25th January, 2022
By Mustapha Yauri/News Agency of Nigeria
A Zaria-based businesswoman, Hajiya Binta Mohammed, told Kaduna State High Court I, Dogarawa, Zaria, that her cousin, Abubakar Haliru, masterminded her kidnap.
Abubakar Haliru was arraigned before the High Court on Jan. 11 over alleged kidnapping contrary to the provisions of Section 246 of Penal Code Laws of Kaduna State.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the Prosecution Counsel, Mrs. Jummai Dan-Azumi, said the prosecution had four witnesses to call, while the defense counsel, Isa Shuaibu, also affirmed that he was ready.
While testifying as a prosecution witness, the victim, Hajiya Binta Mohammed, said she lives in GRA Zaria and engaged in business, and the Defendant (Abubakar Haliru) is her cousin.
Mohammed said she called the defendant on Aug. 8, 2021, and asked for some money for her tricycle business with him where he did not respond to the call until Aug. 10, 2021.
She said on Aug. 10, 2021, the defendant called her and requested her to accompany him to Dan Magaji, Zaria, to see one Alhaji Salisu in respect of the money for her tricycle business.
The complainant said she initially declined to go and she told the defendant that she did not know anybody in that business apart from him.
She added that the defendant insisted that she should follow him to Dan Magaji because the said Alhaji Salisu would not give the money if he did not see her, “I, therefore, obliged him based on the trust I had in him,” she said.
“ I left my shop at MTD Junction, Sabon Gari, Zaria, and met the defendant at Prestige fueling station where he drove my car to the place at about 4.30 pm.
“When we got to Dan Magaji, the defendant refused to stop and took Galadimawa road, when I asked him why he did not stop at Dan Magaji, he replied that the said Alhaji Salisu has gone home and sent him a text message for us to meet him there.
“While we were along DanMagaji to Galadimawa road, he (the defendant) called some people and told them that we are coming in the next 20 minutes,’’ she said.
Mohammed said that she complained to the defendant that the 20 minutes drive away from Dan-Magaji would be dangerous, but the defendant shunned the discussion.
She said while on the Galadimawa Road, the defendant diverted to a side road, where they saw two men holding rifles and sighted another group of five people at a distance.
Mohammed explained: “I suddenly asked the defendant to reverse to avoid them, but he was adamant and parked the car in front of the two people holding the rifle.
“The two kidnappers asked us to come out, they collected my phone, bag, ATM Cards, Voters card, Keys, money and other valuables in my bag, but the kidnappers did not do same to the defendant,’’ she said.
Mohammed said the kidnappers directed one of them to take her to tsauni (their camp).
“I then begged them to join me with my brother and pleaded with them not to do anything to my brother.
“As a result of the request, they shouted at me, slapped me several times, and beat me with a stick.
“Subsequently, they took me to a hut where one of them was assigned to guard me,’’ she said.
She said the kidnappers demanded N100 million ransom but she later ran away from the kidnappers in the night and ran into another gang of kidnappers who demanded N300 million.
Mohammed said she spent eight weeks with the second gang of kidnappers and they collected N5.5 million, N70,000 recharge cards, and two mobile phones before she regained her freedom.
Meanwhile, the witness said she gave the defendant N3.098 million for the business of tricycle, of the N3.098 million, N2.75 million was for the purchase of three new tricycles.
She added that the N250,000 was for the purchase of an old tricycle while the N98,000 was for the repairs of one of the tricycles.
She explained that she later lodged a complaint before the police against the defendant and told the police that he did not buy the tricycles as earlier agreed.
The Defense Counsel, Isah Shuaibu, however, applied for an adjournment to enable him to cross-examine the witness.
The presiding judge, Justice Kabir Dabo, adjourned the matter until Jan. 25, for a continuation of the hearing.