|Dr Imam [in captivity]
Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye writes,
After more than seventeen weeks since armed terrorists besieged the AK9 train services and took almost half of the passengers onboard captive, scores of them remain in their dreaded custody, away from the warmth of familiar faces and surroundings.
PEN PRESS confirmed, through a video making rounds on social media platforms, that the captives suffer untold hardships at the hands of their cold-blooded abductors. The video showed the exuberant terrorists whipping the seated victims and drawing wails from innocent people.
The video also captured the now languid appearance of the once glowing Director of the Centre for Advanced Medical Research and Training – Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (CAMRET UDUS), Dr Mustapha Umar Imam, who is one of the victims of the miscreants’ atrocities.
Like other passengers, Dr Imam had met with a poignant fate on his way to Kaduna on March 28. To date, his relatives, friends, and colleagues await his release. While the video in circulation might console them that he is alive, his life remains under threat as captivity wilts him. The threat of the terrorists’ spokesperson, as the video shows, to ‘turn the hideout into an abattoir’ should the government fail to fulfil their demands is terrifying.
This ugly situation begs the question of whether the Nigerian government will continue to watch whilst people like Dr Imam, who has dedicated his life to the service of humanity, hang delicately. His abduction has truncated his research on anti-colon cancer products, which will better the lives of the human race.
|a snapshot of Dr Imam’s Researchgate page
However, this research is just one of his many endeavours to ensure that others are in good medical conditions. He put his life on the line, working the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. This daring sacrifice came after he left his Assistant Professorship role at the Zhengzhou University in China, returning to Nigeria on request to teach at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
Whilst giving an exclusive interview to PEN PRESS, Professor Ibrahim Magawata, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, disclosed that the university management has been “in the know since when it [Dr Imam’s abduction] happened”.
“We are doing our best. We are in touch with his families also,” he revealed that they were working on securing Dr Imam’s release.
Reacting to how the management intended to handle the situation, he assured PEN PRESS that “we [the management] are on course.”
However, he wouldn’t provide details of their action plan as they need to be discreet about it.
A colleague extolled the virtues of Dr Imam, unable to believe that the government would leave someone like him to suffer such a fate without stepping in to secure his release.
Dr Imam is “Gentle, a great teacher, a patriotic Nigerian who returned home (from abroad) to teach and a prolific researcher with over a hundred publications in high-impact journals.”
Those were the words of Professor Jimoh Olaiya Amzat, a Sociology professor at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, who has worked closely with the abductee on different university assignments. He is hopeful that the arrangements to secure his release are fruitful.