Some would call it Karma; others would use the word Nemesis to describe the messy situation in which 20-year-old Ibrahim Abdullahi found himself. The young man had committed the unpardonable crime of arranging the killing of his elder brother––and almost got away with it.
But an ironic twist upended the status quo when IRT operatives working on a different case stumbled on the hideous truth. Now Citizen Abdullahi has to answer for his heinous crime. What was most unbelievable was his motive for such a grave sin: the original sin of envy.
Operatives of Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), headed by DCP Abba Kyari, had stumbled on the case while on the trail of suspected kidnappers terrorizing travellers on the Kaduna-Zaria expressway. Abdullahi’s crime was uncovered when one of the arrested suspects, Hassan Amadu, sang like a canary, confessing some of their past crimes, including how the gang helped a certain Ibrahim Abdullahi to assassinate his brother.
On May 5, 2020, police knocked on his door with handcuffs and whisked him away from Amana Mai-Kasuwa village in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Confronted with the damning account, the 20-year-old did not refute the story. He admitted to the crime and went ahead to reel out a vivid account of how he led a gang of die-hard kidnappers to his family house on the night of March 21 and specifically ordered them to rob and kill Kadade Abdullahi, his elder brother.
What was most confounding was his motive. That their father entrusted his elder brother with the family’s cattle rearing business was, to him, an unacceptable situation he could neither fathom nor stomach.
“My father has three wives and so many sons. It was very wrong for him to value only Kadade,” he seethed.
The killing of his brother was one of his many sins. Ibrahim Abdullahi was also a member of a cattle-rustling gang that perpetrated grievous crimes including armed robbery and kidnapping along the Kaduna-Zaria expressway. Four members of his gang identified as Auwalu, Kiri Jumare, Nakaduwa and Yellow are currently on the run.
Blaming his father for his bad decision
Ibrahim Abdullahi blamed his father for the wrong turn he took in his life.
He said: “My father married four wives and has so many children. I don’t know what is special about Kadade that he will not address his other children without rubbing it on our faces that he is special.”
Continuing, he said: “He never gave me a formal education. Rather, I was sent to an Arabic school in Kaduna. It was only Kadade that attended primary and secondary school. My father said education was not necessary for the rest of us, that he wanted all of us to be farmers. Yet he kept calling us illiterates and complained that we cannot speak English. How can I speak English when he did not send me to school?
“I learnt how to cultivate corn and rear cow. I had to get married to convince him that I am old enough to handle responsibilities. As soon as I got married, my father gave me only 20 cows and two plots of land,” he said. “Only 20 cows,” he repeated.
Frustration, he claimed, made him amenable to bad company. Two years ago, he was out in the bush taking care of the family’s cattle when he met Haruna, the man who introduced him to crime.
“He is also a farmer but is involved in robbery and kidnapping,” he said of Haruna. “He asked me to join his gang, and since my father refused to grant me easy access to money, I decided to join him.”
They started by stealing goats and sheep. “When he (Haruna) was able to secure AK-47 rifles, we started rustling cows,” he stated.
In time, Haruna introduced the gang to one Abdulahi who lived in the forest. “He convinced us to start kidnapping rich people in our community while he would be taking a percentage of the ransom. Most of the people we kidnapped were Fulani cattle rearers known to us. Normally, we know the very rich ones; we know when they sell their cows. We’d kidnap them and ask them to bring the money from the sale. It was only a few time that we blockaded the Kaduna-Zaria expressway to rob motorists. We avoided that because there were many stronger gangs in charge of those areas who sometimes invited us to join them if they needed more hands.”
Abdullahi, who got married in January, tried to lead a life that was free of suspicion. “I sold three of my cows at N100,000 each to get enough money to marry and take care of my new wife. I never kept stolen cattle, because my father will notice and accuse me of stealing. The cattle we stole were kept in the bush and sold later.”
Killing his brother
On how and why he organised the killing of his brother, Abdullahi gave further background: “My brother sold some cows and made N1.7million. It was such a good deal when he came back into the house he was making a noise about it. My father was also very happy about it. We expected him to share the money, but he asked Kadade to keep the entire money and to take it to the bank the next day.
“That day, I was so broke I had to ask my father for money. As usual, he insulted me and told me to learn to be responsible like Kadade. I was so bitter I immediately called Haruna and told him about the money in our household. I told them to come that night and also charged him to ensure that they kill my brother. My thought at the time was that his death would make my father allow me to control some of his businesses.”
When the five-man gang arrived at midnight, they knocked on his window, the agreed sign to inform him that they were around.
“They searched everywhere, including my room and before they left, they killed my brother as I instructed them. My father was devastated and I consoled him that it was Allah’s wish,” he recounted.
Early in the morning, he went into the bush to meet the gang and was disappointed with the operation.
“They told me that it was only N300, 000 that they found with my brother. I took N100, 000 as my share since I was the one who brought the job. Later, when news about my brother’s death went round the village, we got to know that he kept a part of the money inside a safe in the village market.”
Expectedly, the storm generated by the tragedy died. According to him: “Initially, police came and arrested our neighbours because they also heard about the money made from selling cows. They were later released and my brother was buried and the matter was forgotten,”
Abdullahi was confident that was the end of the ugly business. But weeks later, police showed up at his door with one of his accomplices, Hassan.
“I am terribly sorry. I hope that my family will forgive me,” he said.
The great deceit Hassan the suspect who blew the lid off the crime claimed he was blindsided over the decision to kill Kadade.
“I had no idea about Ibrahim’s instruction to kill his elder brother Kadade,” he insisted. “We all live around the same village, so I know Kadade very well as a hardworking man and very generous. I will never wish him dead. On the day of the incident, I was busy searching the other rooms for money when I heard a gunshot. I thought it was just to scare them and warn us to prepare to move out. We were back in the bush before I learnt that Kadade was killed. We only found N300, 000 in the house and my share was N40, 000.”
The 22-year-old from Rinji village in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State gave an account of how he ended in bad company.
His story: “My father sent me out of the house when I was 15 years to go and learn how to rear cattle from one Alhaji Sani. Although my father is also a farmer, he preferred to send me out because he has so many sons. The agreement was that at the end of each year, the man that I was serving would give me a small herd. This was how I was expected to grow until I have a herd that is large enough to start my own.
“It was in the bush that I met Haruna and he gave me an idea of how to make my own money. He told me that Alhaji Sani is very rich and with so many cows, he would not notice one missing. I started leaving one behind every month whenever I took the herd for feeding, and Haruna would take the cow and sell it. This worked for me till the day Alhaji Sani discovered that his cows were missing and he sent most us away. I told Haruna my plight and he asked me to start working for him.”
He became a part of a cattle-rustling gang, which, in a matter of time, graduated into robbery and kidnapping.
“Ibrahim (Abdullahi) is part of our gang,” Hassan affirmed. “Normally, anyone can bring information about someone that we can steal from or kidnap. It was the reason he told us that there is money in their house. I never knew that he asked Haruna to ensure that Kadade was killed.”