• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Deborah Sani: A death, a kidnap, and the pain!

Deborah Sani: A death, a kidnap, and the pain!

Today, I was to write about my trip to Saudi Arabia; my first exciting visit to Riyadh. I had plans to excite you with what I did in Riyadh and the many things and sights I could have seen. Now reserved for another trip! But in the face of the circumstances that hit me this week, I cannot, in all conscience, deal with that at this time.

The story of my sister’s sister-in-law’s daughter is what I am about to share with you as I call on you to keep our family in your prayers at this time.

Read also: Nigeria’s kidnapping racket is a symptom of a failing state FT Editorial

Deborah Sani was born on May 31, 1994, in Abuja. She attended St. Aloysius Primary School Abuja, Govt. Girls Science Secondary School Kuje, and Salem University, Lokoja, 2015–2019, where she studied biochemistry.

Two and a half weeks ago, she left her home in Abuja in the early evening to pick up an item in her neighbourhood shopping mall. She just casually mentioned to her brother that she was going to pick up something from the shops, which were within walking distance of her home. And that’s it; she was kidnapped from the shopping centre, and her family began the battle for her release. Three gruelling weeks of torture, trauma, and suffering. The negotiations, the yelling, the commands, the wait, and the hope.

Yesterday, I visited the family. Their countenance was not one that brought any cheer. A daughter you have loved and nurtured in the hands of total strangers. A daughter you have shared great and small moments with. A child you invested your emotions in shared a meal with someone who cared for you and cooked for you. A young lady you were proud to introduce to everyone, who never brought you shame but brought home many laurels. It is that daughter the kidnappers put on the phone with a shrill and harrowing voice, asking you to rescue her from the hands of her torturers. Those 2 a.m. calls, those sleepless nights. All the many thoughts of where she is. Security agencies were brought on board. Help us find her, please. Is she hungry? Is she cold? How long has she been crying? Does she sleep at all? Where exactly is she? What are her thoughts? A parents’ nightmare.

Q: “And that’s it; she was kidnapped from the shopping centre, and her family began the battle for her release.”

The parents of this young lady have invested in education, love, and all their emotions. They have shared banter and meals. She has cooked for them. They have shared meals. They have helped her with her homework. She has done very well. She brought no shame to her family. Only laurels. She has made them proud.

But the nightmare had just begun for the family. The story that has necessitated my visit is not pleasant. This past weekend, the kidnappers called to ask the parents to pick up their daughter’s corpse. Darkness descended on the family. I sat in the corner of the living room. I look away from her father. None of us sitting here can look at him.

I wonder what thoughts are racing through the father’s mind. What did she eat? Was she cold? Where did she sleep? Did she sleep at all? Where exactly was she? When she talked, her voice filled with sorrow. What were her thoughts? When she breathed her last, when she cried out, what were her last words?

Read also: Nigeria kidnappings break up families, keep children out of school

The ransom requested by these evil men and women of the underworld was fully paid for by the family, who spent the better part of their waking and night hours sourcing the funds demanded. Darkness descended. In spite of all of this, They still murdered the young lady. I shift my left leg, slightly afraid to remind them of their loss. Everything is still.

When did we become so dehumanised that we are now trading our brothers and sisters like commodities and bringing pain to families and our societies? Who are these kidnappers? When did they become murderers? How do they sleep? Where are they spending this money? Who are their families, and how much do they know?

Do you just wake up and become a kidnapper? When did we all collectively lose our humanity? When did we stop being our brothers’ keepers?

The voice of a departing guest shatters the evening. We rise to leave. We have no words as the pain sears through us all in this senseless killing of a young lady whose star has just begun to soar. So many prospects May God grant the family of the departed the fortitude to bear the loss. Amen. May God grant Deborah Sani a peaceful repose. Amen. And to the families who have lost a loved one to kidnappers, we pray for you. May God heal our nation from the scourge. Amen.

My heart is truly broken. It’s hard. It’s dark. But this too will have to end. We must galvanise to rescue our nation. God help us. Amen.