Drama, intrigues and confusion seem to surround the abduction and release of the Dodo of Wawa, (District Head) Dr Mahmoud Ahmed Aliyu in Borgu Local Government area of Niger state, who was allegedly released from the hands of bandits five days ago (Tuesday, 20th of October, 2021).
The monarch was kidnapped from his palace by bandits on the 4th of September, 2021 and remained with them for 47 days.
The gunmen stormed his palace on motorcycles, dressed in military uniforms at about 10pm in the night and allegedly whisked him away after retiring to his quarters. They took him in the presence of his family to an unknown location without hurting any member of his household.
But, after five days in their clutches, the district Head of Wawa was said to have been released freely and returned back home by his abductors unhurt.
He regained his freedom, it was learnt, without payment of ransom as the bandits allegedly never called his family to demand for money.
A traditional title holder, the Wallin Wawa, Alh, Bala Galla confirmed this to journalists when contacted.
According to him, he was in his residence at about 8:30pm after the Ishai prayers, when he heard sound of jubilations from the people close to the palace and then rushed outside.
“And I saw the Dodo in the among our people dancing and singing close to his palace. They were all happy on his release,” the Wallin Wawa stated.
Narrating how he was released, Galla claimed that, “the Dodo said they brought him on three bikes,/carrying a passenger each and because, they were aware that there was no light in the community as at that time, they rode close to the palace, dropped him and immediately zoomed away.”
Galla also explained that the traditional ruler told his subjects that he was not tortured by his abductors, but rather, he was accorded reasonable treatment.
This was also swiftly followed by confirmations by the Niger State Government through the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, Mrs Mary Noel-Berje and the Police Command, through the Public Relations Officer, PRO, DSP Wasiu Abiodun.
While the CPS said he was freed without payment of ransom as the usual stance of the State on issues of kidnap, the Police image maker said the DPO of New Bussa, Borgu LG confirmed to the Command of his rescue, but that details on his release were sketchy.
The confirmation was further given more weight as his pictures were also splashed on social media by his family members of him reuniting with his people.
But, a few days later, amid jubilations on the news, confusion broke out that the Dodo of Wawa was never seen in the palace nor around his domain by his people who had earlier announced his release.
Tongues started wagging as to whether he was truly released as claimed by the trio of the palace, the State Government and the Police.
Bandits bring home abducted Niger traditional ruler
As nothing was further heard or announced on it by the relevant authorities, different thoughts were expressed on the matter. Some claimed he was brought back sick and taken to Minna, the state capital to receive treatment concerning his BP that had purportedly gone up, and the injuries he sustained while with the bandits, even though, the Wallin Wawa had already disclosed that the monarch told them he was not tortured by the bandits.
Others stated that he was never released as claimed by those that confirmed his release,therefore, wondered why they had to resort to lying to the public on such an important issue, while some simply claimed that there was never a kidnap in the first place.
The confusion persisted on whether he was still in captivity or not until, Tuesday, 20th of October, 2021, when the palace shocked the State again with a claimed for the second time that its ruler has been released.
This was confirmed by yet another titled holder, the Wazirin Wawa, Alhaji Ja’afar Ibrahim Bio, when contacted. He also said a ransom was paid, but did not disclose how much. This further contradicted their earlier claim.
However, it was gathered that a ramson of N10m was paid to secure his freedom.
A video was shared by the family of the Dodo where he was seen in a white turban being welcomed by his family as well as members of the palace.
Some residents of the area told DAILY POST that the Monarch was united with his people at exactly 7:30pm amid tears, hugs and celebrations.
Though looking frail but healthy, the residents said, ” the Monarch said he was not tortured, insulted nor mistreated in anyway by the kidnappers. He believed his experience had been predestined and he takes it in good faith”.
Also, a source in Borgu who would not want his name in print told DAILY POST that the people of Wawa have confirmed the latest safe return of their ruler.
“When I called my friends in Wawa which is under Borgu Emirate, they confirmed the Dodo of Wawa has been released. They said he is physically present in Wawa. But, as a District Head under the Borgu Emirate, he is supposed to have come over and pay homage to the Mai Borgu ( Emir of Borgu) or at least called him, which he is yet to do,” the source stated.
In spite of the controversies that trail the issue, the Borgu Emirate Council, it was further learnt is yet to issue any public statement on the kidnap or the release of the district head.
The Niger State Government and also the Police Command have both kept sealed lips on the latest announcement from the royal father’s cabinet on the matter.
Efforts to get both the CPS, Mary Noel-Berje and the Police Public Relations Officer, PRO Wasiu Abiodun, who had earlier on, reacted on behalf of the Niger State government and the State Police on the matter were abortive as they could not be reached.
Also, people of the state are condused as to what to make out of what they described as ‘political’ intrigues surrounding the abduction and the release of the royal father as some of those who spoke to our correspondent said, “the monarch needs to make a public appearance to at least put this confusion and drama to a final rest”.