A grieving father, Ibrahim Yaya, has narrated how a trusted member of his community in Jarkama Village in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State, kidnapped his six-year-old daughter, Farida, for ransom, but later killed, burnt and cut off her head.
The suspect, Friday Domozu, 23, after allegedly killing Farida, a sickle cell anemia patient, continued to demand ransom.
When Yaya asked for proof of life, the kidnappers got another girl to speak with Yaya.
But Yaya immediately knew the speaker was not Farida and had decided to seek help.
He wrote a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who deployed his crack squad, the IGP’s Special Intelligence Response Team, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to look into the case.
Incidentally, the kidnappers did not only abducted Farida, but also her 14-year-old elder brother, Abdulraheem.
Fortunately, the boy escaped from the kidnappers’ den four days after his abduction.
Domozu was arrested on January 15, 2021.
Yaya almost died of shock when he saw and recognised Domozu, who had earlier celebrated and drank beer with members of the community in the spirit of the celebration of the New Year.
Yaya noted that Domozu was not only a snake, but also a wicked soul.
According to Yaya, on November 2, 2020 at about 8pm, some hoodlums stormed his compound and chased his family members into the house.
They grabbed his two children and disappeared into the bush.
He added: “They killed her and then cut off her head.
“I thank God that the operatives were able to arrest them.
“If you see how Domozu was moving about in the community, you would never have suspected him at all!
“Kidnappers had been intimidating us in our community, but we never suspected that he is the one.
“We know him very well.”
Four days after Farida and Abdulraheem were abducted, the boy escaped from the kidnappers’ den.
The abduction was reported to IRT on December 29, 2020.
The operatives trailed and arrested Domozu at Sheria area, a suburb of Oguma village in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The operatives also recovered the phone used for the ransom negotiation and another one belonging to one of the kidnappers’ victims.
Domozu confessed to have led three other gang members, presently at large, to carry out the crime.
He denied killing Farida, stressing that she died in their custody.
The head of Jarkama Village, Michael Kure, told the IRT Operatives that Ibrahim Madaki, 40, a timber cutter in the community was also abducted by the same gang.
The abductors allegedly collected the sum of N1.5 million ransom in order to release Madaki, but this was after the gang had killed him.
Domozu further confessed to the kidnapping and murder of Madaki.
Domozu led operatives to Gabije Forest, where the remains of Madaki and Farida were recovered.
The police said: “After Abdulraheem escaped from the kidnapper’s den, he ran to Michael Kure, the village head, who took him home.
“When Abdulraheem got home, he narrated his ordeal, describing someone in their community.
“Meanwhile, the kidnappers kept calling, threatening to kill Farida if the ransom was not paid fast.
“On December 29, the family reported to the IRT office that their children were kidnapped and that the girl had not been released.
“Two days later, the IRT Operatives embarked on an operation to rescue Farida dead or alive.”
During interrogation, Domozu revealed that he was a trained soldier and had his training at Zaria military camp.
He said he got injured during his training and was dismissed from the camp.
When asked why he burnt the corpses of Madaki and Farida, he denied, insisting that someone else must have done it.
The remains of Madaki was identified by his family members through his shirt, while the supposed remains of Farida had been taken to a mortuary for autopsy.
Recounting how he got involved in crime, Domozu said: “I was in my village when some of my friends came and asked me to join them to ‘pick a man.’
“They told me that the man owed them money.
“I initially refused, but they succeeded in convincing me to go with them.
“On the day of the operation, I waited outside, while four of our men, who were armed with AK47 rifles, went into the compound and brought out the two children.
“We took them to Gabeji area, inside the thick forest.
“We contacted their family for ransom.
“They told us the girl was a sickle cell anaemia patient.
“We told them to hurry up if they wanted her home alive.
“We fed the children roast yam and banana we found in the forest and stream.
“The boy escaped on the fourth day because the person guarding him fell asleep.
“We went to look for him, but couldn’t find him.
“It was while we were looking for him that we ran into Madaki, where he was cutting wood.
“He challenged us, saying that he knew what we were doing inside the bush.
“He claimed that he saw the boy and would report us if we did not release the girl.
“We overpowered and tied him up.
“We then called his boss to pay ransom if he wanted to see him alive.”
Recalling how Farida died, Domozu said: “She was screaming that her stomach was hurting her.
“We mixed some herbs and gave her a drink.
“Unfortunately, she died.
“We were still contemplating what to do when Madaki suddenly picked a machete and hit one of our members on the head.
“We got angry and killed him.
“We picked the two bodies and dropped them by the stream.”
After that, the gang members kept communicating with the families of Farida and Madaki, asking for ransom.
“It was Madaki’s boss, who finally sent N120,000. It was after the police arrested us that we saw that the bodies had been burnt,” said Domozu.
Domozu joined the army in 2020 and was amongst Batch 79 intake.
He said: “I was not dismissed, but withdrawn because of an accident I had while in camp.
“We organised a boxing competition in camp and I was one of the boxers.
“When it was my turn, the plank that we used in constructing the boxing ring broke and my leg was affected.
“I was rushed to hospital, where an x-ray was done.
“It showed that my leg was no longer fit.
“The rule was that if a recruit stays away from training for five days, such a person should be withdrawn from the training.
“When I returned from camp, I went into farming before some of my friends came and confused me.”
Perhaps most shocking was the fact that Domozu knew the victims.
He said it was easier to know everyone in the community where he abducted the children because it was a very small one.
He said: “In fact, members of the community contributed money for me when they heard I had been recruited and needed to go to a camp in Zaria for training.
“I shouldn’t have involved myself in such a crime, but my friends forced me.
“I was in shock after the girl died.
“I had thought of telling the family of the victims, but I knew those gang members would kill me.
“I continued to visit the community because I didn’t want anyone to suspect that I was part of the kidnappers.”
He said that his greatest shock was when IRT Operatives appeared out of nowhere and arrested him.
He was stunned because he didn’t know how they got to find out he was involved.
He thought he had been so careful.
“After I was arrested, I had no choice than to confess. I’m sorry about everything, but I know that my fate is in the hands of God,” cried Domozu.
The children’s father, further narrating his traumatic experience, said: “The following day after abducting my children, the kidnappers called, asking for N12 million ransom.
“Fortunately, Abdulraheem escaped from them after four days.
“He got home at about 5pm and later the kidnappers called, saying that one of our children was still with them.
“And then they suddenly stopped calling until after 27 days later.
“They then called, saying that they had not heard from us.
“We told them that we needed to hear the voice of Farida before we would go into negotiation.
“They asked for N8 million and we begged until they accepted N4 million.
“They switched off till Xmas and called after 20 days, asking for the money.
“We told them we had only N200,000, that we couldn’t raise the N4 million.
“They asked us to bring what we had.
“We were surprised and insisted that they should allow us to speak with my daughter.
“They went and gave the phone to a little girl, but I was able to decode that the girl was not my daughter.
“They told me that Farida was in a bad condition.
“They then threatened to come to our house at night if we didn’t bring the ransom.
“They told me they had seven AK47 rifles and would finish our community.
“I told them to come, that we were fed up.
“I also told them to give us the date and time they would be coming.
“It was at that point that we decided to seek help.
“The operatives came and stayed in the village for nine days.
“And still the kidnappers kept calling, asking for money.
“In fact, at a point, they asked for N50,000.
“The operatives were finally able to arrest the leader of the gang and we were told that my daughter had been killed.
“We went into the forest and found what was left of her.
“They had cut off her head.”
Abdulraheem, who escaped from the kidnappers’ den, remembering the fateful day he was abducted, said: “We had just finished eating at about 8pm, two men stormed into our compound, while another two were at the exit gate.
“Also, another two were at the community secondary school, close to our house.
“I tried to escape with my step-mother, but those at the exit gate caught me.
“They were armed and took my sister and I.
“We trekked throughout the night till 4am.
“They carried my sister.
“When we got to their camp, they tied my hands and legs.
“They also blindfolded me so that I wouldn’t be able to see their faces.
“In the morning, they untied my hands and legs, so that I would be able to eat.
“In the evening, they asked if I would run away if they left me untied, I said no.
“They let me be and on the fourth day, after we finished eating, five of them left, leaving us with just a guard.
“I escaped after I noticed he had fallen asleep.”
Abdulraheem ran to the nearest village and went into a house, where he saw a woman.
He explained his situation and the woman took him to her village head, Kure.
“Kure knew Abdulraheem’s father and had immediately called him.
Recollecting their days in the kidnappers’ camp, Abdulraheem said: “They fed us with yam.
“My sister was always complaining of stomach pains.
“They cut a leaf, mixed it in water and gave her a drink.
“The pains stopped at that point.
“She was still alive when I escaped.”
Abdulraheem also stated that he knew and recognized Domozu.
“He said: “He wore face mask so that I wouldn’t recognise him, but I did.”