Kidnappers of a famous Islamic scholar and prominent reciter of Holy Quran, Mr Ahmad Sulaiman, have demanded a ransom of N300 million before his release.
The abducted cleric, a prayer-warrior and fanatical supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, had offered prayers for the re-election bid of the president at some political rallies organised by All Progressives Congress (APC), in the build to 2019 general elections.
The Islamic scholar was returning to his base in Kano, after attending a religious function in Kebbi State when he was abducted.
In an audio clip, the kidnappers are demanding N300 million as ransom, before releasing the cleric.
The supposed ringleader of the gang spoke in Hausa with a close associate of the kidnapped Quran reciter, saying they were mandated by an influential politician to abduct and kill Sulaiman, who their sponsor allegedly claimed is a terrorist.
“However, after taking a close observation, we noticed that our victim has no semblance to a terrorist. We discovered that he is rather a God-fearing Muslim and very knowledgeable preacher. We also interrogated him, and he told us everything about himself,” the kidnapper told the reciter’s sympathizer, in the nine-minute telephone chat.
When asked by his caller what they should offer for the speedy release of the notable Islamic teacher, the Hausa-speaking gang leader with Fulani accent, said they were never interested in carrying out the murderous assignment, in the first place.
“But it will be unfair that we fritter the three hundred million naira the politician gave us without executing his work,” he said, adding that, “So, we are intending to give him back his money since we may not be able to do his bidding. And again, we will also express our displeasure to him for wrongly accusing the Sheikh to be an insurgent, when in reality, he wasn’t.
“But in the meantime, you (his people) should first raise the three hundred million we will return back to the politician. And then, you will also give us money for fueling the vehicle we used to convey him to Kebbi.
“But if you people cannot raise the money we demand, we will not hesitate to eliminate Mallam, and collect the additional sum the politician promised us if we should kill him.”
Katsina is becoming a den for kidnappers as there is hardly a day without reported case(s) of kidnapping in the state.
Kidnapping cases have been reported in most local government areas of Katsina State especially in Jibia, Dandume, Faskari, Sabuwa, Danmusa, Safana, Kankara, Batsari, Dutsinma, Kurfi, Funtua and Katsina metropolis.
While many of the abductions were not reported for undisclosed reasons, the recent reported kidnapping cases included that of a group of Islamic caregivers of about 20 members of First Aid Group who were abducted in Jibia and that of an 80-year-old Mother-in-Law to Governor Aminu Masari who was abducted at her Dandume Crescent, Sabon Gari area of Katsina metropolis.
Early in the year, Mr Masari blamed the continued kidnapping and other heinous crime on informants who support the bandits saying Katsina State is under kidnappers’ siege.
He said the daily security reports reaching him indicate that no day passes without a reported case of kidnapping, armed robbery and cattle rustling.
According to him, “Kidnappings, cattle rustling and armed robbery are now the order of the day in Katsina. Informants have made it difficult for security agencies in the state to operate effectively.”