We trekked for 9 hours through bush – NFF ex-Secretary-General recounts ordeal with captors

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We trekked for 9 hours through bush – NFF ex-Secretary-General recounts ordeal with captors

Story from Ahmad SAKA, Bauchi

A former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Ahmed Sani Toro, has narrated his ordeal in the hands of his kidnappers before he was released.

Alhaji Sani, in a chat with reporters who went to commiserate with him after his release at his GRA residence in Bauchi State on Wednesday, narrated how he and others that were also kidnapped trekked for about nine hours (8 pm to 4 am).

He said the kidnappers, who were 12 in number and heavily armed, stopped their vehicle at Anguwan Malam Musa in the Fada Karshe area of Kaduna State at about 8 pm.

READ ALSO: Police confirm abduction of former NFF secretary-general, Sani Toro, 2 others

“At that time, not more than 30 minutes after we left a security roadblock, we started hearing gunshots everywhere; they forced us to stop our car, forced us out of the vehicle and made us trek through an unknown destination into the forest, while pointing their guns at us. They had several AK- rifles with them in their hands.

“We trekked into the bush from that 8 pm to 4 am and when we got to where they were taking us, we crossed through a big and deep river whose level was above our chest.

“They neither gave us food nor water to drink. It was a terrible experience. They were young men in their 20s or 30s. We wanted to pray, but they prevented us from performing our prayers.”

Further narrating his ordeal, Alhaji Sani said, “They collected our phones, but they later gave me mine and asked me to provide a number to call, and that was when I gave Aminu Maigari’s number because we went to his son’s wedding.

When asked to describe what the kidnappers looked like, Toro said, “the kidnappers did not wear any mask, they left their faces open because they don’t fear anyone. They didn’t fear that they would be recognised; even if you recognise them, what would you do to them?”

Concerning if any ransom was paid for their release and how much?, Toro, a one-time Commissioner of Sports in Bauchi State, said he was oblivious of the details that led to the release and could not ascertain the amount that was paid as ransom.

He said he had forgiven the kidnappers and asked Nigerians to continue to pray for them.

“We need to pray for them (kidnappers) because they need prayers. It is a very serious and an unfortunate thing”, he said.

He expressed gratitude to Almighty Allah and Nigerians who prayed for their release.

Toro said that, but for the prayers of his family, friends and Nigerians especially people in Bauchi, they would have been killed by their abductors.

“I am grateful to the Almighty Allah for sparing our lives. I am also grateful to Nigerians for their prayers because many people kept praying for us. When I came back, many people, including prominent people kept coming here to greet me.

“I thank everyone for the love they showed my family and me throughout this trying period. I felt so much love.”

Alhaji Sani Toro in company with the former Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles, Garba Yila, and one of their friends, Alhaji Isa Jah, were kidnapped on Saturday, 18th June 2022 while returning to Bauchi from Abuja.

They had travelled to Abuja for the wedding of the son of a former President of the NFF, Alhaji Aminu Maigari when they were kidnapped close to Akwanga in Nasarawa State.

The kidnappers had contacted their host, Maigari and demanded a whopping sum of N150 million as ransom before releasing them.

The abductees were released on Tuesday, 21 June 2022 but details of how it happened were not stated by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, who confirmed their release.

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