The Chief Of Staff to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, Mallam Ibrahim Balarabe, on Sunday narrowly escaped being abducted by armed bandits while he was returning from his hometown in Kagara, Rafi local government area of the state, where he had gone for the ongoing All Progressive Congress (APC) revalidation and registration exercise.
However, no fewer than 18 passengers on board the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) were not lucky as they were all kidnapped along Minna-Tegina road in Rafi local government area.
The incident occurred at about 3:00 pm in the afternoon at Kundu village, about 200 meters to the famous Zungeru bridge when the passengers who were said to be returning from a wedding at Rijau, Rijau local government area of the state were stopped and taken into the bush by the bandits numbering about 40.
The Bandits were actually laying an ambush for the Chief Of Staff to the state Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Balarabe, and his entourage who had traveled to Kagara earlier today for the ongoing APC revalidation and registration exercise when the passengers bus ran into the roadblock mounted by the bandits.
The Director-General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Mallam Ibrahim Inga who confirmed the incident to our correspondent in a telephone interview, said the Chief Of Staff convey which he (Inga) was among, got to the scene shortly after the passengers had been abducted and taken into the bush.
According to him, they met a woman with her child who was left by the bandits who told them that other 18 passengers in the bus have been taken away by the bandits which she said numbered about 40 and all heavily armed.
“The only thing I can tell you now is we have rescued the woman and her baby and she is in the vehicle with us and we are on our way to Minna. She told us that the bandits blocked the way and went away with the other 18 passengers on the bus.
“No government official was among those kidnapped. I can’t give more than that for now because the woman is traumatized and we cannot be asking her too many questions for now,” Inga said.
He however promised to get back to our correspondent when he gets back to Minna and has more information.
Meanwhile, efforts to speak to the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Wasiu Abiodun was unsuccessful as he neither picked his calls nor respond to messages.