· … 8 nabbed, police on manhunt for others
By Emmanuel OGBECHE
Rescued lecturers of the University of Abuja, UniAbuja, have been speaking of their ordeals in the hands of their now arrested kidnappers.
On November 2, gunmen stormed the Giri, Gwagwalada area council, quarters of the institution and abducted a professor, deputy registrar and 6 others.
However, the abductees were rescued almost 72 hours later by a combined team of the police, DSS, and the army, a statement by Josephine Adeh, spokesperson of the FCT command disclosed in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
8 kidnappers arrested, others flee
“Following investigations and manhunt for the criminal elements involved in the abduction of staff of the University of Abuja at the University Staff Quarters, Giri, on 2nd November 2021, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with the military, the DSS and other security agencies in a joint operation in the early hours of Friday 5th November 2021, successfully identified the hideout of the criminals located in Shenegwu Forest in the Gwagwalada area of the FCT and rescued all abducted victims unhurt,” Adeh’s statement reads.
She further stated that, “The criminal elements on sighting the security team engaged them in a fierce gun duel. However, the superior firepower of the security operatives led to the arrest of eight (8) members of the notorious gang while some other members of the gang fled into the forest and nearby communities.
CP urges vigilance over fleeing bandits
The police spokesperson said the FCT police boss, Sunday Babaji has “enjoined residents particularly those around the Gwagwalada area of the FCT to be vigilant and provide the police with useful information that can assist in apprehending the gang members still at large. However, efforts are being intensified to arrest fleeing members of the gang.
“All the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of the investigations.”
Prof. Obansa on ordeal
One of those abducted, Prof. Sumaila Obansa of Economics Department, whose two children were also taken away, said he never imagined he would survive the agony.
He said, “They made us walk over a long stretch, day and night, and when it’s day time they blindfolded us. They didn’t allow us eat anything, except once or twice when they fed us with garri using unclean water. Once I couldn’t move again after having trekked for a long time, they kicked and threatened to waste me if I didn’t stand up. My son had to help me up. It was a very terrible experience.
“I had never trekked continuously for that long in my life. You will not even wish this to happen to your worst enemy. I just had to be praying to God for protection. Thank God, our prayers and those of everyone who cared were answered. And God used our leaders in the university, security operatives and other well-wishers, and ensured that we are safe at last.”
Height of inhumanity – Deputy registrar
Malam Sambo Mohammed, a deputy registrar, while recounting his ordeal in the hands of the kidnappers before their rescue, said it was the height of inhumanity.
“It was a very painful experience; I must tell you. Sometimes the boys hit you hard where you never expected, they kicked and shouted at you. We walked several kilometres in the bush, crossing streams and rivers, and finding ourselves where we never imagined. It is the height of man’s inhumanity to man.”
According to Mohammed, “At a point, they threatened to kill us if they did not get the ransom they were asking for. I thank Allah that we are free at last without any severe harm, without the payment of any ransom.
“I thank the security operatives who worked closely with our safety officers; council chairman, Professor Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, and others too numerous to mention. I thank my family, I thank everyone who has shown concern and care during our travails in the hands of our abductors.”