How Sultan, others gave me lifeline after IPOB killed my family— Jibril

From Kabiru R. Anwar, Yola

Since the murder of his pregnant wife, Harira, by suspected militants of the outlawed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in Anambra State, exactly a year ago, 45-year-old Jibril Ahmed has suffered agony. He only found solace in the moral and financial support he received from individuals and groups.

Jibril, an indigene of Adamawa State, who worked as a security guard at the house of an Igbo man in Anambra, for seven years, had won the trust of Godwin, his employer.

He was said to have carried out his duties with passion while relating peacefully with members of his host community in Umuze, Urumba South Local Government Area of the state.

He said he enjoyed living in Igboland until the unprovoked gun attack on his wife, Harira and four daughters, aged between nine and two years.

In an interview with Daily Trust, in his home town, Ganye, in Adamawa State, Jibrin said he had been traumatised and weighed down by the gruesome murder of his entire family, but that supportive advice, show of love and financial assistance he received from the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and other individuals and groups helped to ease the pain.

“It is exactly a year since my pregnant wife and my four children were gunned down by IPOB militants in Anambra State. My wife, Harira and my daughters, Fatima 9, Khadija 7, Hajijatu 5 and Zaituna, 2 were killed.

“She always preferred staying at home and the day she went out for a visit she did not come back. Life has not been the same with me since the incident, but I manage to survive with the help of His Eminence, the Sultan and other good people who gave me a sense of belonging,” he added.

He recalled how he suffered from lack of sleep, chest pain and nightmares, following the tragic incident until he met some good Nigerians who helped him deal with the situation. He said he couldn’t wait to express his gratitude to all the people who stood by him.

How my new life started

As an ordinary guardsman, who abruptly relocated from the east, Jibrin returned to his village to live with his brothers and other members of his extended family in the house left behind by his late father.

But he received a phone call that would lead him all the way to the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto.

Narrating his journey to the seat of the caliphate, Jibrin said a stranger using an unknown number called to inform him that His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto offered to host him at his palace in Sokoto.

He couldn’t believe the news and his first reaction was how to raise the transport fare to Sokoto, but the caller assured him that arrangements had been made for him to fly from Yola Airport. The next day he was airborne and the journey was real.

Being the first time he travelled by air, the flight to Abuja was an adventure and a distraction from his recurring thoughts of Harira whom he described as an obedient and loving wife.

To his surprise, an airport staff waited to receive him in Abuja to help him board another flight to Sokoto.

“Upon my arrival in Sokoto, two men picked me up at the airport to a luxurious apartment where I stayed. I chose from a variety of dishes for the first time in my life. I felt highly honoured, I felt as if I was in another world.

A respected traditional title holder, Sadaukin Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Lawal Maidoki, has been my contact with the Sultan.

“In the evening, I was ushered to meet the Sultan in his palace.

He commiserated with me and advised me to leave everything to Almighty Allah and to be strong.

His Eminence said I should not allow what happened to ruin my future. We had a great chat. He is really a good man and an exceptional leader.

“The Sultan of Sokoto bought a house for me in Ganye, the headquarters of Ganye Local Government Area and supported me financially. In fact, he also gave me N500,000 to remarry and when I was sick, he sponsored my treatment through the Sadaukin Sokoto.

He is a father to me, he is doing everything to assist me,” he said.

After spending three weeks and celebrating last year’s Eid-el-Kabir in Sokoto, Jibrin said he went back home with unforgettable memories from the Sallah festival in Sokoto. He also saw some unique cultural activities there, including their way of sharing Sallah meat which is distinct from that of other places he knew.

Jibrin observed that Sokoto people were so generous they roasted their Sallah meat outdoors and shared it with other people.

More support

Jibrin further stated that when the tragedy happened, the Anambra State governor sent him a donation of N500,000.

Others, including a senator, donated some money through his brother while Jibrin’s former employer, Godwin, who lives abroad also sent him N170,000 to transport the corpses, before a decision was eventually taken to bury them in Anambra to avoid causing tension in the North.

“One Hajiya in Abuja and her group assisted me with the sum of N903,000. And I really appreciate that. A church group in Mayo-Belwa Local Government in Adamawa donated N160,000 to me. while the ruler of Ganye, the Gangwari Ganye and three council chairmen of Ganye, Jada and Toungo local areas together contributed N150,000 to me.

I am also grateful to the SDP governorship candidate, Dr Umar Ardo, for bringing the SDP presidential candidate to my in-laws’ house, where he donated N1 million out of which the family gave me N190,000.

“My future plan is to leave my village, Yelwa to settle in my new house in Ganye town and open a provision store. I cannot go back to Anambra despite appeals from my employer who promised to come down to visit me in the village when he returns to the country in December. I was the person looking after his house, and since I left, he refused to employ another person, all the while waiting for me to return.

He had been kind to me, he paid my salary on time, fed my family and paid the school fees of my children.”

Jibrin called on the federal government to ensure adequate security of lives and property in every corner of the country, while urging all militant groups to drop their arms and treat every Nigerian as their brother, irrespective of where they come from.

He further expressed delight over improved security in Adamawa State which he attributed to the commitment of the state governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and the security agencies.

Jibrin is currently engaged in subsistence farming on a family’s piece of land in his home village in Adamawa State.

“I am currently working on a family farm in Yelwa because I am the one supporting my five siblings and their children. Since the death of my parents, I took up the responsibility as the eldest son.”

When contacted, one of Jibrin’s friends, Godwin, commended the Sultan for assisting him to rebuild his life after the tragic loss he suffered.

“We extend our feelings of gratitude to the Sultan for assisting one of us to recover after what happened to him. He has now remarried. You know, here in Ganye, there are Muslims and Christians in the same family living together. We call on all Nigerians to live in peace and respect one another.






Media Trust Limited