Notorious bandit leader Dogo Gide is said to have married eleven of the abducted students at Federal Government College Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State.
Sani Kaoje, the father of one of the students, Farida Kaoje, 16, revealed this in an exclusive interview with PremiumTimes.
Recall that on June 17, 2021, terrorists invaded the school and kidnapped more than 90 students and teachers from the school.
Immediately after the attack, the army announced the rescue of five students and two teachers. Two days later, three students and a teacher were rescued by the military. Two students also escaped from the terrorist camp.
In October, the Kebbi state government said it had secured the release of 30 students through dialogue with the terrorists.
The government said it was making efforts to release the rest of the girls. In January 2022, terrorists released another 30 students following further mediation with the government.
In the interview, the retired civil servant turned farmer revealed why the bandit leader behind the kidnapping married off the remaining 11 girls, including his daughter, Farida.
“Farida is one of my children. She is now 16 (she was 15 when she was abducted). She was in JSS three. I have 19 living children including her. Farida is the 15th of my children. I have three wives,” he says.
“I was having breakfast in the morning when Farida’s mother ran into my room screaming. She said she had heard that FGC Birnin Yauri had been attacked and students had been abducted. I rushed at school and I met other parents there.At first the school management and security guards refused us entry but then they let us in after confirming that we had children at school
“An hour after the abduction, Farida called me on her friend’s phone. She said to me, “Baba, we were abducted and they said they were taking us to a forest in Zamfara State. I calmed her down, told her God would save them from all harm, that was the end of our conversation at the time.
He confirmed that there had been an alert that the students would be removed.
“Even Dogo Gide himself told me that he wrote to the school twice before attacking him. They just weren’t serious about it. But he said he alerted them “The school, I was told, said the letters were written by students. I’m not sure how they handled it since I wasn’t a part of it,”
“But this school is obviously vulnerable to attack. These bandits are following behind the school walls to perpetrate violence on other communities. The signs were there. The authority should have known that the school would soon be attacked,” he added.
Some of the students were rescued by security guards while others were fired after ransom payments or other agreements with the state government. When asked why his own child had not been released, he replied;
“I don’t understand the way this government is doing things. I thought when they were carrying out the rescue operations, they first focused on rescuing the girls because of their vulnerability. They should have negotiated and get the girls first, but they didn’t,” he added.
“What I know is that whoever you have seen now has been rescued by the government. The Governor (Kebbi State) did his best immediately after the kidnapping. He did his best and the first set was brought back and he did it the second time around
“We waited hoping they would save our child but we didn’t hear anything. Nobody tells us anything anymore. Even when we tried to reach them they were telling us that the Governor is gone to Abuja. Will not answer to their phones
“I don’t know if others were invited or allowed to go and see them (the government), especially the state government secretary, but I don’t know if there was anything like but I haven’t met any.
Mr Kaoje said he found out his daughter had been married off through the terrorist leader who contacted him.
“It was he (M. Dogo) who told me directly by telephone. Dogo Gide knows Yauri very well because he lived here and he told me that he married Farida himself although he wasn’t very direct about it. But he used some techniques to tell me that he married the 10 girls to others but as for Farida, she is taken care of by him. He didn’t said directly but he said “even if I die, these are people who can inherit Farida from my house” He was just telling me that he married her
“I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken to him since the kidnapping. He kept threatening to marry the remaining eleven girls if the state government refused to pay him. He told me called several times with the same threat He called He pretended to have sympathy for us, but he kept our children, innocent girls, with him If he has that much sympathy he keeps to repeat, he should give us back our children.
“The government has not done well either because this problem should have been fixed by now. If it was the children of the privileged, they must have saved them by now. The governor must listen to us directly and not through some people. I am serious. I am in pain. Everyone in my house is suffering because Farida is like a light in the house. I know several parents who have fallen ill because of this problem. We are talking about children, all teenagers, innocent children by the way
“You can’t imagine the situation we find ourselves in. Farida’s mother was sick. One day she fell and had to be taken to hospital. Some parents lost their lives. Others are struggling now against high blood pressure and other related diseases.
“I know one of the parents, Mr John, he can’t even count the money now because he’s depressed. His business has collapsed. He’s my friend and this kidnapping has affected him. Her daughter, Rebecca, is Farida’s girlfriend and she’s there too, we go to bed and wake up in misery thinking about the unknown.
“I can’t even focus on my business (farming). We can’t focus on our family members now because we are always thinking about how to get the kids out. My fish farming has been the most touched because I can’ On the other farms, I didn’t even bother to find out if we were working there this year because the tension is too high
“Nobody takes us seriously. It’s a federal government school, but what did the Minister of Education do or even say? They just left us to our fate as if nothing had happened and our children were always with us.
When asked if Dogo Gide had ever asked him and others to pay a ransom for their children, Mr. Kaoje replied; In fact, we begged him to allow us to negotiate the ransom but he said he would not touch our money and insisted that he would only touch the government money. The first time he told me that if the government did not give him 100 million naira he would marry off the girls, I begged him to let his parents and relatives negotiate with him, but he refused. Every time he called I begged him to let us pay but he always refused.
“Once he reduced the ransom to 50 million naira and some motorbikes but still he said that the intermediaries with the government did not respond to them that is why they decided to marry off our children.
“As I told you earlier we talk a lot with him and he said he reduced the ransom to 50 million naira and 30 motorbikes but they still refused to give the bandits so they can release our daughters for us I have nothing to say because this democracy has failed us, what would the government say to us now since it cannot protect our daughters?
“He said he had a problem with the government and the government was not responsible, and he would only demand a ransom from them. If you have a problem with the government, why kidnap innocent children? He should bother the government people and not the poor. The students he kidnapped were all innocent.
When asked if he had spoken to his daughter while she was in captivity and if she had confirmed that they were married, Mr. Kaoje replied; “Yes. And it breaks my heart to even remember her voice. We talked a lot with her. And I cry every day that he (Mr Gide) called and let us talk with her. In one of these calls, she said, “Baba, there is a problem because some of my friends have been married.” After that, Dogo Gide himself confirmed to us that they had been married since the government refused to pay them.
“ We have just resorted to prayer for Allah to intervene. It’s out of our control because they said that since the government refused to pay them, they would marry them off for good. But we want our kids to come home and we’ll keep praying cause it’s the only way out