Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
A 75-year-old blind internally displaced person (IDP), Mr. Jato Ndarfa has been asked by suspected Boko Haram fighters to pay N20 million ransom for the release of his daughter and niece abducted by the group.
Speaking to journalists at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Centre IDP camp in Maiduguri where he has taken refuge alongside hundreds of others displaced from Gwoza Local Government Area of the state since 2014 by insurgents, the blind old man cried for assistance from the federal government, Borno State Government and well-meaning politicians to get his daughter and niece released by the terrorist group.
Ndarfa said his daughter, Lami Jato, a-25 year old graduate of Sir Kashim Ibrahim College of Education Maiduguri and his niece, Renita Bitrus were abducted by the suspected Boko Haram terrorists two weeks ago in company of a tractor driver while on a farm at Tungushe village in Magumeri LGA of Borno State.
Tungushe is a village located at about 15 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Maiduguri-Monguno road.
He said the terrorists had few days after the abduction, made contact through her niece’s mobile phone, demanding N20 million ransom for the release of the two women.
Ndarfa, who could not control tears, said the terrorist group would not take his appeal for the release of their victims even after telling them that he is a 75-year-old blind man residing in a camp and finding it difficult to feed.
He said: “I told them that as an old man of 75 years and a blind man living in an IDPs camp shanty, there is no means for me to raise the N20 million ransom.”
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of Boko Haram, Ndarfa said he had to flee his hometown, Gava in Gwoza LGA for Maiduguri in 2014 when the terrorists raided it and killed over 100 villagers and burnt down several houses.
He lamented that since 2014 he has been living in the CAN Centre IDP camp and could not go back home as the terrorists are still hibernating in their village which is at the back of Mandara mountain.
Ndarfi said that the abducted daughter is his only hope, noting that his three wives deserted him during the Boko Haram terrorists’ attacks in their village to unknown destinations.
He said the daughter and the niece took to farming to raise money for the family upkeep, adding that his abducted daughter had been the one taking care of him in the camp.
He said: “It was two of them – my daughter, Lami Jato and my niece, Renita Bitrus who is married with two children that were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists. It is 15 days now from the day they were abducted when they went to farm in Tungushe, along Maiduguri-Monguno road.
“Initially they were seven in number at the farm that were abducted – five men, my daughter and my niece, but the terrorists later released four of the men and held one of the men, the tractor driver and the two women.
“I am not fighting or quarrelling with the Boko Haram terrorists; they are my children. I am only appealing to them to please have mercy on me and release my daughter, niece and the tractor driver.”