The murder of veteran broadcaster, Alhaji Hamisu Danjibga, will remain memorable not only to his family, but also to journalists working in Zamfara State.
Residents of Samaru community in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, were terrified on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, when the corpse of Danjibga was found inside a soak away in an Islamiyyah school two days after he was declared missing by his family.
A father of four and staff of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Danjibga went missing on Sunday, September 17, 2023, and two days after his corpse was found a few metres from his residence at the Samaru Quarters.
According to family sources, the late Danjibga was suspected to have been killed somewhere else before his corpse was dumped inside the soak away.
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According to his nephew, Malam Abdullahi Danjibga, they prayed the Magrib prayer together with the deceased on September 17, but that when they returned for the Isha’i prayer, he did not see him.
He explained that, “I assumed the rain prevented him from coming to the mosque for the 8pm prayer. On my way home, I stopped over at Danjibga’s house and checked on him. Habiba, a woman that stays with him in the same house, said he wasn’t around.
“I did not check on him the following day until after his eldest son, Suarajo, informed me on phone that they had called his father’s phone severally but that he did not pick.
“I went back to his house and asked Habiba when last she saw him. She said she checked his apartment around 9pm on the fateful Sunday and that the entrance was locked but she noticed some movement inside and so assumed that he was taking his bath.
“I and Habiba, therefore, entered his apartment and searched everywhere but we did not find him. What surprised us was that all the doors in the apartment were not locked and his car was parked in the garage, which suggested that he did not travel outside Gusau.
“So, after my findings, I informed his son and advised him to come to Gusau in order to further our search.
“However, while Surajo was at the motor park, he received a text message from an unknown number that his father was kidnapped and a N1m ransom was being demanded from the family.”
The text message that was written in Hausa language reads as follows: “Ku ne yan uwan Hamisu? To Allah ya ba mu nasarar kama shi, yana hannun mu, ba za mu yi waya da ku ba sai kun nemi miliyan 1 daya sai mu yi magana da ku. Kada kudinnan su wuce Juma’a; kuna ji ko?” Which literally means: “You are the relatives of Hamisu. We have succeeded in abducting him; he is with us. Until you get one million naira, we will not speak with you on phone. This money should be ready before Friday.”
And the second text message reads: “Sakon mu ya zo muku? In kun tashi karbar dan uwanku ku, kunemi miliyan bakwai. Ba shi da lafiya sai hararwa ya keyi.” Which simply means: “Our message has reached you? You should bring seven million naira whenever you are ready to free Hamisu. He is sick; he is vomiting.”
Danjibga’s nephew further said, “Therefore, when Surajo informed me about this development, I told him to proceed to Gusau. On his arrival, we moved to our uncle, Alhaji Ladan, who is a retired DSS staff. The three of us proceeded to the DSS command, Gusau, and lodged a complaint, and thereafter we reported the matter to the police.”
Meanwhile, the corpse of Danjibga was later discovered inside the soak away following a smell that polluted Samaru community and environs.
The nephew said, “I personally noticed the odour when I was passing the Islamiyyah school on my way home from the office. I met some residents and teachers of the school lamenting about the odour. And as a healthcare personnel, the first time I smelt it, I was convinced that it was for a dead person, because it was different from the odour of a dead animal.
“So, I advised the people to intensify search around the area. We never thought of discovering a corpse inside the soak away because it is a very shallow ditch and sealed with cement. But to our surprise, after we opened the soak away, Danjibga’s corpse was found inside.
“We recognised him by his trousers, fingers and legs. We also noticed signs of cuts around his neck and shoulders. From all indications, my uncle was killed somewhere before his killers dumped his corpse inside the trench.”
Daily Trust gathered that the late Danjibga was molested by his killers before he was killed. The killers were said to have strangled him by tightening a cable around his neck and then stabbed him with a knife about five times in the stomach. After ensuring that he was dead, the killers first took his corpse to the soak away about 20 metres away from his residence. But while trying to forcefully remove the slabs, a sick woman in a nearby house heard strange noise outside and woke her husband. While the husband was trying to open his door to find out what the noise was all about, the killers quickly left the area.
It was at this point that the assassins took the corpse to the Islamiyyah school, removed the concrete slab of its soak away and dumped it inside. And because of his size, the murderers had to cut off Danjibga’s knees to enable them put back the slabs.
Family, colleagues, neighbours react
Surajo, son of the deceased, told Daily Trust that, “I felt terribly sad when my father was found dead. But whenever I remember that he died as a martyr, I feel a sense of relief.
“My father was a generous, gentle and friendly person. He built a beautiful house for me in Danjibga village.
“Although we have lost our bread winner, Alhamdulillah, based on the training we received from him, life will continue without our father because we have left everything to God. We have all grown up and have something doing for a living.”
Alhaji Abubakar Ubale is a friend and neighbour to the deceased for 35 years. He described late Danjibga as an easy person that everyone would like to interact with.
He said, “My friend was a complete human being, honest, humble, gentle and calm. He lived in peace with everybody in this community. He never missed congregational prayers with us provided he was at home. That was why when we did not see him during the 8pm prayer on the day he was missing, we inquired from his nephew. I really lost a good friend and I am going to miss him a lot. He has impacted positively on the lives of many people in this community.”
Ubale appealed to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the police and the Zamfara State Government to stand firm and ensure that proper investigation was carried out until the real killers of the late broadcaster were arrested and brought to book.
He further said, “This case should not be allowed to be buried under the carpet. We do not know who would be the next target. But if the perpetrators are arrested and punished according to their offence, it will serve as deterrent to others.”
Alhaji Tanimu Ahmad, who lived with the deceased for over 15 years as a neighbour, said throughout his stay with the late Danjibga, he never witnessed a moment when he had a quarrel with someone.
Ahmad also appealed to the police not to spare anybody found connected with the murder of the late broadcaster.
He further said, “Government should spare no one in its investigation, and whoever is found wanting in committing this heinous crime should face the wrath of the law. All we want in this case is justice. The soul of this innocent gentleman should not be wasted just like that.”
Alhaji Kabara is a journalist and friend to late Danjibga, whom he met in 1996.
Kabara, who described the late broadcaster as a nice, honest and friendly person, said, “Alhaji Hamisu was a gentleman, industrious, hardworking and dynamic. The news of his death came to me as a great shock.”
Another colleague and Secretary of the NUJ, Zamfara State Council, Ibrahim Ahmad Gada, said, “The death of Alhaji Hamisu shocked every member of the union. We know death is inevitable, but the way and manner his body was molested by his killers is a disgrace to the humanity. You cannot imagine how a human being can be killed and molested in such a way. The union will work tirelessly to ensure that the security agencies bring the killers to justice. We will ensure that justice is done to the family and the union as well.”