100-level undergraduate of the Bauchi State University, Gadau, who was reportedly kidnapped by suspected cultists on June 24, but found five days later in Jos, Plateau State, shares her story
Your parents reported you missing after suspected cultists kidnapped you. What exactly happened to you?
On Wednesday, June 24, around 2pm, I left my uncle’s house in Rafin Zurfi, where I was staying with the intention of coming to see my parents at their house at Kafin Tafawa. When I took a tricycle, I told the driver I would stop at the junction leading to my father’s house and buy some cement because my sister and I had agreed to buy it and do some repairs in the house. I think something happened along the way and I lost my mind. When I woke up, I found myself in a strange place in the bush and I saw a hunter sitting close to where I had been lying and that was on a Friday. I asked the man where I was and he told me that it was Kari, in the Darazo Local Government Area of Bauchi State (along Bauchi-Potiskum Road and about 133km away from Kafin Tafawa)
What else did he tell you?
He told me that he found me and kept me there and was waiting for me to wake up so that he would ask me what exactly happened to me. I told him that I didn’t know what exactly happened and how I got there. I then explained to him how I left my uncle’s house on my way to my father’s house. He took me to the motor park and bought sachet water for me and I washed my face and hands. He also gave me N2,000 and left. I left for Bauchi that Sunday morning. I arrived in Bauchi at about 11am and I took a tricycle to Rafin Zurfi. But when I got to Yelwa (about 2km to my uncle’s house), I remembered how my uncle was molesting me sexually and how my parents are poor with nobody to fight for me. Because my uncle had been assisting my father to pay my school fees and other needs, he threatened me with that and when I remembered all that, I told the driver of the tricycle to turn back and take me to the park. He took me to the Bauchi-Jos motor park where I boarded a vehicle to Jos, Plateau State.
You said you left your uncle’s house on Wednesday and while at the junction to your father’s house, you passed out and woke up at Kari on Friday. Where were you between Wednesday and Friday and what happened to you?
I don’t know what happened to me during that period and where I was.
You had your phone with you. Why didn’t you call your parents when you woke up in Kari on Friday?
The reason I didn’t call them was because when I woke up, I saw some messages on my phone. I saw a message from my cousin who said he wanted to talk to me and I read some other messages and discovered that it had been reported that I had been kidnapped and that some people said, ‘We don’t need money, we only need her virginity.’ I became confused and I sent a text back to my cousin, who’s my uncle’s son, asking him what he meant. But he didn’t reply. I called him but his number wasn’t going through, so I sensed that something was definitely wrong. I thought of calling my father but I felt I should wait for my cousin’s reply first because I am close to him, though he is two years older than me. I decided not to call my father because I knew he would be under tension as he is someone who cares so much about me. I wanted to know what was going on before calling him.
A day after you went missing, a text message was reportedly sent using your phone to your father that you had been kidnapped by suspected cultists and that they didn’t want any money but your virginity. Another text was sent on Saturday that you were dead. Who sent the two messages?
I don’t know who sent the text messages. The only conversation I had through text messages was with my cousin, Junior, based on the one he sent earlier to me.
Why did you travel to Jos and what did you go there to do?
It was when I remembered how my uncle was molesting me that I decided to travel there. I felt even if I told anyone that my uncle was molesting me, nobody would believe me. I complained to Junior three times about how his father had been molesting me. There was a recording on his phone and he was the witness I had; he presented that as the evidence at the police station. He knew everything that was happening. I didn’t know anyone in Jos but I still went there. On my way to Jos, a lady boarded the same car I was in at Toro and when we got to the terminus in Jos, she alighted and I also alighted there. I asked her if she was based in Jos and she said yes. I lied to her that I lost my transport money and I still had a journey ahead of me. I pleaded with her to accommodate me for the night pending when money would be sent to me to continue my journey. While I was in her house, anytime a call came into my phone, I had to go out of her house to answer it and if I had to make any call, I would go out and make the call. She became suspicious and when I was sleeping, she picked my phone and saw those whose calls I rejected. She called my dad and told him that I was in her house in Jos.