“Abducted” Northern Elders Regain Freedom, Keep Mute On Experience

Two leaders of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Nastura Ashir Shariff and Balarabe Rufai have regained their freedom, the group confirmed on Thursday night.

The leaders who had been “missing” since morning after they were taken away in Kaduna State are now confirmed safe and in good health.

Details of their experience and what transpired while they were “missing” is however yet to be made public but will be revealed at a later time according to the group.

Their safe return was confirmed in a statement on Thursday night by CNG spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who said: “I have been in personal contact with the national Coordinator Balarabe Rufai who confirmed their release and their condition.

“At around 10.30 pm, Mr Rufai called and said their handsets have been returned to them and they were released and would give details of what transpired later.

“Shariff also spoke to me via Rufai’s phone and confirmed both were in good health.” Suleiman told Daily Trust.

It will be recalled as earlier reported by Naija News that the whereabouts of the two Northern elders had remained unknown after they were taken away on Thursday morning in a hooded Peugeot vehicle in Kaduna State.

Before they were taken away by unidentified persons in the Peugeot car, Naija News understands they had earlier got a warning from the Department of State Services (DSS) director in the state, who warned CNG against going ahead with a press briefing scheduled for NAF Club, Kaduna.

Explaining their plight, spokesman of the CNG group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman had narrated: “Both their phone lines have been unreachable for the past two hours but the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Kaduna had called us earlier today and tried to threaten us against going ahead with the briefing. We stood our ground and insisted on our right to freedom of association and expression.

“A few minutes afterwards, we were called from the NAF Club and informed that they were ordered from above to refuse us the use of the hall. We then went to tell the pressmen who were already gathered at the venue and told them of the development and asked them to disperse because we had suspended the briefing.

“As we left the NAF Club and drove along a road adjacent to Nagogo road, a hooded Peugeot car blocked the lead car which was conveying the two officials and ordered them into the Peugeot and sped off,” he explained.

Meanwhile, some accountants attached to the Cabinet Department of the Ekiti State Governor’s Office, have reportedly been attacked by six gunmen who snatched N20 million from them.

It was gathered that the gunmen ambushed the officials while returning from a bank at Government Secretariat Road, Ado-Ekiti, where they withdrew the money.

An eyewitness noted that the gunmen shot into the air before robbing the officials.

He said, “The officials were paymasters and accountants attached to the Cabinet Department of the Governor’s Office. They went to make withdrawal at the behest of their superiors and while returning, the robbers waylaid them at a place between the Chicken Republic and Fajuyi Park and dispossessed them of the huge cash.”

The robbery saw businesses in the area close up for their safety while commuters took to their heels.

There were rumours that a bank robbery was ongoing but the commissioner of police in the state, Babatunde Mobayo, told members of the public to disregard them.

Mobayo, in a statement signed by the Command spokesman, Sunday Abutu, said, “For clarity, the incident that occurred today (Wednesday) in Ado-Ekiti was about a driver of a Toyota Corolla car with about three other occupants who were accosted by a group of yet-to-be-identified hoodlums and dispossessed them of some amount of money.”

“Upon the receipt of the information, the Commander of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) led his operatives to the scene but by then, the hoodlums had fled the scene already.”

“However, some persons have been invited by the police for interrogation and further investigation while serious effort is ongoing to arrest the fleeing suspects.”

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