A Nasarawa man is hopeful that his daughter, abducted seven years ago, will come back

Umar Suleiman, a flight dispatcher hailing from Nasarawa State, shares with TEMITOPE ADETUNJI the ongoing struggle he faces in dealing with the disappearance of his daughter, Khadija, in the Kuje area of Abuja back in 2016. Seven years have passed, and he reflects on the challenges of coping with her absence.

Recounting the details, Umar Suleiman, a 42-year-old airport employee from Nasarawa State, delves into the unfortunate incident of his daughter Khadija’s disappearance. The distressing event occurred on November 19, 2016, a Saturday that has left an indelible mark on his life.

What is your role at the airport?

work as a flight dispatcher.

Can you share your daughter’s name with me?

Certainly, her name is Khadija. At the time of the incident, she was two years and seven months old. Presently, she should be nine years and seven months old.

Where did the incident take place?

The incident occurred in Kuje, Abuja.

Where were you on the day of the incident?

Due to the nature of my job, I typically work on weekends. On that particular day, I was at work. As I mentioned earlier, I work at the airport. Coincidentally, there was an All Progressives Congress campaign for the governor of Ondo State in Akure, and politicians chartered an aircraft from my company. I happened to be part of the group scheduled to accompany the flight to Akure. That morning, I distinctly remember leaving my daughter while she was having tea. As I picked up my bag to leave, she hugged me and said goodbye. Little did I know that would be the last time I hugged her.

How did you learn about her disappearance?

While I was at the airport, sorting out some paperwork in preparation for the flight, I received a call around 12:31 pm from my neighbor. He informed me that a woman had come and abducted my daughter, and he was at the police station providing a statement.

Were you given details on how your daughter was abducted?

I inquired with my neighbor regarding my wife and was informed that she was at the hospital when the incident occurred.

Can you provide details about your wife’s occupation and her place of origin?

She is currently a student and hails from Kano State. When I managed to contact my wife and questioned her about the events, she explained that she wasn’t feeling well. At around 10 am, she left for the hospital after dropping our daughter off with the landlady. The landlady, who also had children, was familiar to my daughter, and they often played together.

On that day, I encountered a group of people outside our house who appeared confused and concerned. The landlady clarified that her son wanted to buy a local snack called awara, so she gave him money. My daughter expressed interest in accompanying him since she enjoyed awara too. They took a route behind the house and encountered a woman with a baby strapped to her back.

During their return, they saw the woman again, and at that point, there were no other people around. The woman called them, inquired about their names, and playfully praised them as good children. She then offered to buy them biscuits and a beverage, taking them to a secluded spot.

Did she take both of them away?

She took my daughter and instructed the boy, named Usman, to leave. At that time, Usman was approximately eight years old. Despite his desire to go with his sister (my daughter), the woman forcefully pushed him to the ground. As he cried on the ground, the boy rushed home to report. By the time people arrived at the scene, the woman had fled with my daughter, and her whereabouts were unknown. People attempted to trace her footsteps and encountered others who had seen a woman with two children but were unaware they were abducted.

When I came back, I went to the police, and from the police station, someone contacted me and advised me to take the matter to the then-Special Anti-Robbery Squad. We took it to the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, and from there, we took it to SARS but what they were asking from me then was too much.

What did they ask you to do?

The police told me to provide a Sienna bus that four of them (policemen) would use to go and investigate the matter and that I would follow the vehicle for about four to six days. They also said I would pay for their hotel accommodation for the period. A day after that, I posted my contact on Facebook in case anyone saw my daughter anywhere so that they could contact me.

Did you get a response from members of the public?

The following day, someone contacted me and told me that if I wanted to see my daughter, I should go and meet one chief in Epe, Lagos, and that the chief’s son was with my daughter. Unknowingly, they were trying to implicate someone else. I explained to the police and later, they told me that they would follow it up.

Did you report the incident to the police?

Upon my return, I reported the incident to the police. Subsequently, I received advice to escalate the matter to the then-Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). We proceeded to the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, and from there, we took the case to SARS. However, their demands at that time were excessive.

What were the police’s instructions to you?

The police instructed me to provide a Sienna bus for four officers to use in investigating the matter. I was to accompany the vehicle for a duration of four to six days and also bear the cost of their hotel accommodation during this period. Following this, I posted my contact information on Facebook the next day, urging anyone who had seen my daughter to reach out to me.

Did you receive any responses from the public?

The day after posting on Facebook, someone contacted me, claiming that if I wanted to locate my daughter, I should meet a chief in Epe, Lagos. They asserted that the chief’s son was with my daughter, but unbeknownst to me, they were attempting to implicate someone else. I communicated this to the police, and they assured me they would pursue the matter further.

Did you meet the chief, or were some individuals trying to exploit your situation?

Eventually, we managed to apprehend the chief and his son, only to discover later that they were innocent. Some individuals attempted to deceive me during this ordeal, including one from Ofa in Kwara State, who went to the extent of having a young girl pretend to be my daughter on the phone. Despite recognizing the falsehood, I played along and covertly recorded each conversation with him. He falsely claimed my daughter had catarrh and cough, requesting N10,000 for medication.

Did you end up sending money to him?

Knowing it was all a fabrication, I sent him about N5,000 to obtain his account details. We traced the account owner, but it turned out to be someone else, stating that the money was sent for Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam fees. Unfortunately, the boy was caught a day before the exam, preventing him from taking it. These efforts reflect the ongoing situation.

How have your friends and family supported you in the quest to find your daughter?

When the incident occurred, my wife, already pregnant and due for delivery, went into shock and couldn’t have the baby. Due to dropping heartbeat, the doctor recommended a caesarean section, which was performed on November 20, 2016, a day after Khadija’s abduction. We named the baby Abdulsalam, now seven years old, who has never met his sister. Despite encountering her pictures and asking questions, it’s challenging for us to provide him with a definitive answer, given the difficulty of the situation.

Do you have additional children besides Khadija and Abdulsalam?

Following Abdulsalam, we welcomed another son named Salaudeen. Unfortunately, our most recent child, born this year, passed away 10 days after her christening due to complications. Since then, we have not had another daughter. Abdulsalam is seven years old, and Salaudeen is four years and some months old.

What has been sustaining your hope and fostering optimism that your daughter will return?

My hope is buoyed by real-life stories and instances of abduction recovery. On Facebook, I came across a case where a neighbor, attending a wedding, encountered a missing child in the vicinity. Recognizing the child, she discreetly informed the parents, leading to police involvement. They discovered the child at the location mentioned, proving the story true. Similar accounts have reinforced my hope, and I rely on God for the eventual return of my daughter.

How have you been dealing with the absence of your daughter for seven years?

Coping with my daughter’s absence has been immensely traumatic. It’s a challenging situation that remains deeply etched in my mind. The prospect of seeing my daughter again would make me the happiest person, given the strong bond we shared. Friends from abroad, like one in the UK and another in South Africa, consistently offer support. Despite the difficulty, their encouragement is a source of solace, and the joy of reunion would extend beyond me to my family and friends.

Were you advised to consult spiritualists to locate your daughter?

Yes, various individuals suggested seeking the help of different spiritualists, but I rejected the idea. Although my wife, in her desperation, was open to any solution, I wasn’t comfortable with that approach. My faith differs, and I am skeptical of the authenticity of such practitioners.

What cherished memories do you have of your missing daughter?

I hold onto memories such as our last hug and her bidding me goodbye. There was also a time she fell, and my attempts to comfort her linger in my mind. On a broader note, I emphasize the severity of the abduction issue, asserting that the government’s inaction is worrisome. Abductions are on the rise in Abuja and other northern regions. Considering the checkpoints along the possible routes, the security agents should have been more vigilant, especially since the kidnapper and my daughter likely did not resemble each other. There should have been an interrogation to determine their origin.

Source:   punchng

By dworldgist.com

Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of www.dworldgist.com and www.gospelrespec.com. He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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