I’d always thought of myself as a very cautious person who could avoid getting victimized by being careful. As the firstborn child to my parents, I grew up with too much of my mother’s warning about not talking to strangers to let go of my guard whenever I am around people I am not acquainted with. And because of this, I was able to stay out of trouble as I grew older.
Well, by 2018, I was 27 years old. I am a well-traveled man because of the nature of my work as a manager in my family business. In November, I met this guy named Abdul on Instagram and he was living in Kano at the time we got acquainted. I was in Abuja then and we’d been chatting for awhile.
When an opportunity presented itself for me to travel to Kano for a business meeting, I informed Abdul, telling him that I’d only be there for three days. I told him I’d be lodging in Grand Central Hotel, Kano, and we began making plans to meet.
As the day of my trip approached, I began to feel unwell. I was coming down with malaria. I couldn’t however let this interfere with my trip. It was an important issue that I was going to Kano to take care of and my father had trusted me to see it through. I couldn’t let him down.
I got to Kano and that first day, I was attending to my meetings. Abdul kept calling me, no doubt wanting to know when we could meet up. I finally texted him, letting him know that I would call him once I got back to the hotel. His reply was a surprise: he said he was at the hotel already. I was in my mind like: Wow, OK. Then I texted him back, that I would be there shortly.
I was really battling with my health and needed to rest from the trip. Plus the day had waned and some progress had been made with the issues we tackled during the first day’s meeting. So, I called the meeting to a close, apologizing and making my excuses to the other people in the room. They seemed understanding.
When I got back to the hotel, I met Abdul in the lobby. According to the hotel manager much later, he’d been sitting there for about an hour. We reacquainted ourselves with each other, this time face to face, and I took him up to my room. Once inside, he took off his clothes, leaving just his boxers, and then he slid unto the bed. It was all so fast and I was a little surprised. I shrugged it off, and took off my clothes as well before joining him on the bed.
Stuff happened. He came. I came. I was sick, and so, I didn’t really enjoy what we did. Thereafter, I went into the bathroom to wash up. I didn’t pay much attention, but I believe Abdul must have snuck to the door and filmed me while I was taking my bath.
I finished and came out to the bedroom. I was still naked, about to put on something, when a knock sounded on the door. Before I could react, Abdul had gotten to his feet and gone to open the door.
I want you to understand that most of everything I did in the next several hours was driven by a purely instinctive need to protect myself. Now, as I watched Abdul get up to go open the door, without looking at me to ask if I was expecting anyone, I immediately recognised the danger that was coming. And I did the first thing that was important: get dressed. I wasn’t about to let my vulnerability be heightened by my nakedness.
As I was getting dressed, the three guys were storming into the room. Even as my heart was racing, I tried to calm myself by thinking about how it would all probably come down to money. I’d heard about kito situations and I knew that if I played my cards right, I may get out of this without being seriously hurt.
Things happened as you would imagine. They were aggressive, a few slapping around, and then the talk about money. I told them I didn’t have any cash on me and that my transaction limit for the day had been exhausted. This was actually true; I had made a lot of transactions that day with both my ATM card and through transfer. All I had on me was five thousand naira, which I’d intended to give to Abdul when he leaves my hotel room.
So, there was no cash and no transfer. Things got heated as we started arguing. They were starting to get belligerent and I could see that they’d soon resort to beating me up. Fortunately, a knock sounded on the door. They immediately got silent and told me to shush. This was puzzling to me, because I would think that in a situation like this, they would welcome the drama of onlookers. When one of them opened the door, it was to a man who identified himself as a guest in the next room. He’d apparently been disturbed by the noise coming from my room and had come to investigate what was going on.
This was when I stopped thinking rationally and simply wanted to be free of the kito scum. Realizing that these guys shushing me meant they didn’t want the intrusion of other people, I suddenly began shouting at the man at the door that these guys were kidnappers. As I was shouting, the other guys in the room tried to pounce on me, but I was already on the move. I fought my way to the door. There was a bit of confusion now, and this enabled me to break past the one at the door outside.
I was running.
As I fled from my room, I continued shouting, for someone to call the police, that there were some guys trying to kidnap me. I was shouting as I ran, and I could hear the sounds of feet stomping on the ground behind me – a confirmation that Abdul and his guys were in pursuit.
I got downstairs, dashing past confused onlookers, past hotel staff and other guests. I was soon outside and out the gate. I just wanted to get away. I waved at a keke that was driving toward me, jumped into it and ordered the driver to just drive.
As he engaged his gear, I saw the guys running toward the gate. One of them saw me in the keke and he began shouting and pointing. We were ahead and when I looked back, I saw them scrambling into another keke. I turned to my driver and told him to lose them anyway he can. That he must not let their keke catch up to us. It was then I realized that there was a woman and her child already in the keke, and I began rattling off an explanation about how those were robbers who were trying to rob me. I didn’t even have my shoes on and I looked miserable enough for the woman to believe my story; she turned to the keke and encouraged him to move faster and ensure that those guys do not catch up to us.
After some crazy twists and turns, during which time we dropped off the woman and her child, we finally lost Abdul and his guys. And the keke driver took me back to my hotel.
Things were crazy at the hotel, with the hotel manager coming to me full of questions. My next door neighbour served as a convenient backup for my story of those guys coming to my room to kidnap me. An investigation was carried out using the CCTV cameras, as the hotel management tried to identify the guys. Not much came out of it, but I was able to get myself transferred to another room. The hotel management wanted me to file a complaint with the police, but I declined, saying I was fine, since I didn’t lose anything.
Meanwhile, the hoodlums kept calling me with threats that they would release the video that Abdul took of me bathing on the internet unless I comply with their demands. I called their bluff, telling them to go ahead and post the video. If they did, I never got to know; they soon stopped bothering me and I eventually finished my business in Kano and returned to Abuja.
Written by Ahmed