By Ifeanyi Okolie
When relatives of a 21-year-old motorcycle operator, Mohammed Baba, who plies the Bida- Minna routes in Niger State, received a call from a supposed policeman, on October 11, 2018, informing them that their ward, who had been missing for 24 hours, had been arrested, for hitting a police van with his motorbike and he was being held at the A Police Division Bida, they didn’t know they were in for something more sinister.
On arriving the police station, they were accosted by one Isah Hassan, who identified himself as the policeman handling the case and demanded that Baba’s relatives should handover the original copies of his motorcycle documents to him to verify if Baba’s motorcycle wasn’t stolen.
His relatives however insisted on seeing Baba before handing over his motorcycle documents to the policeman. After several persuasions failed, Hassan asked Baba’s relatives to come back the next day as his boss, who had the key to the cell where Baba was detained wasn’t around. They agreed and when they returned the next day and called Hassan, he told them that he had been redeployed to Lagos State, after which, his phone line went dead and became unreachable.
Baba’s relatives were thrown into deep confusion, when they realised that Hassan wasn’t a policeman as he claimed and Niger state police command also confirmed that none of its men arrested a motorcyclist known as Mohammed Baba. They visited other police commands outside Niger state but it turned out that none had records of Baba being arrested.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that, in January 2019, Baba’s relatives wrote a petition to the new Inspector General of Police, Moahmmed Adamu who directed his operatives at the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, to investigate and unravel the mystery surrounding Baba’s disappearance.
Sources disclosed that the team of operatives that was detailed to carry out the investigation trailed and arrested the owner of the phone number which Hassan had used in communicating with Baba’s relatives and it turned out that the owner of the phone was also a victim of Hassan’s atrocity. The victim who narrated how Hassan robbed him of his phone and motorbike also provided information which aided the operatives in apprehending Hassan in Bida area of Niger State.
Upon his arrest, Hassan initially denied knowing Baba or having any knowledge about his disappearance. But when he was confronted with facts indicating that he was in constant communication with Baba before his disappearance, he confessed killing Baba and burying him in a bush before stealing his mobile phone and his motorcycle. The source added that Hassan then took the operatives to the shallow grave where be buried Baba’s remains.
When Saturday Vanguard interviewed, Isa Hassan, who is a native of Goga village in Bida Town, Niger State, he confessed that his inability to pay up his debts forced him to go into crime. The 33-year-old man, who is married with two children, explained that he was a truck driver working with a haulage company based in Minna Niger State, earning N18000 monthly, but ran into debts when he sold a motorcycle he got from its owner on installmental payment in Lagos when one of his children fell ill.
In his confession, Hassan, said; “I was a driver working for a haulage company that transported goods from Niger to Lagos State. I earned N18,000 monthly, but sometime last year I had a little problem at my place of work and I was jobless and relocated to Bida town. Things then became very difficult for me. One day I called a commercial motorcyclist and asked him to take me to Chachar Road in Bida. Before then, I had cut some cartons into the shape of money, placed a N1000 on it and I wrapped it with a nylon bag, making it look like a bunch of money.
I made him to pick me up in front of a bank as if I just withdrew money from the bank. On getting to a spot on that road, I acted as if I was making a call to someone and receiving direction from him. Then I asked the motorcycle operator to give me his bike and his mobile phone and he did while I handed him the bag containing the money to keep for me.
I then zoomed off with his bike and took it to Gbugbu Market in Kawara State where I sold it for N80,0000. When I became broke again, I met another motorcyclist, Mohammed Baba and asked him to take me to Lafiagi Road. On our way, I asked him to stop at a junction close to Airport Road and I pretended as if I was urinating. Then, I picked up a stone, hid it inside my clothes and when we got to a spot where there were no houses and the road was bad, I hit him on the head with the stone. He slumped from the bike and started convulsing on the ground and screaming painfully.
Then I took his motorcycle and hid it in an uncompleted building nearby. Thereafter, I climbed a tree and watched him struggling on the ground for one hour before he died. When I was sure he was dead, I went to a nearby farm, where I dug a grave and buried him before leaving with his bike and his phone. Later that night, Baba’s phone started ringing and when I picked, a woman asked where he was and why he was not yet at home since it was already time for him to close. I first pretended as if he was the one on the line but later opened up to them and said he had been arrested by the police. Baba’s bike was still very new and I needed his original documents if I wanted to sell it for a good price.
Then I asked his family members to bring along his bike documents to A division with N2,000 if they wanted to secure his bail. When they came the next day, I asked them to hand over the documents to me but they refused and insisted they must see him first. I tried all I could to see that they handed over the documents to me but it was impossible, then I asked them to come back the next day that my boss had taken Baba to B Division for more investigation.
They agreed and left, I then ran to Lagos and when they called me, I told them that I was no longer handling the case that they should look for my boss. Then I switched off my phone. On getting to Lagos, I bought a fake motorbike document and brought it to Bida which I used in selling Baba’s bike for N170,000.