Three of the persons kidnapped on Wednesday along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway have been released after a ransom was paid to the kidnappers. The abducted were led to the Kaduna secretariat of Nigerian Union of Journalists by former vice president, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Danjuma Bello Sarki.
Sarki, who addressed a press conference in Kaduna yesterday said the three were released at Rijana village along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on Friday night.
The released victims who were at the press conference are: Kazah Bulus, Simon Terna, and Ruth Samuel. They described the denial of Kaduna Police command that only two persons were kidnapped as shameful.
It would be recalled that reports filtered in on Wednesday 7th June, 2017, that gunmen, in a commando style fashion, stormed the Kaduna- Abuja express road and took captive of over 20 people including men and women in broad daylight at about 1:00 pm. According to reports the incident happened between Sabon Akilibu and Tsohon Akilibu villages.
One of the victims, a commercial driver who miraculously escaped said the Kidnappers were armed with sophisticated weapons.
“They had a field day on the road, stopping vehicles indiscriminately, until they gathered over 20 people before they walked them into the nearby bush like a flock. There was no any resistance from security agents,” the driver narrated.
However, the Kaduna State Police command, on Friday denied reports in some section of the media that 20 people were kidnapped on Wednesday along Abuja-Kaduna express way. The Commissioner of Police, Mr Agyole Abeh said this at a news conference in Kaduna.
The commissioner, who was represented by his deputy in charge of operations Abdulrahaman Ahmed, said the command had only recorded an incident where five persons driving along Kaduna-Abuja express way were attacked and three of them were robbed while the other two were kidnapped.
“The Command wishes to state that, there was no report of such incident and the story is entirely a fabricated falsehood intended to create fear in the minds of citizens.
“It is pertinent to note that the command has not relented in acting on reports on the suspected activities of criminals in the state.
“When the report reached us the Command’s technical and human resources where deployed to ensure the rescue of the two victims and the arrest of the culprits.
“In view of the foregoing, there is no way 20 people could be travelling inside one car and be kidnapped without trace or a report to the police by the relatives of the victims or witnesses to the crime,” he said.
But Sarki debunks the Police statement, hinting that he and some of his concerned friends had on Thursday, reported the matter at the command, after the news broke out and the police promised to investigate and ensure the release of the captives.
“To our greatest shock, instead of doing the needful, the Kaduna State Police Command decided to debunk it through a press statement, describing it as false, claiming that there was no truth in the story, that it was misleading.
“Though, we suspected this ab initio, due to the manner they treated our report by claiming not to have received any complaint or report from any quarters or their men covering those areas.
“However, we told them we were there to formally report the matter, that was when the same DCP Abdulrahaman later owned up to us that the Divisional Police Officer of Kateri Division informed them after receiving a call during a meeting they held on kidnapping on the same axis on Wednesday, 7th June, 2017 at the Force headquarters.
“These actions gave birth to our total loss of confidence in the police to investigate the matter, which led to our refusal to contact them when we established contact with the kidnappers.
“We wish to categorically and unequivocally reaffirm that the incident is true with physical proof. Despite several payments of ransom and releases of some victims as at yesterday night, there are still more than 30 people in their captivity.
“We want to reiterate here that no one is safe on Kaduna-Abuja expressway due to the nonchalant attitude and lack of commitment from our security agencies and the government,” Sarki said.
Sarki bemoans the inability of the Nigerian Police Force to do anything tangible to secure the road for citizens despite several reported cases of kidnapping on the road.
He further expressed worry that despite the deployment of 510 anti-riot policemen backed with 40 patrol vehicles and armoured personnel carriers on Abuja-Kaduna express way, which was expected to man dark spots and vulnerable points in the area, the spate of kidnapping has degenerated to an intolerable level on high way.
“It is so sad that the Kaduna State Police Command is not perturbed about the security of lives and properties of Nigerians, rather they are more concerned about their image as a result of their inefficiency in tackling security challenges in the state, hence the level of crime and criminality in the state.
“The Commissioner of Police in Kaduna has steadily exposed his incompetence and unprofessionalism in the discharge of his responsibility. We strongly believe that he lacks the capacity to superintend over Kaduna police command and we are calling on the Inspector General of Police to transfer him out of the state,” Sarki maintains.