Former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed is presently in the eye of the storm. Some aggrieved members of his family have exposed how the controversial minister piled his various garages with his loots, which are hid in cars.
The family members, namely Sadiq CK and Abdulrashid, Garba Y.M and Baba Manu discovered one of the many places the ex-minister hides his loot. It was gathered that Sadiq CK and his three other family members have laboured so much for Bala and his wife, Hajia Lami, during the six years of his uneventful tenure as the FCT minister. Unfortunately, they were said to have gained nothing from their closeness to the erstwhile influential minister. This is in spite of the constant influx of money, that was usually brought in a cash van to Bala’s houses, almost on a weekly basis. On the contrary, Bala’s wife, Hajia Lami and his sons- Shamshuddeen, Ahmad and Abdullahi a.k.a Dulas, who are reported to be in to possession of millions of naira in hard currency, live flambouyantly and cruise around town in expensive cars. Somehow, when Sadiq CK and his three cousins felt they deserved to have a share in the loot too, they broke into one of the cars, and stole N308 million. They were not so lucky. Bala Muhammed, who was away in Saudi Arabia, when the heist took place got them arrested and forced them to vomit every penny they stole.
In this exclusive anonymous interview with one of victims, he reveals how they discovered over N3 billion in foreign currency in a Toyota Jeep in one of the many guest houses of the former minister and the inside story of what actually transpired. Excerpts:-
What actually happened on that fateful night?
As it was reported earlier, it involves four of us and we are all very close to the former minister, Bala Muhammad and his wife. In fact we are their blood. We were frustrated and couldn’t even afford decent clothes to wear and some of us that have families could hardly feed them. It may surprise you to know that Bala’s children are not only our close relatives but our good friends. But we benefit nothing from them and their parents. We know some of the places Bala Muhammad used to keep his money because on many occasions they used to bring it to him in our presence. Bala also has a lot of money hidden in the house of his elder brother, Alhaji Adamu Duguri Wakilin Bauchi. So we targeted the one he kept in a Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep in his Wuse Zone 1 Bamako street guest house. He did a huge disguise as there are many cars then in the house and one might not notice which one contained the cash if you are not close insider. It was a 2015 Toyota Jeep and that particular car was parked carelessly in the house. But we knew what was inside and so we planned to get our own share, since they were not planning to give us anything, no matter how much they have.
So how did you open the car?
We suspected it was a bullet proof car. We went through the glass of the back seat but couldn’t open it until we forced and broke the glass silently. We didn’t use any chemical to open the glass as the SMS Alert reported earlier. I was the one that first saw the content in the car when we finally broke the glass. Wallahi, I nearly fainted because I have never seen that kind of money in my entire life. We cannot count the number of small bags we saw inside the car. All of them are filled with US dollars and Pound Sterling. So we just took 14 bundles of US dollars which is exactly 140 wrappers and when converted to naira it is equivalent to N308 million. We were confused and scared of what we saw because none of us ever stole a penny. It is not in our character. So, out of fear, we hurriedly left the scene and the car with a broken glass which was why it was discovered within few hours by the two police men in the house.
Do you know the name of the police officers on guard that discovered the glass of the Jeep was vandalized?
Yes, their names are Ibrahim and Benjamin. We understand later that they also took and hide some wrappers before they alerted the house keeper.
So what happen next? How did Bala discover that it was you people that vandalized the Jeep?
The police saw us when we came in and when we were going out so we were naturally the primary suspects. And instead of us to disappear all of us decided that one of us should remain in the house to monitor the aftermath of what will happen so that if there was no alarm, we will conclude that it is safe for us. So, the three of us took 90% of the money we took from the Jeep and rushed from Abuja to Bauchi for safe keeping and left one of us. When Ibrahim and Benjamin eventually raised alarm, our colleague was there and then apprehended by Bala’s security. Bala was in Saudi Arabia that time for the lesser Hajj and before he took action, your paper exposed the matter in your SMS Alert. So, he was so worried and decided to leave Saudi the following day. Bala was so afraid that he even told the security men to allow us with the cash because the revelation by DESERT HERALD had devastated him. But his elder brother Adamu Duguri whom we also know that he has been shortchanging Bala, insisted that he must not allow us to go away with such amount of money. And so they apprehended the three of us in Bauchi.
Who actually apprehended you?
It was not official. Bala Muhammad used his escort commander to scare us. They even forced us to swear by the holy Qur’an. We were afraid, so we confessed that we indeed broke the car and took the money.
Did you people give them the money?
Bala Mohammed son
Yes we did. There was nothing we could do. They threatened us and we were afraid because we are not used to anything like that- arrest, interrogation etc. We first returned eight out of the 14 bundles of the US dollars and then gave them additional four bundles when the threat and the pressure became unbearable. The remaining two bundles were earlier converted to naira and deposited in one of our friends’ bank account. But under intense duress, when they finally brought us to Abuja from Bauchi, Bala used his contacts after we revealed to him the bank the money was deposited and eventually everything was withdrawn leaving us with nothing and a tarnished image. The money that was withdrawn was later deposited in an account his wife, Hajia Lami was using.
What is the nature of the account?
It’s an NGO account, named Al-Muhibbat Foundation. Hajia Lami is the only authorized signatory to that account. Al-Muhibbat was registered in the name of her children.
Is it true that the SSS has finally invited you to Abuja for questioning regarding the matter?
Yes, they have, and I think it was motivated by the DESERT HERALD revelation. We were there last week Friday but we were not arrested and they (SSS) treated us very well.
What actually happened at the SSS headquarters?
I am not suppose to reveal it here but all I can tell you is that before we went, Bala has tried desperately to reach out to us. He even called us severally before we reached Abuja from Bauchi but we know that he wanted to implicate us, to force us to lie and to exonerate himself. The SSS people warned us not to lie to them when we reached there. They said they have all the details of what actually happened. So we told them the truth of exactly what happened and we put same into writing. But please don’t quote me because even now Nigerians should know that our lives are in danger. Bala is bragging that the SSS cannot do anything to him because he has bought over the investigation and that the matter will die a natural death.