Alhaji Bello Bachaka, the former chairman of Gudu Local Government Council in Sokoto State, has disclosed that he had to sell his official vehicle to pay bandits over N4 million as ransom to secure the release of his abducted wife and two children.
Bachaka, who served as the local government chairman between April 2021 and April 2023, stated this while testifying before the Judicial Commission of Enquiry constituted by the Sokoto State Government to investigate sales and auctions of govt property.
Bachaka told the commission that towards the end of his tenure, his wife and two of his children were kidnapped and such a situation necessitated him to sell the monetised Toyota Hilux vehicle and pay ransom to the bandits to free his families.
The former council boss testified on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, before the commission’s presiding judge, Justice Mu’azu Pindiga.
According to Bachaka, he sold the vehicle and paid over N4 million to the bandits before they released his three family members.
“I sold the vehicle that was monetised to me at the cost of N4.2 million, which was deducted from my over N5 million total gratuity and severance allowances,” he said.
“I have no option than to dispose of the monetised Toyota Hilux vehicle to pay the ransom to the bandits. After bargaining with the kidnappers, I took the said amount to the bandit in one of the villages in Wurno Local Government Area of the state where I paid them the money, after which they freed and handed over the abductees to me safely.”
Bachaka pleaded with the state government to consider his present predicament.
“I was invited to give what I know about the Toyota vehicle which was monetised to us by the former Sokoto State administration. The vehicles were auctioned to us with the agreement that the state government would pay vehicles money from our benefits, emoluments, gratuities and furniture allowance benefits to settle the payments of the vehicles.
“Government should consider our present predicament as our balance has not been paid. We were not given a single kobo in the name of our retirement benefit despite that we served for two years as local government chairmen.
“The former administration had deducted a huge amount from our furniture and gratuities allowance to pay for the Hilux Toyota vehicles and they have not given us any documents to prove the payments for the vehicles.”