Molly Kilete, Abuja
The alleged mastermind and kingpin in the kidnapping of Alhaji Musa Uba, the father-in-law of the Aide-De-Camp to President Muhammadu Buhari, has told how they negotiated for $30million ransom with the family of the royal father before they were arrested by the police.
Abdullahi Mohammed, 26, and an indigene of Kano State, also told how they treated the monarch with respect while they awaited the payment in foreign currency.
He said they decided that the ransom be paid in dollars for easy movement and less suspicion, and that he perfected the kidnap plan with the help of some indigenes of Daura with the hope of making huge money since the monarch has wealthy children.
The suspect who was paraded by the police alongside 12 members of his gang and 27, other suspected criminals in Abuja, said they were able to keep the district head for over two months through the help of two members of the gang who received weapon training in Libya for about two years.
He said that with the help of the two experts who received special training on how to operate, fire, dismantling and couple an AK 47 rifle as well as lay ambush and disarm security agents holding the AK 47 rifles, they were able to keep the monarch for good 60 days.
They also said that five out of the 13 members of the gang that participated in the kidnap of the traditional rulers were from Daura, in Kastina State while two were from Kano State, where they eventually took their victim to.
Parading the suspects before newsmen in Abuja, Force Public Relations Officer Frank Mba, said the suspects who were arrested by men of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Special Tactical Squad (STS), for kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of weapons were found to be in possession of nine AK-47 rifles, six assorted weapons, 383 rounds of live ammunition, bomb-making materials, laptops, mobile phones amongst other dangerous items at the time of their arrest.
Mba, while noting that the kidnappers succeeded in their operations with the cooperation of some villagers, called for the need to carry out a proper screening of domestic staffs before employing them.
He said some of the suspects were foreigners from Niger Republic and that the crime was perfected with the help of local criminals and local collaborators.
He also said five out of the 13 suspects were from Daura, in Katsina State and two from Kano State where the monarch was rescued from.
In an interview with journalists shortly after the parade, the mastermind said: “My name is Yusuf Dahiru.
“We kidnapped the Magaji Daura because we wanted to make money from him since he has very rich children.
“What we demanded from the family as ransom was $30milion, and we had not made any profit yet before we were caught by the police.
“The truth is that I do not know why they targeted the Magaji Daura; all I know is that my boss brought the job for me to do and I recruited some of my boys and we went to Daura and executed the job. We have our master who directs us on what to do and I am a professional kidnapper.
We were four in number that went for the operation and through the help of one of our member, Babawali, who is an indigene of Daura, it was very easy for us to carry out the operation because he knows the town and knows the movements of everybody.”
On how they treated the traditional ruler while in their custody, he said: “We treated him very well because we knew his status. He was specifically handed over to me so I made sure he received royal treatment for the 60 days that he spent with us. We never beat him; we did not treat him badly at all. I took very good care of him and gave him everything that he needed.”
On his part, another gang member, Sarfilu Abdu, who was said to have given the order for the kidnap, told newsmen that he participated in the act after he was told that the kidnap was to force the security agencies to release some of their members in their custody. He said he never knew that it was for making money otherwise, he would not have participated.
According to him, “three months ago, I was contacted by some members of my group that they wanted me to lead them to Daura, to kidnap the Magaji Daura. What they told me was that they were kidnapping him for an exchange of their members who were in detention so I agreed and led the operation.
“But I was surprised because after the kidnapping, they began to demand ransom.”
Also speaking, another member of the gang who said he specialises in supplying weapons for the group, and the chief negotiator for the ransom said: “I was told to ask for $30million, by one Abdullahi Mohamed, also a member of our group. I was also the one that did the video of the kidnap.
“We were not given any money before we were arrested.”
On his part, another member of the gang who also happens to be the youngest, at 19, said he had been in the business of providing Information Communication Technology for kidnappers who usually contact him. He said, he, alongside his colleague had done several videos for kidnappers before he was arrested.
Another suspect, Abdullahi Mohammed, from Kano State, said: “I got into the kidnap through one Suleiman and I had participated in two kidnap operations where we kidnapped some expatriates before my friend, Bilal, introduced me to the operation at Daura.
To become perfect in the act of kidnapping, he said he received training in Libya where he was taught some skills in how to assemble, dismantle, shoot and kill and how to disarm security agents.
According to him, “I am 19, years old and I have been in the kidnapping business for some time now and made money.
“We did the video and the negotiation for the group. Because I wanted to excel in the business, I went to Libya for training where I spent 18 months. I was trained in how to operate the AK47 riffle, they taught me how to fire and how to dismantle and couple the AK 47; they also trained me in how to disarm security agents who are holding AK 47 riffles and on how to lay ambush.
“These are the trainings we received in Libya. Among the 13 of us that were arrested, two of us went for the training, Ibrahim and I. We were sent there on sponsorship.”