me till the next day,” she said.
Helen explained that the two young men, between the ages of 30 and 35, didn’t have masks but she was ordered not to look at them and was beaten until she disclosed her ATM pin.
“That was when they pushed me out of the car after taking my bag. I was stranded because they took all I had. They withdrew all the money I had in my account, over N200,000. There was the physical cash I had in my bag and the wristwatch I bought from Ghana, which cost about N200,000.”
She could not recall where the kidnappers left her. A priest helped get her to a hospital, after which she went to the police station in Galadima and gave a report. “Till date, they have not got back to me on any arrest or finding from their investigation,” she said.
The FCT police commissioner, Bala Ciroma, told Daily Trust Saturday that all the black spots within the city metropolis have been marked and police personnel has been deployed with patrol vehicles. He, however, said the command had only been able to get only two kidnap cases within the city, which included a Baze University lecturer and Aisha Ardo, whom he said was rescued by the police due to intelligence information.
“Investigations are still ongoing which I cannot reveal now because it will jeopardize the entire investigation,” Ciroma said. “What we have been doing is to intensify vehicular patrols, raids, stop and search operations within the metro.
“We require a lot of information to succeed and that is why we reached out to various stakeholders across the territory. The information we are getting from the public are really yielding good results.”
According to Ciroma, the command has been able to arrest some of the suspected kidnappers as a result of the synergy between the police and other security agencies within the capital city. FCT comparatively safe – Minister The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello had, after a security meeting with heads of the police, military and para-military formations in the FCT, as well as area council chairmen and religious leaders, said in comparison to several cities around the world, the FCT remained quite safe. Culled from Daily Trust.