‘My kidnappers mistook me for a Minister’, released kidnap victim narrates ordeal in Nassarawa Eggon

Nasarawa State has recently become a den of kidnappers with the criminals running riot in virtually all the Local Governments Areas of the State.

The latest episode that caught the attention of the general public was the incident that took place on Wednesday 15th of this month at the hometown of the number one citizen of the State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, Gudi town of Akwanga Local Government Area.

The incident involved relatives of a former Minister of Information, Hon. Labaran Maku who was also the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) governorship candidate in the 2019 general election in the State. He lost his nephew and niece.

The kidnappers seem to have perfected their act, becoming more brazen in their activities rendering the highways and residences unsafe for the citizens of the State.

After the death of the two relatives of the former minister occasioned by kidnappers, Friday 17th of this month, kidnappers also visited a retired ophthalmic nurse, Mr Asumbugu Paul Sidi in Nassarawa Eggon Local Government Area of the State around 8pm in the evening and took him away to an unknown destination.

His case was however better than most as he was released after spending 24 hours in the kidnappers’ den.

One may like to ask what does a retired civil servant like Paul Sidi have to offer to these criminals?

Such has become the trend; even religious leaders, low level civil servants, market men and women and their likes are being kidnapped while some got killed in the process in the State.

Eggonnews paid a visit to the residence of Mr Asumbugu Paul Sidi in Nasarawa Eggon few hours after his release on Sunday (July 19, 2020).

In his conversation with our correspondent, he said his kidnappers have been monitoring him for a year now saying based on the information they (kidnappers) got was that he is a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr Asumbugu Paul Sidi who also holds a traditional title of Ubangairi Awunza narrated his ordeal in hands of his kidnappers.

“First of all, my name is Asumbugu Paul Sidi, the Ubangairi Awunza and Sarduna Awunza. I am so grateful to God as usually in my own history.

“I went down to Lafia to condole the family of a late colleague and a friend of mine, Alaska. That was on Friday the 17th of this month.

“So that very day after the burial, I came down here to my place in Nasarawa Eggon. In my usual habit, I had to see some people who are weak and hard getting and I met them, I discussed with and I went down home.

“I was resting a bit while madam was in the kitchen cooking and I followed her there.

“We were there around 8pm, a young man walked in and started shooting sporadically and requested me to give him my handset. I then threw it to him and he ordered me to lie down which I did.

“He then gave me my handset back and asked me to switch it off. I did.

“He said I should stand up and follow him which I did without hesitation.

“From there, I found myself in a different environment.

“So, I was there with them that day, I don’t want to say anything.

“They received me well. They didn’t do anything to hurt me. We were friendly with them. I was even preaching to them and they were answering me well and even wishing me good luck in our undertaking. And I said thank you very much.

“So from there now we came to yesterday which is Saturday the 18th. So yesterday we were together with them very joyfully. In fact, they said I’m a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I want to quote them verbatim that I’m a Minster, that they came to my house as the Minister. They need me to give them the attention of a Minister.

“I said thank you ooo! But I’m not a Minister but a retired civil servant (ophthalmic nurse).

“So that is how it went. Well, it is good but a bitter experience.

“From there they just carried me in a vehicle. I didn’t know where I was until I saw myself in Nassarawa Eggon because they uncovered my eyes and I saw myself home and I was happy. Then I still held them – the three of them – in my arms and blessed them as they equally prayed God to bless my wife with fruit of the womb.

“So, I haven’t any problem. For me, they even brought a bottle of mineral with bread for me to eat as if they knew what am interested in at that time.”

When asked whether he can recall where exactly they took him, the retired Ophthalmic Nurse Asumbugu responded as thus;

“When I left my house here, I don’t know where they took me because I just found myself in a strange place.”

From all indication, Mr. Asumbugu was forced to trek to the kidnappers’ den because our correspondent noticed swelling in both legs of the victim with bruises.

Describing the appearance of his abductors, Mr. Asumbugu said: “I wouldn’t know which tribe but, all I know, I have been in their own care for twenty-four hours that I’ve been with them and of course, they were speaking Hausa and English. We have been communicating with them in both English and Hausa.”

Mr. Asumbugu also declined commenting on whether or not ransom was paid before he was released.

He however appreciated his wife whom he described as the ‘brain’ behind him being released by the kidnappers.

The retired nurse then used the medium to call on government to create job opportunities for the teeming young graduates roaming the streets in the country to curb the increasing rate of crime in the country.

The Police Public Relations Officer of Nasarawa State Command, ASP Ramhan Nansel through a telephone conversation said, he was not aware of any kidnapped case in Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

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