Abdulkadir Abdullahi, a retired school principal in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has regained his freedom from kidnappers, after two weeks in captivity.
Narrating his ordeal to Daily Trust! the retired principal said he received harsh treatment from teenage abductors who denied him praying his Salat throughout his captivity.
He said, “Well, I can’t recall the exact date, but it was on Friday, I think and I spent about two weeks or more in captivity. The abduction occurred in January 2024.
”I was approached by a friend whose relation, a nursing mother, was abducted along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari highway while heading to her village.
”She had newly converted to Islam and was abducted on her way from Kaduna to Birnin Gwari. When the bandits contacted her husband and family members, they demanded N200,000 for her release, alongside her baby, it was not easy to negotiate with the bandits but I decided to take the ransom to them based on sympathy because the family was afraid.
”After delivering the ransom, their boss asked why I had come and why I was the person delivering the ransom, that he expected someone younger. I explained that we are neighbours.
“The boss, named Bala, decided to release the mother and child but held me back until additional ransom was paid. Eventually, my people paid one million naira to secure my freedom.”
Speaking on his stay in the forest with the bandits, he said, ”It was very bad, even though their boss, Bala, warned them not to harm me due to my age but the teenagers beat me severely whenever he left for operations and I once fainted from their beatings, resulting in a broken tooth.”
Reflecting on the risk he took, Adamu said he wasn’t afraid to deliver the ransom despite his age because of his relationship with the family and her status as a new Muslim and nursing mother.
He described the bandits as Fulani boys who mostly spoke Hausa but switched to Fulfulde when they didn’t want them to understand, adding that there were about 20 other abducted villagers in the camp, including two women.
On their treatment and daily routine, he revealed, “We were poorly fed with grain flour mixed with palm oil, ate with our hands tied under a grass tent, and were denied the opportunity to pray. The bandits do not pray the five daily prayers themselves, despite claiming to be Muslims.”
Abdullahi who is still awaiting his retirement benefits and gratuity decried the grim reality faced by victims of banditry in Nigeria’s rural areas.