Reverend Daniel Umaru, a pastor with EYN Church in Jairi, Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, has further explained how bandits who killed his two sons and shot him demanded N30 million to release his abducted daughter.
THE WHISTLER had reported that Umaru’s house was attacked on Tuesday, during which the assailants shot two of his sons to death, shot him on the leg and kidnapped his only daughter.
Speaking to our correspondent from his hospital bed, the cleric narrated in detail how the kidnappers contacted him through his brother’s phone to demand the ransom.
He said: “They called us more than 49 times in a day. First, they called and asked for 30million naira, and I asked them: ‘Where am I going to get this kind of money from? Upon all what you did to me? You killed the only 2 sons I had, you shot me on my leg and now I’m suffering in the hospital and can’t even sit down, my wife was unconscious only God that save her from getting stroke because her blood level rose to 346, and I told you that I’m just a pastor who don’t have any source of income only my little monthly salary!’”
Umaru recalled that the bandits responded thus: “Yes we know we killed two of your children, but this is not our problem now. Our problem is the money we are asking from you for the release of your daughter.”
At this point, the cleric said he could no longer hold back his tears as he wept profusely on his sick bed, calling to God for help.
“I pleaded with them to understand my situation but they refused. They even warned me that if I dragged too much with them, they would kill her that day. On hearing this, I didn’t have any other option than to look for how to borrow some money from friends, since the government that I relied on to save my daughter abandoned me.
“I had thought that the government or any other organisations would intervene to try to rescue my only daughter and the only child left for me in this life, but nothing was done. I therefore, decided to look for money to pay the kidnappers. After contacting friends and families, I got the money we later agreed on. And our EYN president, Rev Joel, said publicly at the burial ground of my two sons that the church will not pay any ransom. We only got N500,000 from one politician, but the remaining money raised was borrowed from four people,” he lamented.
The bandits were said to have subsequently agreed to take N3 million which was taken to them by the cleric’s brothers.
According to Umaru, his daughter’s abductors warned that no more than two people were allowed to deliver the money, or they would be shot if they did not adhere strictly.
The bandits were said to have also demanded a crate of Maltin and two cartons of cigarettes in addition to the N3 million.
One of Pastor Umaru’s brothers who also spoke to our correspondent said the bandits gave different descriptions of their location. He said they were first told to go to a place called Tsamiya on the outskirts of Mubi Town and await further instructions.
“After reaching Tsamiya, they now told us to follow one road to the bush. We started trekking, going far into the bush for almost 5 hours in the night before coming to one village and asking for help. One man agreed to take us on his motorcycle before reaching them. They were located in the forest close to mountains, I cannot tell precisely where that place is, but I guess it should be Gella road, near sahuda close to Cameroon.” One of the brothers who delivered the money told THE WHISTLER.
According to him, the bandits who came to collect the ransom were more than 10 in number.
He said even though they were not all seated in one place, he could see them scattered in different strategic places, shielding their faces behind shrubs and trying to monitor how many people brought the cash.
“The group we delivered the money to were speaking real Hausa and Fulani languages to us. We couldn’t see their faces because everything was done in the night, but they didn’t hide their faces.
“After collecting the things they requested and the money, they counted the money one after the other before they told us to start going. They will send the girl to meet us,” added the brother.
The cleric’s brother said the kidnappers finally sent the teenage girl to meet them at a location. She was with her mother’s sim card which they gave her, but they withheld the phone itself.
Pastor Umaru said his daughter returned normal but would be going for a general check up on Monday.
The 16-year-old girl was said to be sleeping under the tree while in the forest and no food was given to her by her captors.
The bandits, according to the cleric’s brother, complained about not being able to get food to buy: “They told us to buy them things they requested because they don’t have it close to buy.”
Speaking further, Pastor Umaru said once he is discharged from the hospital, he will have to sell some of his landed properties to pay those who lent him the money he paid the bandits.
When THE WHISTLER contacted the Adamawa State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Suleiman Yahaya Nguroje, for comment, he gave assurances that the police were doing everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators.
His words: “The command has redeployed its secondary machinery in collaboration with the security sister-agencies like the military, members of Vigilante and hunters. As I’m talking to you now, there’s what we call ‘Operation Dislodge Criminal Hideouts’ taking place in the state. These hideouts were marked on the hills and inside the forests which are believed to be the hiding places of the Criminals, especially the kidnappers. So in that regard, the command is going the extra mile giving a hot chase to these Criminals.
“I assure you, in a few times you’ll see with your own eyes that these people are apprehended, and we are going to parade them. A lot of intelligence is ongoing, and the command has declared its willingness to give financial benefits to anybody that will volunteer useful information that will lead to the apprehension of these suspects wherever they are.”
Nguroje urged Umaru’s family and members of the public to remain calm and support the police in their investigations.
“We have plain clothes security who are there intelligently to monitor the movement of anyone around the Reverend pastor who is on hospital admission, It’s the duty of the police to protect lives, and his life now having been discovered to be at stake, is being done under guard by the police to ensure he is protected. And in the course of protecting his life, we are also aiming to apprehend whosoever that is coming after his life. I’m assuring you this, his life is secured. If you can even place us on video, you will see the strategy that is being put in place here” he concluded.