By Umar Haruna Tami
We have already lost count of how many times kidnappers came and abducted people from different locations in Funtua. Still, the ease with which they carry out their operations day by day is alarming. The two successful kidnappings that occurred in the past weekend – Saturday’s in a single house near GRA, Sunday’s in mass in Sabuwar Abuja – symbolise the fragility of the security agents that are meant to protect the town and its people from these monsters.
The security agents and the residents of almost every community have already been defeated through fear. Even a rumour of kidnappers’ presence sends fear around the town and that with a single gunshot, everyone would end up running for their life. Even the “‘Yan Karota” volunteers’ confidence to confront the monsters has since been defeated upon realising that the machine guns the kidnappers carry cannot, in any way, match the plug-bulleted ones they have. Thus, they too run for their lives, even though what they do defines good citizenship.
So a city as big as Funtua, with routes linking it to many towns and villages from East, West, South and North, is under security threat. These links make it easier for the kidnappers to make away with whoever they have successfully carried with little chance of being tracked and attacked. This also makes their operations tricky to thwart in poor-populated areas.
They failed to conduct only two operations that targeted Rabe Sale’s children and that of NAK’s family. But the abortions of these two kidnap attempts have anything to do with the connection between the would-have-been victims and the reserved soldiers brought to the town for special operations simply because they are aristocrats.
But what would be the fate of community members that have already been defeated by the fear of being potential victims of kidnappers even when they shut and lock their doors but have no connection to the soldiers for emergency aid and one of those elites happens to not live among them? The latest kidnap of over ten people in Sabuwar Abuja at only 10 pm — thank God that the captors released them — signifies nothing bolder than the community’s vulnerability and the limited chances the sophisticated security agents have to abort their operations or exchange fire with them. But, on the other hand, they now have the assurance that it wouldn’t cost them much to do whatever they want and at any time!
What Funtua communities need now, just as the other Northern communities need, is making available the reachable lines of those special forces for emergencies. Second is the provision of more of these agents—both the soldiers and policemen — with weapons they can use to repel the kidnappers’ attacks in areas not far from where their help could be needed in time. Third we, the community members, need to reduce the extent of our collective fear for the kidnappers that we can stand up to them, not always run away. It is time for us to start being responsible for where our political choice has landed us.
Umar Haruna Tami wrote from Funtua, Katsina State. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.