In the few hours after Alhaji Tukur Sabaru was kidnapped, it occurred to him that his abductors were familiar faces.
He didn’t have to stretch his imagination far to recall that he had encountered some of the faces recently.
Indeed they had all crossed his path variously posing as his customers, beggars and cobbler. Taken deep into the forest in Zamfara State, the Sokoto-based businessman, known locally as a cheerful philanthropist, was subsequently held hostage for seven days before his family secured his freedom with N100 million ransom.
Sabaru, who lived to tell his story, had petitioned the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu, after his release.
Operatives of Intelligence Response Team (IRT) were subsequently ordered to investigate and bring the kidnappers to book, an order that was executed to the letter.
Suspected abductors, identified as Rufai Muhammed, Isah Abdullahi, Abdulrashid Labaran, Abba Zayyanu, Zubairu Muazu and Rabiu Ibrahim were arrested in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kastina and Kano states.
The sum of N10million and the victim’s car, a Mercedes Benz C180, sold in Kano, were recovered.
The Sabaru kidnap is one of the cases that expose the Modus Operandi of organised kidnap gangs now rampaging across northern Nigeria.
The suspects confessed to the police that it took them five days of constant surveillance before they picked up their victim in front of his house on September 23, 2019.
Their confessions gave keen insights into the role played by prisons in facilitating fraternization among criminals which indirectly fuel the plague of kidnapping currently ravaging the country. In the Sabaru affair, the incubation of the criminal idea, the organisation and execution of the abduction, and ransom negotiation were all remotely controlled by a kingpin serving time inside Katsina Prison.