After shedding tears of joy over his release after more than 120 days in the hands of the terrorists who attacked a Kaduna-bound train, associate professor of medical biochemistry, Mustapha Imam, had this to say: “My experience is terrible. You can see, I just finished shedding tears of joy. I am happy that I am free and would be reunited with my family very, very, soon.
“The experience I have been through in the last four months is not something that I will wish on my enemy. The situation was really terrible.
“In the last two weeks, we were okay. But for the three and a half months, we were actually very very hungry. There were days we ate once in a day.
“I was the medical doctor in the camp. I was treating captives as well as the bandits.
“There was no medication in the camp. There was a lady who went into coma because there was no medication to treat her of malaria….
“I will like to call on government to take whatever necessary steps to ensure the release of the remaining people.”
Imam and four others, including a female, were freed on Tuesday.
The lecturer at the Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto narrated how for three and half months, captives went hungry, eating once a day for a long time, adding that it was only in the last two weeks that feeding improved.
Imam’s experience was shared via a video by a former negotiator for their release, Tukur Mamu.
In his own recording, Mamu, former chief negotiator with the terrorists, who received the freed captives in his office said: “I keep on saying that there is nothing dialogue and negotiation will not achieve.
“In a situation where guns will not work,dialogue will certainly work.
“I said before that I had withdrawn from anything that have to do with negotiation because of the situation we found ourselves and because of government’s lack of interest in this matter.
“What brought these release victims to my office this afternoon was that they came purposely to thank me for my past efforts in engaging with their abductors to ensure that none of them was harmed.
According to Mamu, “More than 80 per cent of the victims in the bush are very poor and cannot negotiate their release.
“Government has to come to the side of the remaining victims to bring an end to the trauma”.
On March 28, 2022, an Kaduna-bound passenger train was attacked by terrorists. Eight persons were killed while 61 were heralded into the forests. There are still about 34 in captivity after others paid for their freedom, with many paying up to N100 million per head, according to some reports.