Aisha Ahmadu, 14, mysteriously disappeared in Gembu, Mambila Plateau, Taraba State, last January, and reappeared in Akure, Ondo State, this April.
She was not transmuted to the South-Western city by some beings. She was allegedly transported there by a suspected evil man. He was alleged to have abducted her, apparently for ritual purposes, but now she has returned with symptoms of a pregnancy.
The fair-complexioned starry-eyed spinster was, according to her cousin, Mohammed Sulaiman, the pride of her parents and community.
She had hugged her books in the midmorning of the fateful Saturday by the end of the month , and left home for the Islamiyya School. She and her brother could not remember the exact date.
Unknown to her, her abductor, lurking in his car around the corner to accost her, was all-observant to ensure that she, or any other girl he might be on the lookout for, never passed by him unnoticed, or she never took any other path to school.
He beckoned at her. The apparently bewitched Aisha immediately paced towards him. As soon as she was by the door of the front seat, he opened it for her. She stooped in and sat by him. He snatched her books and hid them in a part of the car .
From then on, she became a moron. He drove off with her to, allegedly, hatch his evil plans. She did not regain her memory until about a week later at a village in the vicinity of Akure, Ondo State. But nothing was heard of her at home until about three months after her disappearance.
Aisha understands very little Hausa. She narrated her story through the elder cousin, Mohammed Sulaiman, who was immediately dispatched to Akure to bring her back home by their parents, hours after they heard about her resurfacing about a thousand kilometers away from the acclaimed Nature's Gift to the Nation.
This reporter met them recently in Benin City, where they had gone to in search of assistance.
Mohammed thought he would be much more lucid in the narration of his sister's ordeal in the hands of her abductor. He, therefore, offered to speak before her, advising that she should speak after him, to recount only the few things he might have forgotten, as was told to him immediately on his arrival in Akure.
He recounted how he traced Aisha when he arrived in Akure.
"I boarded different vehicles between home and Akure. Until this time, I have never been to Akure. Therefore, as I journeyed along, I never failed to ask questions on the right direction leading there," he narrated, continuing, "when I arrived there, I asked and was directed to the quarters where Northerners and the Fulani reside. When I got there, I continued asking questions about her for a few days, until I was fortunate to locate her."
According to Mohammed, "I was not just dispatched to head for Akure aimlessly. Someone in Akure first announced her whereabouts when he called his friend in Gembu, notifying us that she was still alive, and she was in a town called Akure in Kasar Yarabawa (the land of the Yoruba people), where she regained her memory, to find that she was abandoned by her abductor. I found her there, but could not find her abductor."
He recounted Aisha's abduction story, as he gathered it from her ,and the people with whom she found some succour in Akure.
"She told me that the man who succeeded in accosting her, called her on her way to the Islamiyya school," Mohammed narrated, continuing, "he immediately snatched from her the books she was holding and hid them.
"We believe he hid her somewhere in Gembu for some days before he finally sneaked out with her," he narrated further, "no one, not even she, knew the roads he followed on his way to Akure in the number of days they journeyed between Gembu and Akure, in how many locations they might have sojourned, whether Akure was his actual destination or not, or he just abandoned her there due to whatever limitations he might have encountered in his effort to take her any farther, and whatever nasty things he might have done to her before abandoning her."
He emphasized: "No one wants to imagine whatever nasty things he might have done to her.But the symptoms I have observed on her are certainly pointers to one of those things. Whatever he did to her, he abandoned her at a ward in the vicinity of Akure. I don't know the name of that ward.
"Even when I saw her a few days ago, with the help of someone who suspected she was the person I was searching for, she was still substantially under the influence of the bewitchment. When I called her name, she only gaped at me, weeping, unable to mention my name, but apparently glad I had come to rescue her," Mohammed narrated, going further, "the only thing she could utter was that she was hungry. It became obvious to me that she had not eaten for God knows the length of time.
"So, the first thing I did was to immediately buy food for her with the money collected for me by our parents and kinsmen at home. Some money was given to me when I was to come to Akure, but I have forgotten how much it was, because I left home confused and in a hurry. We have now run out of any cash. I have spent all my money on food. That is why we have come to Benin, to plead with our Fulani kinsmen to collect money for us to go home."
Mohammed said his sister could not tell him anything about what her abductor did to her, before he abandoned her in Akure.
"I asked her severally, but she always replied she had no memory to record what the man did to her since the time he beckoned at her in Gembu. He rendered her a moron. She did whatever he ordered her to, without her knowing what she was doing," he said.
"She later described her abductor, and I have relayed this to the Mambila community. The entire community has resolved to deal with him appropriately. The community has resolved that he won't go unpunished. The community has resolved not to involve the police. It will punish him in its own way," he recalled.
Aisha then spoke in Fulfulde (Fulani language). Mohammed interpreted.
"It was on Saturday. The man, looking very vicious, beckoned at me and barked at me to get into the car. He snatched my books from my hand. Since then, I lost my memory. I did not regain it until after he abandoned me at a place on the outskirts of Akure," she narrated, continuing, "I did not know it was Akure because I had never been there. Some people told me where I was."
How did she get the phone number which she called?
"A day after I regained my memory, I roamed in the town to see anyone who resembled any of our people at the place where many Northerners reside. When I recounted my ordeal to people, they sympathized with me and I was taken to a house, where I stayed for some days. I had resigned to my fate. A man came into the house to buy soap from a petty trader there. As fate would have it, his attention was drawn to me, and he looked at me keenly and muttered that I had the resemblance of the people of Gembu. I immediately replied that I hailed from Gembu," Aisha narrated further.
She continued: "The man enquired about what brought me to Akure. I told him I didn't know whatever it was that brought me to Akure. All I could remember was that someone ordered me into his car in Gembu many days ago. The next thing I did was to open my eyes and find myself in Akure. The man asked if I knew any phone number I could call at home. I told him I did not. So he phoned someone at home to immediately relay the message to my parents that he had seen me in Akure. This is how my brother was immediately dispatched to take me back home."
Aisha complained: "I feel sick, but I cannot describe the sickness. But when I eat, I feel some nausea, as if I will vomit, and I feel dizzy. I don't know what it is, but people say I am pregnant. I have never experienced pregnancy. All I can remember is that since I regained memory, no man has touched me. Before that man abducted me in Gembu, no man had ever touched me."
Mohammed explained this situation: "When I observed this, I did not take her to any clinic. When we heard about her whereabouts, our parents prepared some traditional contraceptives to administer to her, suspecting that her abductor could have had carnal knowledge of her, because we cannot bear the gravity of the shame. This is what I have been administering to her, so that in case she has taken in, she can abort it.
Muhammad Usman Sosal is the Sarkin Fulani of Edo State.
"By the grace of God, we will do everything possible to help them go back home to their parents," he said.
He did not say more.