Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno
Consider My Father’s Age
•Borno Governor also seeks ex-minister's release from abductors
By Michael Olugbode
A heart-rending appeal to his father’s abductors came Saturday from Rahaman, son of 87 years old elder statesman, Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno: consider my father’s advanced age and let him go.
Monguno, former minister of petroleum and first black man to chair the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was kidnapped on Friday shortly after the Juma'at prayers in Mafoni, a densely populated part of the troubled Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.
Sympathisers have continued to throng his residence to console the family and offer prayers for his safe release.
Monguno’s son told the abductors to also consider his father's philanthropy and long years of service to the community, nation and humanity and as such set him free.
He asked Nigerians to remember his father in their prayers and plead with the abductors to let him come back home.
Rahaman spoke with our correspondent when he visited the residence of Monguno yesterday.
Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima also made a similar appeal to Monguno’s abductors to free him.
The governor, according to a press statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Alhaji Isa Gusau, appealed to Monguno’s abductors to consider his age and difficulty in managing him due to his declining health and immediately release him.
Gusau said the governor was still leading concerted efforts to ensure Monguno’s release.
He said the governor was worried that the elder statesman might be without his drugs and food supplements, some of which have remained his constant companion in the last 20 years or more.
Gusau said information reaching the governor through family members indicated that Monguno was hale and hearty.
He said Shettima was working round the clock to get the former minister released.
Family sources said Monguno takes his drugs seven times daily based on the physician's prescription.
The family is said to be in possession of the drugs but cannot get them across to him.
Sources say Shettima is opposed to any use of force to free the elder statesman, insisting this might jeopardise Monguno’s safety.
A government source confirmed that Monguno spoke with his family members through his abductors and was said to be psychologically stable and in normal spirit as he was said to be the one consoling his family members, appealing to them to remain calm and be prayerful.
"Don't get worried, please, I am fine, just be saying lahaula wa la quwata illa billah, Allah is in control, nothing to worry about, I am fine," the source quoted him as saying.
That remark, it was learnt, immediately brought some relief to his family.
The abductors are said to have requested that they needed some amount to help their cause but didn't specify any amount.
A source said that Shettima left Maiduguri for Abuja on Friday night for an emergency meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan and other stakeholders over the kidnap and other security concerns in the state.
The governor it was gathered was making frantic contacts and consultations over the matter.
Meanwhile, Monguno’s abductors are said to have demanded a ransom before they would release him..
A family source told journalists that the captors, who spoke with them on the phone, said the elder statesman was in good state, and that he would be released immediately the ransom was paid.
The source said the captors did not mention any specific amount but merely said they needed money to sustain their campaign.
In a related development, the Boko Haram sect, which had been alleged to be responsible for the kidnap, has denied been behind the abduction.
A man, who simply identified himself as Mallam Ali and who claimed to be speaking for the sect, said they had been unjustly accused of a crime they did not commit.
He explained that Monguno was a man the sect had always respected and therefore had no justification to kidnap him.