Activists react as pregnant woman remains in kidnappers custody

Sumayya Abubakar, the girl still in captivity by the bandits in Zamfara State. To be executed within 24 hours if demand is not met.
Sumayya Abubakar, the girl still in captivity by the bandits in Zamfara State. To be executed within 24 hours if demand is not met.

Sumayya Abubakar, a pregnant woman who was kidnapped in Zamfara State, is yet to be released.

Ms Abubakar’s father confirmed this to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday night.

He said her abductors called him several times, but he could not pick the calls.

Mr Abubakar said the reason he rejected their calls was that he did not know what to tell them and also did not want to hear any unfavourable update.

According to Ms Abubakar’s father, no government agency or group has said or done anything regarding the matter.

The abductors, on Tuesday morning, in a telephone conversation with Ms Abubakar’s father, gave a 48-hour ultimatum to execute her if their demand of N20 million in ransom was not met.

Perhaps, to show their resolve to carry out their threat, the kidnappers told Mr Yusuf they had killed 20-year-old Surajo Umar, a neighbour to Mr Yusuf, who is also in their custody.

Ms Abubakar and Mr Umar were abducted in October alongside four others, (including the twins) in Zurmi, a village in Dauran town in Zamfara State. The four others have been released after payment of ransom by their relatives, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how two of the victims, twin sisters, were released in November after payment of ransom to the kidnappers by the victims’ relatives.

The abductors threatened to kill them after the girls’ family said they could not raise the N15 million ransom the criminals demanded, but reports said the kidnappers later reduced the amount.

In an audio clip that went viral, one of the twins was heard pleading for help from both the government and the general public, saying some kidnapped victims, whose families could not pay the ransom to free them, were slaughtered in their presence.

Reactions

The national convener, Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria, Ibrahim Garba, in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, said politics has taken over the situation in the state.

“I think politics has taken over the situation in the state. My point is that, knowing what played out recently in the state, as regards the primary election, it was quite unfortunate that we know very well that the situation is very bad and yet the citizens are helpless. The few Nigerians expressing or showing concern on this issue, are also helpless.

“The minister of defence is from Zamfara State. We expect the minister of defence to really work hard and see the possibility of his people enjoying his area of assignment as one of the service chiefs, but unfortunately, that is not the case in Zamfara.

“It tells you that there is a lot of bad influence going on within the political cycle. They do not care. They have been taking advantage of the situation and that is very bad. On the side of the agencies, honestly speaking, it sends a wrong signal. Either the government knows why they are not talking or the government is out of ideas to tackle security in Zamfara and other states including the North-east.

“We are in a very terrible and sad moment. We, the members of civil society organizations, are calling on the rest of us to wake up and add their voices to this issue. We should understand that we cannot continue like this. Our silence is what is giving them the courage to continue with this manner of impunity, this manner of neglect.

“The constitution of Nigeria made it very clear that the primary responsibility of the government is to provide security and welfare to all citizens but what we are seeing today is the opposite. In my position as the convener of CATBAN, I am calling on all citizens to stand up and see what we can do. We need to save lives, especially lives of our young people who are poor victims of these circumstances in Zamfara.

“Sumayya should not be killed the same way Surajo was. No other citizen in captivity should be killed,” Mr Garba added.

Also, a human rights activist, Hamzat Lawal, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, said citizens should not only hold the federal government accountable, but also the governors of the states, because of the security votes allocated to them monthly.

“It is sad and a shame that the government has failed us, particularly at the state level.

“State (governors) collect what we call security votes and I think now is the time for the citizens to rise and hold them accountable on what they do with the security votes.

“If we are in a sane society, the state would have been declared a state of emergency. This shows that women are not protected in our society. We do not know what might have happened to her, we do not know if they have abused her.

“This is a call for action on our government and security agencies. We cannot fold our hands. This lady is a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by law, the government is meant to protect the life of her citizens.

Communities in Zamfara have suffered from random attacks by bandits in the past year. These have caused hundreds of deaths as well as kidnap for ransom of several others.

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