Saturday, 6 October 2012

Groom abducted on wedding day in Ilorin, found five days later

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UNRAVELLING the reason behind the five-day abduction of a 35-year-old petrol attendant on his wedding day has remained a daunting task for the men and officers of Kwara State police command and mystery to family members of the victim.
The two-day wedding preparation between Zubair Aliyu Balogun and his sweetheart had commenced on Thursday, September 27, only for him to disappear Friday morning and his whereabouts remained unknown for five days.
The groom was subsequently found naked by an okada man in a bush at Kangu-Olunlade village, Ilorin,
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where he was purportedly dumped by his abductors early on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, drenched in the early morning rain and shivering.
Zubair, who begged the okada man to call members of his family, was then taken to a private hospital by his people when they came to the place he was found. The victim had since been been undergoing medical treatment in a hospital in Ilorin.
The matter was reported at the “A” division police station in Ilorin, where investigation was said to have commenced to unravel the mystery behind the five-day abduction and torture of Zubair.
Speaking with the Crime Features in Ilorin, the head of Balogun-Fulani family, Alhaji Mahmud Durosinlorun Atiku Fulani, said there was no suspicion prior to the abduction, vowing that the family would use all legal and spiritual means to get to the roots of the matter and fish out the perpetrators.
“The marriage plan started last week Thursday with traditional Wolimat Al-Quran. The event was done at the bride’s place on Thursday. It went on very well as he recited Quran to the admiration of everyone present. The bride came to visit her groom from her family house.
“Things went on normally. No one suspected anything. So, on Friday, the wedding day, Zubair woke up from his rented apartment at Sango area at about 7 a.m., according to people who saw him, with the thought that he was going to prepare for the wedding Nikkah.
“When the activity was to start, we expected him from 9,00 a.m. till 11 a.m. We did not see him. I then called the head of the bride’s family to inform him that we could not see the groom. Interestingly, Zubair’s bride was not the only one to be wedded that day. There were other two ladies too, making three of them. So, in order not to disrupt the activity, we improvised that the victim’s younger brother should stand in for him pending his arrival that never was. The waiting continued till the evening. We didn’t see him.
“At about 9 p.m that Friday, one of his brothers got through to him on phone, but his voice was inaudible and incoherent. I picked up my phone too to talk with him. I introduced myself. Nobody responded, but I could hear his voice, though not clearly. It was like the phone was with somebody or he was taking permission and the permission was not granted. This went on all through the night.
“When it was about 11 p.m., I sent out a search party because we got a stroke of news from him on his location. He had called one of his aunts. The aunt sent somebody to meet me that the victim had said that he was around Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINILS), at Olunlade, Ilorin. So, I got a vehicle with two women and three men. Some of his relations who had cars accompanied us too. When they got there, they found nobody.
“Meanwhile, two of the men that stayed at MINILS junction got a phone call from unknown person saying, ‘Tunji (one of the search party) is that not you? If you don’t leave that place, you’ll blame yourself for what will befall you’. They got afraid and left the area immediately in taxi and came home. Some stayed till 2 a.m. while others took refuge in the village. Apparently, some people were watching the search party. We couldn’t sleep.
“On Saturday, his line was no longer going through. We could not contact him until Tuesday morning when we were called to come for him where he was found in the bush shivering”, he said.
Answering questions on how the missing groom was eventually found, Alhaji Fulani said: “One of his brothers in Abuja, an Immigration Officer, Lanre, called to tell me that an okada man called him that he saw the groom lying down around Kangu-Olunlade area looking for someone to help him reunite with his people.
“We quickly mobilised ourselves when we got the information. We saw him naked, dumped in the bush. It was from there he was brought to the hospital. He was weak, could not walk and talked faintly. We saw no injury on any part of his body. We don’t know what actually happened to him though.”
On whether they suspected anyone, the family head said that they could not arrive at any conclusion because “one can think of so many things. We used to know of women being abducted, not men. Was the bride dating another person or other suitors wanted the lady more than Zubair? Allah knows best. What we know is that he was abducted and tortured for reasons we don’t know yet.
“He woke up and told some of his people that he would soon be back. He picked an okada and that was all. When he is fully recovered, we would ask him few things that could lead us somewhere. We won’t leave the matter like that. We thank God he’s found alive, but we’ll exploit all spiritual prayer means to unearth the reason and people behind the abduction,” he vowed.

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