Publish date: 2022-06-20 00:24:07 | Author: Armstrong Bakam | Source: punchng.com
A former Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Sani Toro; a former Assistant Coach of the Nigeria Super Eagles, Garba Yila; and one of their friends, Alhaji Isa Jah, have been abducted by gunmen.
Our correspondent gathered that they were kidnapped around a village in Nasarawa State.
They were said to have been on their way back to Bauchi from Abuja where they attended the wedding of the son of a former NFF President, Aminu Maigari, on Saturday.
They were said to have left Abuja around 5pm and were kidnapped around 7.30pm.
A family source, who confirmed the incident to PUNCH Metro in a telephone interview on Sunday, said the kidnappers had demanded N150m as ransom.
The source said the hoodlums spoke to their host, Maigari.
“Yes, it is true that he (Isa Toro) was driving with two of his friends when they were kidnapped yesterday (Saturday). The kidnappers are demanding a ransom of N50m for each of them,” the source said.
A family friend and neighbour of Toro, Mallam Ardo Hazzad, also confirmed the incident to our correspondent.
He said, “One of them, the former Super Eagles Assistant Coach, Garba Yila, is not in a good condition, health wise.
“It is unfortunate and pathetic for the incident to have happened after they went for the wedding of one of our friends. And if I was aware of the wedding, I would have been with them because I would have travelled with them to the wedding in Abuja.”
The Bauchi State Police Public Relations Officer, Ahmed Wakili, who confirmed the abduction, said he could not give details of the incident as it happened outside his state.
Wakil, a Superintendent of Police, said, “Yes, the news is true. I got across to one of his sons who told me he was kidnapped around Akwanga road in Nasarawa while returning from Abuja.”
A former Deputy National President of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Umar Sai’du, described the incident as sad and disturbing, saying it would send panic to sports administrators, as well as the sportsmen and women.
Sa’idu, who is the current Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Bauchi State, said the rising insecurity in the country was worrisome.
He said, “Consider the 20 premier league clubs we have in the country; how many of them can afford to travel by air? Some of them used to travel throughout the night and that means they are not safe. It will send a wrong signal to our sports sector that nobody is safe, especially the sports administrators.
“It will discourage sportsmen and women because they will refuse travelling to some parts of the country because of the fear of being kidnapped or killed.”
The Special Adviser to the Bauchi State Governor on Security, Brig. Gen. Marcus Yake (retd), described the incident as sad and unfortunate.
He said, “I don’t think that they were really targeted because of who they are. I think it was just random kidnapping. I was personally not happy that they followed that road because it is a dangerous road and it was at night. There are a lot of bushes and they are known for criminal activities.
“There have been kidnappings, banditry and criminal activities especially at night because even people who travel through that road in the daytime are not totally safe, let alone at night.”
Kidnapping is on the rise in the country, with clerics and traditional rulers also falling victims.
Among recent victims are the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Samuel Kanu-Uche; the Anglican Bishop of Jebba Diocese, Kwara State, Rt. Rev. Oluwaseun Aderogba; and a Plateau State traditional ruler, Ugoh Ababs, among others.
Experts have advised increased community policing and use of technological tools as obtainable in advanced countries in addressing the problem.