A former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Sani Toro, has narrated their ordeal at the hands of kidnappers.
He narrated how they were made to trek from 8pm to 4am after they were abducted.
Sani Toro stated this in a chat with reporters who went to commiserate with him at his GRA residence in Bauchi on Wednesday.
He expressed gratitude to Almighty Allah and Nigerians who prayed for their release, adding that but for the prayers of his family, friends, and Nigerians, they would have been killed by their abductors.
He said they were released because of the “prayers of Nigerians, especially people in Bauchi, my family, associates, everyone.”
Alhaji Sani said the kidnappers, who were 12 in number and heavily armed, stopped their vehicle at Anguwan Mallam Musa in the Fadan Karshi area of Kaduna State at about 8pm.
“They forced us to stop our car and forced us out from our vehicle and took us to an unknown destination in the forest, while pointing their guns at us, and [we] started trekking. They had several AK- 47 rifles with them in their hand.
“We trekked into the bush from that 8pm to 4am when we got to where they were taking us. We crossed through a big and deep river whose level was above our chest. “They neither gave us food nor water to drink. It was a terrible experience. They were young men in their 20s or 30s. We wanted to pray, but they prevented us from performing our prayers.
“They collected our phones, but they later gave me and asked me to provide a number to call, and that was when I gave Aminu Maigari’s number because we went to his son’s wedding,” he said.
When asked to describe the kidnappers, Toro said they did not wear any mask and were apparently not afraid of being recognised.
Asked if any ransom was paid, Toro, a one-time Commissioner of Sports in Bauchi State, said he was oblivious of the details that led to his release.
He said he had forgiven the kidnappers and asked Nigerians to continue to pray for them. “We need to pray for them (kidnappers) because they need prayers. It is a very serious and an unfortunate thing,” he said.
“I am grateful to the Almighty Allah for sparing our lives. I am also grateful to Nigerians for their prayers because many people kept praying for us. When I came back, many people, including many prominent people, kept coming here to greet me.
“I thank everyone for the love they showed my family and me throughout this trying period. I felt so much love.”
Sani Toro together with former Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles, Garba Yila, and one of their friends, Alh Isa Jah, were kidnapped on Saturday while returning to Bauchi from Abuja.
They had travelled to Abuja for the wedding of the son of a former President of the NFF, Alh Aminu Maigari, when they were kidnapped close to Akwanga in Nasarawa State. The kidnappers had contacted their host, Maigari, and demanded N150 million as ransom. They were released on Tuesday after an undisclosed amount of money was paid as ransom.