Mansur Al-Kadriyar, the father of the six girls abducted in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has narrated their ordeal in the hands of the bandits.
The Explainer earlier reported how Al-Kadriyar was abducted alongside his six daughters when bandits attacked his residence on January 2. However, he was released immediately to purportedly sort out the ransom payment.
In an interview with Arise TV on Monday, January 22, Al-Kadriyar disclosed that his younger brother Abdulfatai who led a team of police officers to his residence for rescue was killed in a gun battle with the bandits.
After spending 18 days in captivity, the Al-Kadriyar sisters were freed in a joint police-army operation on Saturday night, according to the FCT police spokesperson, Josephine Adeh.
Unfortunately, one of the daughters, Nabeeha, a final year university student was killed when the abductors’ ransom demands were not met, the Explainer learned.
Below is an excerpt from the interview:
“It was on January 2. I think I came in around 7 p.m. from town and I moved in immediately to observe my Maghrib prayer.
“I came out after and sat down in the sitting room to relax. I later observed my Ishai prayer but was not feeling too okay to eat dinner, so I asked my daughter to prepare pap (a porridge made from grain) for me.
“I could not take much of the pap, so I went straight to my bedroom. I kept telling my wife I was not feeling too strong. I dozed off after some time and the next thing I heard was some noise and wondered who was banging the gate.
“My children were in their various rooms. The banging on the gate continued. The house is an uncompleted building. I just fixed about three rooms, just for us to move in, it has not been up to two months since we moved into the house.
“I came out, went to the sitting room and peeped from the window, I saw a man standing outside, it was then I realised, they were armed robbers.
“I notified my wife and told her the people outside were armed robbers. My wife and I rushed to the rooms to switch off all the lights, the children had also locked their rooms. I picked up my phone to call either neighbours or anyone for help but I was so confused.
“I later called my brother, Abdulfatai, and told him we were being attacked by armed robbers. He called about 15 minutes later saying he was close to the house.
“When I noticed my brother was driving in, I was happy, he was the one that led the police to that community. When I sighted his car, they had already positioned themselves.
“They immediately told us to lay down and I told my children to obey and lay down. Three of the armed men went to a building nearby, it is a fenced building and they broke all the security lights in that house and then started firing at the police officers.
“I saw my brother driving out, he didn’t know they were close to that house, so, I believe while he was trying to reverse, they must have shot him.
“The police vehicle also got stuck, so he could not reverse. They continued to exchange bullets, and after a few minutes, both of them stopped. I think the police stopped and couldn’t advance further.
“It was then I knew they must have injured my brother or the police. They then asked us to get up, went back to the village and took another route.
He added that the bandits asked if he was a soldier while in captivity and told him they needed money.
“I was at their camp when all these ransom issues were coming up. That night when we went through the bush, it took about eight hours and 30 minutes of walking together with my children. I was not wearing any slippers, I was wearing shorts and a sports shirt.
“While walking into the bush, there was one among them who was friendly with us, ” I told him “Aboki, what do you want? Don’t treat me like this”. He was trying to speak Yoruba, he said ‘Money, you have money?’
“When they got to a hill, they fetched some firewood and prepared their food there that night. At that time, they asked me to kneel down, and one of them came to me and asked ‘do you have N3 Million?’ I said, ‘where do you expect me to get that?’
“Two people walked up to me and gave me a slap, and one other who was holding a gun hit me with it on my back.
“When they were done eating, they asked us to relax for about 30 minutes and the second lap of the journey took us about three hours again.
“We got to a bush where they asked to sleep for about 30 minutes. My children, those with wrappers, covered me with their wrappers.
“After 30 to 40 minutes, they told us to get up and we started the final lap. There is a big stream and a mountain to cross over to where their leader is.
“The guy that I picked as a friend was telling me ‘bros, cooperate with oga, oga will release you so that you will go and look for the money’. I told him I don’t have money and I’m a civil servant.
“I just moved into that house not up to two months. Before we moved in, I explained to my children that the sitting room was not furnished and that we would need to just manage. We have been staying in a rented apartment for a long time.
“He asked me to go and sit down and relax. After a few minutes, the leader asked me to come, I knelt down before him and he said, ‘are you a soldier?’ I said no, ‘I am just a civil servant, the house you see me occupying is for my brother and it is not yet completed’.
“He said okay. One of them came from the back and hit me in the back. They said how much can I raise, ‘I told them I can try to raise N2 million’. They said I have not negotiated yet.
“They asked me to count my children and think about their number. My children started saying, ‘Daddy, please don’t allow them to kill us’.
“They (bandits) started talking about N5 million to N10 million, I said where will I get N10 million from?”