Recently, Andy Bature, a musician and Senior Special Assistant on Drugs to a former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, learnt two things; one is that three days could seem like three years when living conditions are hellish and the other is never to ignore his gut feeling. While going to Jos, Plateau State from a seminar in Kaduna State on a Thursday evening in late May 2019, Bature and three friends he was with, were kidnapped by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Till now, Bature has found it difficult to believe that he only spent three days in the kidnappers’ den.
“They were on drugs. They are herdsmen, they told us themselves. One of them said he had never entered a car before, he said he could trek from Maiduguri to Port Harcourt with bare feet. They spoke among themselves in Fulfulde but if they wanted to talk to us, they did that in Hausa. They never prayed, even once; there was nothing Muslim about them,” Bature added.
Bature had embarked on the journey in the same car with Sani Muazu; Muazu’s brother, Salisu; and Danlami Adamu, popularly called ‘Yanke Yanke’. Interestingly, he had been reluctant to attend the seminar, which was on his birthday. One, Bature wanted nothing more than to spend his special day with his wife and children. Two, his wife had baked him a beautiful birthday cake, whose pull had almost made him stay at home. By the time he realised he should have listened to his instincts and stay home to enjoy his family’s company and his well-decorated cake, it was already too late.
“After breaking their fast, we took off at about 8pm and passed a checkpoint at a place called Jingre. It wasn’t up to 10km from there, we got to another checkpoint and one of those manning it wore a mobile police uniform and was with AK-47. They flashed their torch lights at us, to tell us to stop and we started contemplating whether to stop or not. Immediately, they started shooting in the air.
“When they got to us, they asked us to lie down on the ground and started hitting us with their sticks. One of us, Sani Muazu, is hypertensive and diabetic, so we started pleading with them to release him. Thank God, they released him and sent him away, with the promise that he would bail us out,” he said.
“We were about to leave when their boss said: ‘Yanke Yanke, you made me laugh, if you’ll wait for us to kidnap another set of people, I will give you N1m from the ransom they will pay because you made me laugh.’ We all said no and laughed over it. Then we thanked them. They told the man that was sympathetic towards me to show us the way out, and while we were going, he was really remorseful. He asked me to forgive him, and said he had never been as sympathetic towards any man since he started like the way he was towards me.
“He said they took everything he owned from him. He said he was a normal Fulani man with just a stick to rear his cattle but that most of his cattle were rustled while some of them were killed. He said in return, they gave him a gun so that he would do this business and then share the profit. That particular guy was very remorseful because he asked me to be praying for him. He told me that after our kidnap incident, he would stop kidnapping people.”