How Former Minister, Shettima Ali Monguno Returned Home
After several appeals from the family of elder statesman Shettima Ali Monguno, who was kidnapped on Friday after Juma’at prayers at his mosque in Mafoni, Maiduguri, his kidnappers finally succumbed to pressure from concerned Nigerians and his family and released him midday at Marte, a border town 140 kilometres northward of the state, which was alleged to have been taken over by the Boko Haram members.
He was released after three days in captivity. Men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) picked him up at Kirenuwa town of Marte LGA of Borno State.
Borno State governor Kashim Shettima in a press briefing explaining the circumstances behind Monguno’s release immediately after visiting the old man in his sitting room and exchanging greetings and prayers, directed the State Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to immediately liaise with the JTF and Nigeria Police Force to cordon off the house and stop people from visiting the old man. Even journalists were barred.
Shettima said, “We are full of joy and happiness for him and his family… I congratulate all Nigerians and particularly the people of Borno. I pray for his good health.”
The governor further appealed to the journalists not to conduct any interview with the old man for a day or two to allow him recover from the stress he was exposed to in the hands of his abductors.
Asked how Monguno was released and conveyed to his house in Maiduguri, he said: “It was all as a result of the persistent appeals to his captives from the government and Nigerians as well as his family. Then the abductors made contact with the family. The family equally appealed for the sake of God and humanity; the old man is on medication. As such, the abductors agreed to release the poor old man. They did not demand any money or ransom. He is a church rat; he does not have money. He has sacrificed his life for the nation.
“He was picked up in Kirenuwa border town in Marte LGC of Borno State where the abductors carried him to. I however commend the media for their role in managing the abduction. The news was all over and attracted sympathy from everywhere, which informed his release. We are grateful to you the press for your maturity, support and sympathy in handling the issue. We actually commend you for the release of the poor man. Let’s pray for peace to prevail. Without peace, nothing can happen.”
Shettima further appealed to Boko Haram members to lay down their arms.
Commenting on the return and release of Monguno, the Borno State deputy governor, Alhaji Zanna Umar Mustapha, said: “We are indeed happy and very excited about his release and final return to his house safely, healthy and alive. We pray that his abductors will realize what they are doing and resort to dialogue by surrendering their weapons to allow peace to reign.
“We appealed to the abductors and the family also appealed to them and they sympathised with the health condition of the old man and finally agreed to release him. We mobilised security men to go and convey him to Maiduguri. He was picked up in a border town called Kirenuwa in Marte LGC of Borno State. We are grateful that he is back and alive. He is healthy but he needs rest for some time to compose himself. He is old and needs to be taken care of. His is under medication and that is one of the major reasons they released him. They did not demand money. He has no money to give them. He is old and poor man. We are also grateful to the JTF who went and brought him. Every citizen of this country and even the media, we are grateful to them for their support and maturity in handling the matter. He is healthy but needs rest.”
The governor had led his cabinet members and other dignitaries to his sitting room to welcome him and congratulate him on his safe return. The elder statesman’s grandchildren, children and relations were seen all over the compound.
His wife, Hajiya Fatima Shettima Ali Monguno, could not hide her feelings and tears of joy. Other relations were also crying and praying.
His son, Rahama Ali Shettima Ali Monguno, was seen busy greeting visitors and relations who came to sympathise with the old man.
The state commissioner of urban water supply, Alhaji Mai Sheriff, told LEADERSHIP, “We are happy and pray for his return. We are also grateful to all that contributed to his release by his abductors. Everybody knows that this is an old man under medication. We need to sympathize with him and allow him to rest. The important thing is, he has returned home safely. Alhamdulillah!”
Alhaji Baba Kaka Garbai, the younger brother of the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Ibn Muar El-Kanemi, also could not hide his joy on seeing the old man return home safely.
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