Gunmen abduct ex-minister, husband
A former Minister of the Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam and her husband, Pius, have been kidnapped at gunpoint between Jere in Kaduna State and Bwari in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The abduction was confirmed by family and police sources yesterday.
A family source, who asked not to be named, said in a telephone interview that Laurentia, 65, who was Chairman, Zangon-Kataf Local Council of Kaduna State between 1999 and 2002, was taken away alongside her 77-year-old husband after their driver put up a resistance and was shot and wounded by the gunmen.
He said: “The minister was returning to Kaduna from Abuja about 7:00 p.m. on Monday. She was in her Sport Utility Van (SUV) with her husband. Before reaching Jere junction, they ran into a roadblock mounted by gunmen in mufti. It was not the only vehicle stopped; there were many other vehicles.
“ I was lucky that I noticed unusual number of vehicles parked far away and I stopped to appraise the situation because I was also returning home same time with her. I later heard gunshots a few minutes later. It then dawned on me that there was a robbery going on. I managed to steer and return to the direction I was coming from.
“They took their time to operate, maybe about an hour and I was really shocked that no police or army personnel showed up. After they left and vehicles started moving, I saw all kinds of belongings on the ground.
“It was after I got home in Kaduna that I was told that Laurentia Mallam and her husband were kidnapped. Their driver tried to stop their abductors but was shot in the shoulder. He is in hospital now.
“This morning (Tuesday), they had made contact with one of her daughters and are demanding for N10 million ransom. The husband is not in the best of health and I pray they get out safely.”
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Police Command’s spokesman, ASP Aliyu Usman, said: “I can confirm to you that the former minister was kidnapped with her husband. We are very much working towards their release as we are closing in on the kidnappers. That is all I have to tell you for now.”