A 58-year-old man, Moses Oyeleke, and a schoolgirl, Ndagiliya Ibrahim Umar, have been released from Boko Haram captivity and reunited with their families.
The release was facilitated by two local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Kalthum Foundation For Peace and Initiative for Peace Building Movement, after weeks of negotiation and dialogue with the duo’s abductors.
While Oyeleke has been in captivity for seven months, Ndagiliya said she was held for nine months.
Oyeleke, a pastor with the Living Faith Church, Maiduguri was kidnapped alongside a corps member Abraham Amuta in April 2019, on their way to Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State with charity materials donated by the church.
The corps member, however, is yet to be released.
Narrating his ordeal, the clergyman said, “We were on our way to Chibok when they caught us and took us to Yale; from there, they took a detour and finally took us to Sambisa because Yale is also their town.
“It was the two of us, myself and my brother, who is still there with them and was not released and they promised us that when they finish discussions, they’ll release them in December; himself and the elder sister of this girl I was released with”
On the other hand, Ndagiliya was abducted in a school in Askira Uba Local Government Area along with her sister and a few others still in captivity.
“Life in the bush, they marry off little girls; women do not talk to men, and movement is restricted,” Ndagiliya recounted her experience.
Not much is known about the girl’s abduction, but the kidnappers had contacted the family of Pastor Oyeleke, as well as his resident pastor, Victor Samaila, a month after the incident demanding an undisclosed amount for ransom.
One of the negotiators, however, explained that the release was a result of negotiations and not a dime was paid to the abductors.
“I am very happy today that we have been rescued because where we are coming from, we have come from a place of darkness to light; that is why my heart is filled with joy because I have seen my family, friends, and associates,” Oyeleke told reporters at the office of the deputy governor of Borno State.
He added, “I stayed peacefully with them for up to seven months. Many times they have requested me to convert to Islam, their preachers had preached to me a lot of times but you know when you have wisdom, you relate with people in a way that would not lead to quarrels.
“When they come to preach, I pay attention to everything they have to say and when they ask me questions about things that I know will cause problems if I respond, I always tell them I don’t know so that I don’t say things that would offend them.”
The deputy governor, Usman Kadafur, received the freed abductees and handed them over to their families at the Government House.
He noted that the duo would be made to undergo medical examinations and all necessary procedures.
Kadafur thanked the local negotiators and all the security operatives that took part in the successful proceedings and assured them that the state government would continue to explore the path of dialogue with the insurgents (Channels TV).