Written by Mansur Sani Malam:
* After brush with robbers
Shock, dismay and pain enveloped much of Nigeria last night with news of the sudden death of Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, a former governor of Kano State in the Second Republic and factional leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state. Rimi, a former minister of communications and one of Nigeria’s most charismatic politicians, died yesterday in Kano following a heart attack he sustained after a brush with armed robbers.
His death came four years after the gruesome murder of his first wife, Sa’adatu, by unidentified persons.
Though details of the incident were sketchy last night, Rimi was said to be returning from Bauchi where he had attended the turbaning ceremony of the new Emir of Dass when he and his two co-travellers ran into the robbers around 10 p.m. at Kwanar Darki, near Takai in Wudil Local Government Area of Kano State.
According to family sources, the robbers shot into the air repeatedly in order to scare their victims. Rimi, who had a history of heart problem, was traumatised by the incident especially when he saw the injury inflicted by the brigands on one Alhaji Salisu, a relation of his who accompanied him on the trip.
The robbers were said to have seized money and other valuables from Rimi, Alhaji Salisu and the former governor’s driver.
After the robbery, according to the source, the three travellers were allowed to proceed on their journey. But by then Rimi’s heart condition had returned and he had to be rushed to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano City.
He died around 12 midnight on the way to the hospital. His relations took the body away as soon as a doctor confirmed the death.
Rimi was 69 years old.
Public relations officer of the Kano State Police Command, SP Baba Muhammad, confirmed the incident to LEADERSHIP last night.
The late politician’s house on Durbin Katsina Road had begun to be filled by relations, political associates and other sympathisers soon after the sad news broke. They included notable figures such as Musa Gwadabe, Bayero Gano, Mohammed Abacha, and Bello Mahmud (who was said to have planned to travel to Bauchi together with Rimi but couldn’t make it due to an unforeseen circumstance).
They were expected to keep vigil at the house throughout the night and await his burial this morning.
Asked to comment on the incident, the deceased’s political associate, Alhaji Bello Mahmud, told LEADERSHIP: “We cannot comment now. Wait until we are back to our senses, please.”
Rimi left behind a wife, children and grandchildren.
It would be recalled that Rimi’s first wife, Sa’adatu Rimi, was knifed to death inside her room in 2006.
Rimi married the widow of a former secretary to the Kano State government later, but the marriage did not last. He married his current wife not long ago.
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