I preferred to die than have ransom paid for my release: Freed Niger commissioner


Muhammed Idris, Niger State Information Commissioner, says he preferred to die than have ransom paid to bandits who kidnapped him.

Mr Idris was abducted on August 8 by gunmen who requested for ransom but later released the abductee five days after.

The commissioner who confirmed no ransom was paid for him to regain freedom in an interview with Punch Newspapers said his abductors told him that they were told he is been paid N200million every month by the state governor, Abubakar Bello.

He narrated how he was tortured but kept praying to God that Mr Bello should not intervene by paying the requested ransom to get him released. He said had his principal did so it would amount to hypocrisy on the part of the government that had vowed never to pay ransom to the criminals.

Mr Idris who said he preferred to die than have ransom paid for his release said he would have resigned his position had the government acceded to the request of the kidnappers.

“They came with an intention that they would get N200m from me or they would take my life,” the politician said. “They did not get any money and my life is intact. I went through a lot of trials in their hands, a lot of dehumanizing treatments but I give glory to God that I am alive and I am safe.

“The kidnappers told me that they got information that the state governor usually gave me N200m every month which was why they came with a lot of people to get the job done.

“One thing I am proud of is to be part of the present government in Niger State. In fact, the first thing I did when I came out was to send a text to my governor to thank him for having the strength of heart not to allow any state machinery intervene in my release because we took a decision in council that the Niger State government is averse to the payment of ransom to bandits for any situation, for any case.

“The bandits came with recordings where I made statements emphasizing this and reiterating it to them that as a government, in Niger State, we don’t pay ransom to bandits. I believe that we will succeed. I thank the government for standing by that, they were able to protect the integrity of our government.

“…I was there but I wasn’t thinking of myself. I was thinking of the people and government of Niger State because I was praying that God should intervene and ensure the government did not intervene in my affair. I prefer to lose my life than to embarrass the government and we succeeded. When they started, they were very hard on me and pushed me to a limit. You never expected a human being to be so resilient, but I give God the glory because I remain there as a believer believing that the God I serve will always be there for me.

“I asked them if what they were doing was accepted in the eyes of God. Gradually, instead of them breaking resolve, I started breaking theirs. After that, they started giving me bread and water. They untied me and used the only trampoline they had to cover me during rain while they stayed under the rain. They began to show concern, I kept talking to them and in the long run, they said I should go and reunite with my family.

“I came out unscathed, without paying a dime, aside from the beating. People will be surprised but I am a believer,” he added.