6 Days And A Night In The Hand Of Kidnappers: My Encounter V — Buhari A. Sa'ee
The breakfast is done and I was eager to be served and finish eating. Let my name be called. Let someone tell me to get ready. At this moment, me and Rev. Father have since began talking to become friends on different social media platforms. He told me the name he's using on Facebook which I promised to search, send my request and inbox him my digits as soon as possible. We began orchestrating how it's going to be while we are out. If it's dark, he's going to give me a place to sleep and leave early in the morning. Rev. Father was one of the best people I've seen in my life. He had his MSc in Philosophy. We talked deeply and shared a lot with father.
We are done eating and waiting for the next move. Nobody talk to us about leaving. In fact they were preparing to go to somewhere which we later learned that it was Sergio's rescuer that arrived. So they're going there to collect the money. They off the entire phones. You neither call nor be called. It is afternoon and some of them left, as usual leaving us with fewer guards.
"We'd rear our cow which could be sold at N200k but because you live in the cities, you'd price it at N80k. Or perhaps while eating Suya, you'd say the pepper isn't enough. You'd hear for your body. You think this is difficult to bear? Let me tell you, rearing cattles is more tougher than this. Welcome to our school. We teach differently". These were the words of one of their key lieutenants.
Me and Father had since accepted the fact that we weren't leaving that day. We just prayed and hoped that there's a wisdom behind it. It was around 4pm that the weather changed, signifying the possibility of having a rainfall. We were so scared because there's no way one could run to avoid been beaten by the rain. What could we do? Nothing! Absolutely, nothing. Would one ask how comes he's still there? Absolutely, no.
Few minutes later the rain starts. It's becoming heavy. Where should one go? Nowhere! In just few minutes, it's raining. I mean a heavy rainfall. We just had to ask them to let us remove our clothes and put it in a nylon bag, leaving only boxers and singlets and they accepted. We were completely beaten by the heavy rain. When the rain stopped, we begged them to let us get some firewood, light it up and dry up our body. At this point, some of them sympathized with our situation and after getting the firewood, we got help from one of them and light up the firewood.
After we dried up our body, we brought out our clothes and wore them back. Those who left to collect the money for Sergio are now back and told him that his man was here. This, it made us three in number (Me, Father and Sergio) who were to some extent cleared and could be called any moment. That's my thought though! It didn't happen. There were many thoughts in my mind, mostly scary. Shock. Unusual. But wait, were Hussaini and Kabiru really taken to their people? Surely, our people have been calling especially those who were so sure that they delivered the money peacefully. What would they think now? Are these people going to let us go? I mean, do they really release people?
It is night and we all prepared to sleep. The weather isn't still favorable. Yes, it's too cold, so we rather let the firewood continue burning while we manage to sleep. We put our heads close to the fire. Father whispered this in my ear that it isn't going to happen today but maybe tomorrow. I told him that even the said tomorrow, I doubt if it will. I said goodnight father with a low tone because the mind was full of fear of uncertainty. After an hour, the former Oga that left two days ago came back and most of us were sleeping. He asked them to wake us all up where he queried us one after the other, starting from Father, then me and others. It's all about what you and your people were able to do in terms of ransom. It was positive for me, Father and Sergio while negative for Mike, Ibrahim and Aliyu. He further told them that it'd soon be the end of what they're all doing.
He's all done and the weather suddenly changed again. It's like we are experiencing another rain the second time. Couldn't remember, it was either Mike or Father that said rain is coming while Sergio excalimed, rain again! We bursted into little laugh and surely it rained again. That's how we slept. There was a fire somewhere close to your head while rain beating the rest of your body. What an experience!
In the mid night, Mike woke me up that I was trying to put my body into the fire. For that whole day, nobody use a phone to call or be called.
(Wednesday 10th April, 2019)
It is morning. We woke up and before I know it my name was called that there's someone on the phone who wants to talk to me. When the phone was handed over to me, it was my brother. He's been seriously shocked and complaining. Buhari we couldn't sleep yesterday. No one could. We all thought you were killed when we couldn't get the phone. I'd to calm him down and at the same time make meaning out of what I was going to say to him and the kidnappers. As usual, the phone was on speaker. So I told him the kidnappers doesn't normally release people unless they're sure that the road is safe. He said okay but when are they going to release you?. On hearing this, one of the kidnappers said I should tell my brother that they're releasing me today at 5pm and I told him. He said, thank you.
Me, Sergio and Rev. Father, we were all told that we'd be released today by exactly 5pm. Ibrahim, Aliyu and Mike were to remain there until further notice. They seriously pleaded to please have more time and chance to talk to their families on phone. It went smoothly for Ibrahim and Mike but for Aliyu, the situation kept deteriorating. It's heart touching. More pathetic than ever. This is someone whose rescuer had the best negotiation with the kidnappers but this is what's happening. I couldn't just understand this. No one could!
On this day, we had a very fruitful conversation with their leader although even at that, he won't mind beating you. It was a question and answer session. He ask you whatever question he wants and you must answer it according to what he expected. Sometimes, what you say is true but the next time, you'd to lie. You'd no option.
It is noon already. We ate. From that time to around 5pm, Sergio asked me what's the time at least 20 times. Because I was asked to go with him. As a guide. He barely know anywhere. It was exactly around 5pm, Sergio asked again and this time around I said I don't know, he should instead ask them which he did. But instead, they said it is 2pm. Sergio excalimed 2pm! And they said yes. Buhari, Sergio called my name, I've told you earlier that these people aren't going to release us. I don't believe these people. I said, Sergio please don't worry, all will be set. He said, okay I hope so. Sergio couldn't let a second pass without asking me what's the time. I became so tired with his incessant questions and I'd to ignore him because I just couldn't think anymore.
Mr. Sergio, I know you will read this, please bear with me as I wasn't actually thinking aright. It wasn't me. Ignoring you wasn't deliberate. I was shocked more than you'd ever imagined. Afraid more than you'd ever been. I couldn't think of adding a day in that forest. When you said they aren't going to release us, I was scared. I thought they'd kill us just like I thought they'd killed Hussaini and Kabiru. So, I am sorry and I hope you will understand this.
At around 6pm, we heard a gunshot which was responded by one of the kidnappers close to us. That's how they oftentimes communicate. So, immediately, he said you (Me), Sergio and Rev. Father stand up. We are leaving. What a moment!. I couldn't believe it. At this point, Aliyu was deep into serious tears. He was crying. Nonstop!
Me and Sergio were asked to follow two kidnappers. Our way was different. Rev. Father was asked to follow another. His way was also different. At this point, my brother called and the phone was handed over to me. Happily with some sort of voice, I told my brother, you called at the right time because they're taking us out right now. We are on our way. He said Alhamdulillah. We bade Mike, Ibrahim, Reverend and Aliyu farewell. May we meet again. We asked Aliyu to please calm down. All will be fine. You'd go home, alive and unhurt.
Me and Sergio thought we'd be taken to the main road and were seriously following them. One was at the back while the other at the front. We walked for at least 2 good Kilometers and Sergio couldn't endure it anymore. But the same Sergio bitterly complained why he wasn't taken out yesterday since the money was delivered and he was told that the place is too far and there's no motorcycle to take him out. Sergio bragged that he's feeling better and could use his own legs. So at this time, we heard a sound indicating that the motorcycle was coming. Deep sigh!
Four of us climbed the motorcycle. The driver with his own gun and the last person too while me and Sergio were in the middle. Even on the motorcycle, Sergio couldn't endure it. My back! My back!! My back!!! Because we had a little accident and I thought I broke my leg but that isn't the problem. After like 2hrs journey, another motorcycle came and were separated and the journey continued. They suddenly stopped and I was shocked. What's happening? Why would they stop in this forest again? Is this where they kill people?
That's where they are dumping us. They showed us a very narrow road and said follow this road, when you walk, you'd see the person that will take you home. My thought was like, what? I mean in this forest? But I was still more comfortable because they're leaving us there. I don't mind sleeping somewhere and leave early in the morning. So they ran back immediately.
Consider not Sergio but even me I don't know where we were. We were just walking. Crossing one farm after another. Sergio was almost down. He's tired and exhausted completely. He's been calling my name. I just had to tell him that we are almost there. He'd to lean on my shoulder to get a bit comfortable. Please, Sergio endure a bit. You've done great because we are almost there. Didn't you see the car lights? Of course one could sight something like a car light but will trek for a long distance before you reach where the light is. Maybe Kilometers, I don't know.
After trekking for an hour, we saw a car coming. We yelled, called and shout until our voice completely go down and couldn't utter anything, anymore yet the driver couldn't hear us. He was already into the forest. A long distance where we came out from.
We reached to a place where I sensed like it's a river but couldn't see clearly because it was too dark. I was sure it is a river. So I thought the best thing was to get a place and rest because one cannot see where the river begin. I was tired and exhausted too but still I told Sergio to let me go and call the driver which he said no. He won't let me go and leave him there. I had to accept that. I told him if we were lucky the driver will come back because it looked like it's only one way. We remained there resting on the ground.
Astoundingly, the car light is back! It was turning to our direction. We quickly stood up, standing by the roadside. When the driver turned around, we stood in the middle of the road and were waving our hands so that he could see us and he did. On seeing this, Sergio hugged me tightly, with a tears of joy, thank you Buhari, we did. I said yes Sergio, we did it. The man was there to take Sergio and he quickly asked us to enter into the car. Sergio was in the front and I was in the back seat. The man asked my name and my profile entirely which I did told him everything. I asked him to please drop me at any of the nearby villages so I could leave early in the morning but he refused. He said that it isn't safe and that we are heading straight to Abuja. I said what!
I'd to accept it. But I think I should make a call. I said to the man. He gave me his phone which I noticed it was few minutes to 11pm. I dialed the number; it was my mother. I couldn't call her while I was with the kidnappers. So I called. She was about to sleep. Here's our conversation:
Salaam Hajia and she responded. I greeted her and asked how she's feeling. She said Alhamdulillah. I said Hajia, I heard that you aren't feeling too well. She said Alhamdulillah. She still wanted to ask who's on the phone but she didn't. So I instead asked, Hajia, do you know who's on the phone? She said No. Hajia it's me Buhari. She repeated the name, Buhari as if she didn't believe me. I said yes Hajia, it's me. She started to cry and I said Hajia, it's Okay, I'm fine. They released us this night and it isn't safe to come back today but will definitely come back in the morning. She said, see you tomorrow morning in a tone full of doubts which she later told me that she didn't believe I was released. I said goodnight Hajia and she said night. I cut the call.
Sergio held my hand while I was in the back seat. When I wanted to sleep, Sergio would shake my hand and ask Buhari are you sleeping? I'd say no Sergio, I'm just resting. We made it to Abuja at around 2am. The man made a call. It was Sergio's relatives. They came and met us at a fueling station. When they see Sergio, they were in tears. They couldn't understand the situation. They took Sergio in one of the cars and I was taken to one of the nicest hotels in Abuja. We are at the hotel at around 3am. I took my bath, eat and sleep. I woke up early in the morning and wanted to leave but had to wait for some serious issues. At around 10am, I was on my way to Kaduna where my family were waiting to take me home.
On Ibrahim, Mike and Aliyu. Recently, Ibrahim paid me a visit and narrated how it ended with them. They were released 3 days after us (Me, Sergio and Father). They had to trek from morning to 3pm. Everyone find his own way. He gave me Mike's number and I called. Mike is doing good. Aliyu is home, at Minna and he's good too.
To the kidnappers, you asked us to rather pray for you, pray for your redemption instead of cursing you which I promised to and that's what I've been doing. May you find a better legal occupation. May you be guided rightly. May you be forgiven. Ameen!
Family, friends and well-wishers, thank you all for your prayers. May you be rewarded abundantly.
To all those that read my encounter, thank you