Narrow Escape: I was to be beheaded when God intervened — Kidnap Victim

By Publisher
7 Min Read


Cases of kidnapping have become worrying in the North with bandits having a field day in Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara States. It’s a story of divine providence for one of the kidnap victims, Abdullahi Abubakar Wali-Bukkuyum, a national youth leader, who spent about three weeks in the den of kidnappers after he was abducted in 2020 along Abuja – Kaduna Road

Wali-Bukkuyum, the President of Nigeria Youth Organisation, said although the kidnappers didn’t kill him, they tortured and beat him to a state of near unconsciousness many times for daring to preach repentance to them.

Reflecting on his experience, he told Saturday Vanguard: “Just after we successfully contributed our efforts to bringing an end to the #EndSARS protests in Abuja, I was on my way to Kaduna when I was kidnapped and kept for 18 days in the forest. Unfortunately for me, as my bag was being searched, the bandits saw my ID Cards as the President of Nigeria Youth Organization and the copies of letters we wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari seeking an audience with him on how we can be supported by his administration to sensitise the youths on insecurity. So, they separated me from other victims and demanded N100 million ransom for my release.

“In my wisdom, I tried to preach to them to drop their arms and turn a new leaf, but on a particular occasion, one of them picked a machete to slaughter me for daring to speak. It was by divine intervention which came my way through the bandits’ leader that I was not beheaded in the forest. I was beaten to stupor with thick sticks for trying to preach repentance to them in the forests. They paid little attention to my appeal, but kept on insisting that I must either produce the N100m ransom or die.”

“What baffled me the most after I regained freedom was that; I had barely spent two days in the forest when the National Secretary of the Nigeria Youth Organization began to make efforts to reach out, on my behalf, to some cabinet ministers and other influential people in the country who were my friends for their support.

Unfortunately, none contributed a dime to the money demanded as ransom. It was only the head of a federal security agency (names withheld) that made a contribution of N1m to the money eventually paid for my release.

“I had to sell my car, my wife’s car as well as gold jewelries and trinkets to raise the money. In addition, some friends and well wishers in my village in far away Zamfara also put in their money. We couldn’t raise the N100m, but what was eventually paid for my release was a huge sum in tens of millions and I was released after 18 days in captivity,” he said.

Wali-Bukkuyum, who thanked God for his protection, also thanked everyone who supported him during the trying time.

He urged the Federal Government and the security agencies to up their game towards checkmating the activities of bandits and criminals not only in the North but also in the country as a whole.

“The government is not doing enough to tackle insecurity, because it seems to be insincere in its anti-terror campaign.

Today, some notable Nigerians are busy pointing accusing fingers at each other over the insecurity in the country, but I think it is high time Nigerians came together to dialogue on how to wrestle this monster to the ground, because these acts of terror are being perpetuated by youths who we agree are the future of our nation,” the youth leader said.

Interestingly, Wali-Bukkuyum said one thing he learnt was that language could serve as a unifying factors even in tough situations, because the bandits treated the people who both spoke their language and also showed concern for their welfare with a little more respect.

He said, “Let me tell you, the bandits eventually made me an offer, saying that if the Federal Government is willing to come to terms with them and give them a monthly stipend of N10,000, they will drop their weapons. 99.9% of them are young people. They are nomads and herders who don’t really understand the sophistication of government.

“They (bandits) also told me the government has provided no schools, no water, no healthcare services and other basic amenities for their people, if only the government will give them amnesty and formally engage them to protect the forests and highways, there will be no more insecurity in the Northern parts of the country.

“I made this known to some highly placed individuals in this administration who have the listening ears of Mr. President. Unfortunately, I was told that anytime the bandits get across to me, I should let them know. That matter has gone down the drain. So, in my view, the situation is quite frustrating.

“Most of the bandits told me that they are not happy sleeping in the forests and do not know how the huge ransoms they collect are disbursed. All they are aware of is that their leaders give them stipends from time to time for their personal upkeep.”

Credit: Saturday Vanguard.

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