A defence correspondent with one of the national dailies, Okodili Ndidi, narrowly escaped death at the weekend when gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terror group raided his home in Abuja.
Ndidi who narrated his harrowing experience to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, said he had been receiving death threats, following his report on the killing of top ISWAP commander, Alhaji Modu, aka Bem Bem, by the Nigerian military.
He said the terrorists stormed his home in Karshi, on the outskirts of Abuja, around 7 pm, shortly after he returned from work on Friday.
According to him, the terrorists who came on motorcycles were shouting “Allah hu Akbar”, a popular slogan used by Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters.
“I just got back from work on Friday evening and was packing out my laptop and other items from the car when I heard the sound of approaching motorcycles. Out of curiosity, I peeped through the gate to see over six motorcycles riding down the dusty road that led to my house and that was quite unusual. So I had to scale the fence and escaped.”
“From where I was hiding, I could hear them banging on the gate and chanting Allah hu Akbar, as I hid there, I was praying that my wife and kids should not come back, they stayed for over 40 minutes before they drove off. Shortly after they left, I was still in my hideout when I heard my wife driving in with the kids.
“Before the incident, I have been leaving in fear; it has been tormenting because I don’t when I may be hit by the terrorists’ bullet or be abducted and maybe slaughtered like an animal,” he said.
Okodili who recalled that two of his colleagues were abducted by the terrorists in Borno State, the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2020, said he had been receiving death threats from unknown persons who have been calling him with unregistered phone numbers.
“I have reported to the Police but I know there is little they can do to protect me and my family under this circumstance. I have gone into hiding with my wife and children and one of my greatest worries is that my children won’t return to school with their contemporaries for fear that they may be abducted.
“I am appealing to the authorities to come to my rescue, it is really traumatizing. As a journalist, covering the ongoing anti-terror war has severally exposed me to danger but not to this extent. I am worried but I won’t give up until the terrorists are defeated,” he said.