Early Wednesday morning, The minority leader of the Taraba state House of Assembly, Bashir Mohammed, APC, Nguroje, was kidnapped in his home in Jalingo by yet to be identified gunmen. This new episode is one among the several kidnappings in the State which targeted government officials and politicians.
According to an aide to the lawyer turned lawmaker, the gunmen “invaded the house around 12am and he (Mohammed) called the police immediately on sensing danger but it took the police over an hour to arrive”.
“The gunmen, who shot sporadically, operated in the area for over an hour before taking him to custody at about 1am,” the aide added.
In just a space of three years, several top government officials were kidnapped and released after payment of heavy ransom mostly by the cash strapped state government. Among those with stories to tell are former Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Ishaku, Hassan Mijinyawa, then Commissioner and present Head of Service, Suzy Nathan, former Chairman, NLC Taraba, late Peter Gambo and even Chairman Nigerian Bar Association, Jalingo branch.
However, the episode that shook the State to its foundation was the kidnap and gruesome murder of Mohammed’s colleague in the House of Assembly, Hosea Ibi, PDP Takum 1, in spite of the reported payment of N30 million.’
The reason for the kidnap and killing of the lawmaker is still not clear even as Tarabans continued to lament on why he had to be killed even after ransom was paid. The only explanation that became commonplace was that it was politically motivated and that the motive of the kidnappers was to assassinate him but decided to make capital out of it. His corpse was found in the wild long after the ransom had been paid. Years after, some suspects were arrested and paraded for having a hand in the murder of the lawmaker.
Meanwhile, in addition to having some of the highest rates of kidnapping in Nigeria, a notorious kidnapper and arms dealer, Wadume, was arrested in Ibi Taraba state after a botched operation by the IGP intelligence response team in the area where a military team acting on a distressed call, pursued and gun down the operatives who had in their custody, Wadume. That event opened a can of worms and the deep conspiracy between the criminals and security agents. The case is still pending in court to ascertain his level of involvement in the crime and the alleged conspiracy with the military. The Wadume case only rivals the much celebrated Evans case in Nigeria.
With this new episode, family members and concerned Tarabans are said to be apprehensive about what lies the fate of the kidnapped lawmaker, taking cognizance of the unfortunate episode that occured in 2017 to a fellow lawmaker.
A Jalingo based journalist who had been following events but who pleaded anonimity, described the mood of the state at the moment.
“Well, you know as usual people are going about with their normal lives but it’s just that his family and friends are still in a bad mood, waiting for the abductors to make their demands. So also, so many people especially those sitting in joints are describing the incident as unfortunate and many people are still in a shocking mood looking at the level of insecurity in the state as worrisome; that even in the state capital one is no more safe from such devils”.
He also revealed that there are feelers that the governor, Darius Ishaku is putting efforts to ensure the lawmaker is released.
Effort to reach, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Taraba state command of the Nigeria Police, David Misal, to speak on the latest situation, failed as he did not pick a call put through to him.