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TNG Exclusive: ABU Alumni rescues classmate from kidnappers den, sends reunion funds as ransom

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…. Kaduna govt now battling with bandits after solving sectarian crisis

…. 2 schools in session invaded, staff and Students abducted

By Emmanuel Bagudu

After adopting effective measures that brought to an end the hostilities of intermittent sectarian and ethnic violence, authorities in Kaduna State are still up for yet another great security task. Kidnapping and banditry. “…human life has been reduced to nothing in Nigeria….” Reverend Joseph Hayap Kaduna State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chairman stated while reacting to the killing of Esther Katung, a Pastor’s Wife in Kaduna who was murdered despite payment of N250, 000 ransom.

Kidnappers and bandits are now on the prowl in Kaduna and its neighboring communities. For the past Seven months victims ad infinitum narrate separate experiences in the hands of kidnappers and security operatives kept reeling out promises of ending the menace. All these have diminished rather than eliminated the city’s virtues with the latest lamentations coming from the Alumni of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Department (withheld). While planning to organize a re-union to celebrate 10 years since graduation, the news of the abduction of their classmate Kelvin Abbah (not real name) broke. Abbah was kidnapped at his residence in Kaduna early hours on 22nd September at about 3 a.m

and was taken to an unknown destination where he was tortured alongside other hostages. “…it’s an experience I don’t wish for my worst enemy,” Abbah said. A few days later the kidnappers called relatives to ask for an N20million Naira ransom with a deadline of less than 48 hours. This prompted friends and relatives of Abbah to sought for the next available help to raise the ransom of course after negotiating for an abatement. The relatives and some good friends in a traumatic and desperate move managed to raise a fraction of the negotiated ransom but the kidnappers won’t accept the amount raised although they spoke to them softly according to one of the victim’s friends Sheriff. “All we needed to do was to add something to what was gathered, the bandits were ready to release our man if we put more effort,” Sheriff told TNG. He said they continued the search for more money and ended up meeting the victim’s former Classmates who are already planning for a reunion and coincidentally he (Sheriff) happens to be part of the reunion plan and they all agreed to divert the contributed funds alongside more contributions from other friends to add up to secure the release of Abbah. “We have to do this for our classmate….No reunion is better than reuniting with our classmate currently a hostage in a thick forest”. Alex one of the victim’s classmate organising the reunion told TNG. Another classmate of the victim a female who pleaded anonymity told TNG that God wanted to rescue Abbah that was why he gave the inspiration for the reunion in the first place. “Its a great reunion having our classmate back from captivity”, she said. She thanked his relatives and classmates for the proactive steps they took in securing his release.
This is just one experience among many. Hundreds of kidnap victims are currently languishing in the forest according to reports. Some are said to be missing and yet to be found. “All we need is prayers, no one is safe even if you decide to lock up yourself in your house, only God can save you since these bandits actually visit people’s home to abduct them” Hosea a vigilante member in Chikun local government area of the state told TNG.
It could be recalled earlier this month that bandits storm 2 boarding schools in Kaduna state; Engravers College kukum daji in Chikun LGA where they abducted 6 female students and 2 teachers and also Goverment Technical secondary school Maraban Kajuru in Kajuru Local Goverment where they abducted the School’s principal.
CLERGY MEN NOT EXEMPTED
The bandits did not consider the sanctity of religious authorities in their operations. While killing and kidnapping residents of the states including foreigners who came for tourism, bandits have so far seen to have unleashed their reign of terror on Some religious authorities.
On March 25th this year, a Catholic priest Rev. Fr. John Bako Shekwolo was abducted at his residence in Ankwa Kachia LGA of the state. While in August 14 Pastor Jeremiah Omolewa of the living faith church Ungwan Rimi was reportedly killed by his abductors. Pastor Elisha Numan in charge of Nagarta Baptist Church was also said to have been abducted, while Pastor Ishaku Katung of ECWA church Birnin Gwari who escaped from the bandits lost his wife even after paying the sum of N250,000 ransom to the bandits.
Government’s Proactive Measures Visible
All hopes are not gone as the state government is seen daily mapping out different strategy to end banditry in the state.
With an area of up to 46,053Km, and a now 6,006,562 population (3rd in Nigeria) one will understand the complexities of governance in the state. “the media has a role to play in the fight against insecurity in the state, we will not sleep until we nip this menace in the bud”. Kaduna state commission of internal affairs Samuel Aruwan said while interacting with Journalists. Other stakeholders in the state pledge their support to the government in the fight against banditry. “You will recall that a sitting lawmaker in this state was also kidnapped on August 30, this shows to you that no one is safe and that means we have no choice other than help the Government in fighting this menace” Ahmed Mohammed a lecturer in one of the state’s higher institutions told TNG.
So far the Nigerian Police have sensitised citizens all over the country on ways to protect themselves from the bandits. In a graphic illustration, the Police said that citizens must avoid flamboyant lifestyle to avoid attracting criminal-minded persons towards them.
This and more warnings coupled with the cooperation of relevant stakeholders may hopefully bring to an end the year-long banditry experience.
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