The Niger State commissioner for information, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Idris, who was released on Thursday night after being kidnapped on Sunday at Babban Tunga village in Tafa local government area of the state, yesterday said his ordeal in the hands of the abductors was traumatizing, even as no ransom was paid for his release.
The commissioner was abducted Sunday at about 11:00pm and released Thursday night, though it was gathered that the last ransom demand from the abductors was N180 million.
He said despite the traumatizing experience he refused to break down but was preaching to them, and like a miracle, his abductors released him.
The commissioner who spoke to journalists in Minna yesterday, said: “The experience was traumatizing, I came out last night and I spent the night at a hospital for observation and I came to Minna this morning hale and hearty.
“I was not rescued and I didn’t pay any ransom, it was just miraculous. When they started, they were very hard on me and pushed me to a limit you never expected a human to still be resilient but I give God the glory because I remained there believing that the God I serve would always be there for me.”
He said he was the only victim with the bandits and they told him his abduction was a high profile one that went through serious planning involving many people before they succeeded.
“I was asking them if what they were doing was welcome in the eyes of Allah, gradually, instead of breaking me, I started breaking them. After, they started giving me bread and water, they untied me and used the only trampoline they had to cover me during rain while they stayed under the rain,” he said.
He said they started showing concern at a point as he kept on preaching and at last they decided to release him.
He said; “They came with recordings where I made statements emphasising this and reiterating it to them that as a government, in Niger State, we don’t pay ransom to bandits. I believe we will succeed. I thank the government for standing by that, they were able to protect the integrity of our government.
“In fact, the first thing I did when I came out was to send a text to my governor to thank him for having the strength of heart not to allow any state machinery intervene in my release because we took a decision in council that the Niger State government is averse to payment of ransom to bandits for any situation, for any case and now it has happened to me.”
He added; “While I was there I was thinking of the people and government of Niger State because I realized that God should intervene and ensure the government does not intervene in my affair. I preferred to lose my life than to take the government to the washes and we succeeded. I came out unscathed aside from the beating and without paying a dime”.
The commissioner said the people would be surprised that he believed that when they captured him he felt that God had promised to take every believer through trials and tribulations and that for those that are able to show resilience and withstand there was reward thereafter.
He said based on his conviction he would not hesitate to resign as a cabinet member of the government if the government submitted to payment of ransom to the bandits to secure his freedom.
“I held onto the leader and told him that I forgave them for all the humiliations they had taken me through. They began to shed tears and they said they prayed that their meeting with me would be an end point to their banditry.”
The speaker of the state House of Assembly, Abdullahi Bawa Wuse, who received him on arrival, said many resolutions were passed with a view to ending banditry in the state but that it was left for the executive to implement them.
A member of the family, Mr. Ado Ada, had earlier issued a statement announcing his release, saying, “His release was wholly the result of efforts of his family and no ransom was paid. The family facilitated his release with divine intervention from Allah.”
The commissioner has since reunited with his family after receiving medical attention.