Faith Awa Maji, Lafia
Nasarawa State of recent has been a den of kidnappers considering the riotous activities of these miscreants especially the incident that took place on Wednesday 15th of this month at the home town of number one citizen of the state, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, in Gudi town of Akwanga Local Government Area of the state that killed the nephew and niece to the former Minister of Information, Hon Labaran Maku, who was also the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) governorship candidate in the 2019 general election in the state.
Kidnappers seem to have perfected their act, they seem to have a strategy that is working for them where residential areas and roads are no longer malleable, safe for the residents of the state.
The lives of residents today have been declared unsafe, such that one cannot sleep with the two eyes closed or move around the neighborhood without being kidnapped or killed, because these kidnappers seem to be ahead of every citizen.
After the death of the two siblings occasioned by kidnappers, Friday 17th of this month, kidnappers also visited a retired ophthalmic nurse, Mr Asumbugu Paul Sidi in Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Area of the state around 8pm and took him away to an unknown destination, but was released after he spent 24 hours in the kidnappers’ den.
One may like to ask what a retired civil servant like Paul Sidi has. It is just pitiable that even a pastor, ordinary men and women on the street are being kidnapped while others got killed in the process.
Daily Sun visited the residence of the released kidnapped victim in Nasarawa Eggon few hours after his release as he said his kidnappers have been monitoring him for a year now saying based on the information they (kidnappers) got, they thought he is a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr Asumbugu Paul Sidi who is also a traditional title holder of Ubangairi Awunza narrated his ordeal in the hands of his kidnappers.
“First of all, my name is Asumbugu Paul Sidi, the Ubangairi Awunza and Sarduna Awunza. I am so grateful to God as usual for my life. I went down to Lafia to condole with the family of late colleague and a friend of mine, Alaska, that was on Friday the 17th of this month.
“So that very day after the burial, I came down here to my place in Nasarawa Eggon, in my usual habit. I was resting when madam was in the kitchen cooking and I followed her there. We were there around 8pm, a young man walked in and started shooting sporadically and requested me to give him my handset, I then threw it to him and he ordered me to lie down which I did.
“He then gave me my handset back and asked me to switched it off, I did while he said I should stand up and follow him which I did without hesitation.
“From there, I found myself in a different environment. So I was there with them that day, I didn’t want to say anything. They received me well, they didn’t do anything to hurt me. We were friendly with them, I was even preaching to them and they were answering me well and even wishing me good luck in our endeavours.
“So I stayed there till yesterday which was Saturday the 18th. We were together with them, in fact, they said I am a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I want to quote them verbatim that I am a Minster, that they came to my house as the Minister, they need me to give them the attention of a Minister. I told them I am not a Minister but a retired civil servant (ophthalmic nurse).
“Well, it is good but a bitter experience. From there they took me in a vehicle; I don’t know where I was until I saw myself in Nasarawa Eggon when they uncovered my eyes and I saw myself home and I was happy, then I still prayed for them, the three of them, as they equally prayed God to bless my wife with fruit of the womb.
When asked whether he could recall where exactly they took him, the retired Ophthalmic Nurse Asumbugu responded as thus;
“When I left my house here, I don’t know where they took me because I just found myself in a strange place.”
Were you conveyed in a motorcycle or a car to their hideout?
“I don’t want go into that for now my sister. I had it tough but I thank God.”
From all indication the rescued kidnapped victim was force to use his legs as mean of mobility to the kidnappers den as our Correspondent in Lafia noticed swellings in both legs of the victim with bruises.
How can you describe their identities?
“I wouldn’t know which tribe but, all I know, I have been in their custody for twenty-four hours and they were speaking Hausa and English. I was communicating with them in both English and Hausa”
Was there any ransom paid?
“I don’t want to go into that but, I just thanked them only.”
Is there anything else you want to say?
“What I have to say for the whole public is that, if your neighbour is not having food and you have, give him food, if he is not well, assist him. If your brother or sister is having problems with you, resolve it amicably. In whatever you do, do good to everyone, so it shall be done unto you because I’ve seen it practically. If I was not good, they would have even beaten me. But you can see there is a stick there they (kidnappers) cut for me to walk on and they were aiding me to walk with it because they said I’m an old man, they thought am one giant and strong young boy like them. And so when I collected the stick, I felt better, they even gave me a touch light, face-mask, socks to wear for free. After they released me, I gave them their touch light, but they refused. In fact, I want to tell people that, whatever good you do, would be done to you also even if you are in the hands of the most wicked men, they will not treat you wickedly.”
Did they in any way search your phone to know whether the information you gave about you was true?
“Yes, they went through my phone to confirm what I told them about myself, because they asked me about myself and I told them everything about me without mincing words. So I had to switch on my phone for them. They browsed it all and saw my bank transactions. They discovered the good that I’ve been doing to people and told me that am a man of God because in my dealings, I don’t choose tribe or religion, I just do good to anyone who is in need.”
He appreciated his wife for the efforts she made to get him released. “I want to appreciate my wife because she was the brain behind my coming out successfully, Mrs. Asaba Asumbugu, a young and strong woman. I told my kidnappers that, I don’t have anybody except my wife and my elder brother who is in Kaduna, his wife is also sick; so my wife is the only one that will help.”
The Ophthalmic nurse used the medium to call on government to create job opportunities for the teaming young graduates roaming the streets in the country.
“Security wise, the government should provide employment; these are strong young boys with no employment. No assistance from the public at all, people are suffering. And even in security terms, our men and women should be given a jobs in the police and army, so that they can maintain the country in peace. Make the security okay and as I told you, whether security personnel surround my house, if am not good, God must use one of them to deal with me. So whichever way, you also serve as a good security of yourself, try to help people who are poor and in need, don’t leave them to suffer.”
His wife, Mrs Asaba Asumbugu expressed gratitude to God for releasing her husband but decline comment on whether she paid ransom to the kidnappers for her husband’s release.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer of Nasarawa State Command, ASP Ramhan Nansel through a telephone conversation said, he was not aware of any kidnapped case in Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.