By AbdulSalam Muhammad
KANOâ€”In shah Allah, (by God’s grace), this will be the last time I will embark on night journey as long as I live.â€™ These were the last words of the late Second Republic governor of Kano State,Â Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, after an encounter with bandits on Sunday night at Darki and Gadar Janna, 50 kilometres to Kano city.
Alhaji Haruna Abdullahi, Rimiâ€™s driver for decades, drove the SUV car that conveyed the late Rimi to Dass in Bauchi State last Friday where he attended the presentation of staff of office to the Emir of Dass, Alhaji Usman Othman, gave a vivid account of how it all happened.
â€œWe left Kano on Friday for Dass, Bauchi State,Â 400 kilometres from Kano. We arrived safely and rested before the coronation of the emir. Rimi, as usual, exchanged pleasantries with friends. He was very cheerful. The following morning, Saturday, we attended the occasion and decided that we should return to Kano that Saturday in spite of the fact that the occasion ended late evening.
”Just as we are about to take-off, a very close friend of his, the Sarkin Nasarawa, Dr. Hassan Ahmed, advised that we should suspend the journey since it was getting late. But Alhaji insisted that we make the journey. We took offÂ about 6.30 p.m. and had a stop-over in Bauchi where Rimi, myself, his younger brother, Alhaji Sule Saâ€™a and his orderly, Sani Garba, had our Ishaâ€™i (late night prayers).
”We left Bauchi about 8.30p.m. and had a smooth journey until about 10 p.m. when we tried to negotiate Kwanar Garko after Jannah Bridge at Darki in the Wudil Local Government Area of Kano State. We saw a car right inside the bridge and two others packed by the side while their occupants were all lying on the ground taking instructions from over 10 men who we later discovered to be armed robbers carrying out an operation.
”As soon as we sighted them, Alhaji Rimi, who was on his mobile phone talking to his daughter who was on her way to London via Dubai, suddenly said â€˜Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihin rajiâ€™unâ€™ (whoever comes from Allah goes back to him).
”Before then he had spoke n with his son, Alhaji Karami.
The robbers ordered me out of the jeep and asked me to take them to the boot of the vehicle where they took all our possessions including all our handsets except that of the orderly who hid his under the seat.
”The robbers, having done with us, asked us to leave but not until the younger brother of the late politician was beaten. As we zoomed off, Rimi asked if anyone was hurt, his younger brother, Sule, showed him his injury on his neck.
”Rimi placed his hand on the injury and told him not to worry as Allah will not forgive the evil men. And retorted that â€˜In shah Allah this will be the last time I shall travel in the night as long as I remain alive.”
”Moment later, Rimi began to gasp and was having difficulty in breathing. There and then, he told us to hurry up and take him to Classic Hospital on Abbas Road. On reaching the hospital, a female expatriate medical doctor attended to him. But not satisfied, we rushed him to Malam Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. It was very unfortunate that we had to spend over 15 minutes outside the emergency ward because there was no stretcher to convey him inside the ward.
”Moment later, his brother, Alhaji Sule Saâ€™a, came out of the hospital and told us that maigida has passed on. It was exactly 11.30 p.m,” he said.