From John Adams, Minna
Barely two days after armed bandits killed no fewer than 20 villagers in a reprisal attack in Magami, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, the District Head of Wawa in the Borgu Emirate of the state, Alhaji Dr Mahmud Ahmed Aliyu, has been abducted.
A source close to the community told our correspondent that the gunmen, less than six hours after the abduction, have demanded N100 million ransom for the release of the most read traditional ruler in the state with a PhD from Malaysia.
The Dodo of Wawa, as the District Head is popularly referred to, was abducted by the heavily armed men from his palace on Saturday night.
According to our source, the heavily armed men, all dressed in military uniform and riding on motorcycles, invaded the palace of the district head at about 12 midnight and quietly removed him from his palace, taking him away to an unknown destination.
The Wawa town where the district head was abducted is about two kilometres from the 221 Wawa Military Cantonment in Borgu.
Although it was gathered that the gunmen were sighted by some community members when they arrived, it was assumed that they were military personnel from Wawa 221 Barracks who are frequently on motorcycle patrols around the Kainji National Park.
According to eyewitnesses, the gunmen took the district head through the Kainji National Park and headed towards the Benin Republic border.
When contacted for comment, Niger State Police Command spokesman DSP Wasiu Abiodun confirmed the incident, saying that the police’s special anti-kidnapping squad was already on the trail of the gunmen.
Abiodun said the police special tactical team had been sent on the trail of the hostage-takers, assuring that they will be apprehended shortly.
The Dodo of Wawa is reputedly the richest district head in Borgu Emirate, with a doctorate degree in Environmental Science from Malaysia. He reportedly returned to Nigeria last year after his PhD programme.
His abduction has thrown the Wawa community into confusion, bringing all activities to a halt.
Alhaji Aliyu is the fifth district head to be abducted in the state by gunmen in the last six months.