*Late Speaker finally buried Saturday night
By Tunde Sulaiman
Fresh information reaching New Telegraph on Sunday morning indicate that family members of the abducted widow of Zakawanu Garuba, a former Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hassana are yet to receive any word on her status.
It had been reported late Saturday night that Hasana was among three persons allegedly rescued by the Kogi State police.
William Aya, Spokesman of the Kogi Police Command, had confirmed that three persons were rescued but he did not disclose their identities.
However, close family members confirmed early Sunday that they were in the dark concerning the reports of her release.
“Yes we have read online and watched on television reports that she (Hassana) had been released, but as we speak, we are yet to receive any information to that effect,” explained the family member.
New Telegraph also exclusively learnt that Hassana was abducted with her driver.
Sadly, this will be the second time that she would be kidnapped. A few years ago, when still a magistrate, she was abducted around the Benin Bypass, while on her way to work.
Although she was not harmed, her police orderly was, however, shot in the arm.
The former magistrate was kept for a number of days before being released after ransom was paid.
In the latest incident, Hassana was abducted on her way to her late husband’s burial on Saturday. The incident took place along the Abuja-Lokoja Expressway.
Her husband, who was Speaker of the Edo assembly between 2007 and 2009, had died in Abuja, earlier that morning.
The deceased’s mother, his wife and her son and some family members were conveying his remains to Edo for burial, in accordance with Islamic rites, when the incident happened.
According to family sources, while some of the family members were able to escape by fleeing into the bush, the gunmen released his aged mother, but abducted Hassana and her driver.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has expressed shock over the incident, demanding the release of the captives.
In a statement signed by Crusoe Osagie, his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, the governor called on the police to secure the victims’ rescue.
“Governor Godwin Obaseki is deeply saddened by this incident, which he described as distressing more so, with the passing of Rt. Hon. Zakawanu Garuba, earlier today,” the statement read.
“He has ordered the Police Command to ensure that the kidnap victims are rescued. The Commissioner of Police has contacted his Kogi State counterpart and leading the rescue operation.”
Meanwhile, the late former Speaker was finally laid to rest in his house in Auchi at about 10pm on Saturday.