By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN – A family member of the late Speaker of Edo State, Hon Zakawanu Garuba whose wife Hassana Garuba was kidnapped alongside her driver while conveying the remains of her late husband told Vanguard on Monday that he was beaten mercilessly by her abductors when he went to deliver the ransom to free their daughter-in-law.
The family member who does not want his name mentioned said the abductors said he provoked them when he raised his voice while he was trying to locate them to pay the ransom.
He said: “It was a terrible experience after going through the trauma of bringing the late Speaker home from Abuja. They were ahead of us then later I got calls from people at home that they saw the late Speaker’s mum along Okenne road near a police post.
They collected jewelleries and all the money they had from her and the mother of the late Speaker’s wife because they were old people and then went away with Hajia and her driver Ahmed.
“Immediately I located them, they started beating me, they said when I got to one village while trying to locate them, I shouted at them on the phone. They were beating me, slapping, hitting me with the flat side of their cutlasses.
“While they were beating me, I asked them if you kill me and take this money and I did not see the people that I brought the money to free, how will they feel because I had to now engage them. So at the end of the day, they left me and collected the money and the food that I brought and they said I should wait that Hajia is inside the bush.
“They have an insider in Okpella, we entered inside the bush before we now had to drop the vehicle we entered, they told to buy them food, they said I should get them fufu like six wraps and whatever soup and that I should buy them suya of N6,000, I should buy them malt and water so I bought.
“Seven persons came to collect the ransom from me. One of them speaking with me was speaking pidgin English. At end of the day, they said I should go farther inside the bush and there we saw Hajia and I quickly carried her and traced our way back to the road.
“It was a matter of life and death because nobody wanted to take that risk, everybody was scared. I took the risk because I know what the former Speaker has done for us including me I said if staking my life to save his wife is the only I can do to appreciate him, I was ready to do it that was what emboldened me.”
When asked why the family did not engage security agents, he said: “They warned me that if I come with any security agency, they will kill them including madam and her driver so that sacred us a lot.
“We were now afraid for our sister because the woman has suffered a lot you cannot imagine a woman who lost her husband is passing through all these experience. That is why we decided that however, we can rescue her, we must do it.
“They told me that they have taken over the whole of that forest and nobody farms there again that they have taken over that bush to Okenne down to Ajaokuta, they said they own that bush, they said three days after they will still come back to the road.”