By Musa Kalim Gambo
Before this kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism got to this scary stage, I consider(ed) Giwa my favourite and adopted Local Government in Kaduna State. This is a place where I have the largest number of friends in Kaduna State; many of these friends have come to assume the status of brothers to me. Not long ago, I visited Giwa frequently, almost weekly.
Now all things have changed. Giwa has become an epicentre of kidnapping and terror attacks on innocent individuals. Criminals attack people at home and on their farms; kill and abduct for a huge ransom. In the past few weeks alone, the rate of this criminality has intensified geometrically. Due to this tragic development, some villagers have been forcefully displaced. They have had to migrate to the Giwa town, which is relatively safer than their communities. About 3,000 of these displaced persons now take refuge in camps in Giwa town, Marabar Yakawada, and Yakawada. While a large number of the displaced persons have also moved to stay with their relatives in neighbouring towns of Sabon Gari and Zaria in Kaduna State and Funtua in Katsina State.
The families who have been sadly uprooted from their homes have obviously been denied access to the arable rural farmlands. Beyond the refugee crisis, this will result in an attendant shortage of food in the towns, which may eventually spill over to the rest of the country. Therefore, it is evident that life will not be easy for them in their camps and the host communities.
These refugees now have to contend with the gory reality in town, that while they run for their lives, they also definitely need food, medical attention and clothes to survive in their new temporary settlement. It has been reliably reported that the Giwa Local Government Chairman, Dr Abubakar Shehu Lawal, has made provisions for feeding them at various refugee camps in Giwa and across the Local Government. Also, Senator Uba Sani is reported to have delivered some relief items to the camps. This is indeed commendable. The local politicians have indicated a high level of commitment to responding to the plight of their people in distress.
However, all these are not enough. What is needed is a total end to this incessant spate of killings and kidnappings in Giwa. Within the week, this was one of the major issues raised on the floor of the House of Representatives by Honorable Shehu Balarabe, a member representing Giwa and Birnin Gwari federal constituency, in a motion of urgent public importance. Honourable Balarabe, in a very emotional tone conveying the gravity of the situation, highlighted the depth and dimension of the troubles and crises that these banditry, kidnapping and senseless killings have plunged his constituency in both Giwa and Birnin-Gwari. He called on the Federal government to direct all the relevant agencies to swing into action in order to address the crisis.
It is sad to note that the two Local governments that Honorable Shehu Balarabe represents at the House of Representatives are the two most dangerous places in Kaduna State in terms of banditry and kidnapping today. So it is easy to understand the difficult situation in which the Honorable finds himself as one of the voices of these people in Abuja. Birnin Gwari suffers way too much from the atrocious attacks of these bandits, and it also has its refugee crisis as well. However, I write on Giwa because of my deeper connection and access to the situation there.
So to an appreciable extent, it may well be concluded that the political leaders from Giwa are playing their roles to bring an end to this madness that has continued for too long. However, what remains is the commitment on the part of the federal government, which obviously does not seem to render any positive outcome yet. There has been a military presence in Giwa and other bandit infested communities. However, it has remained a puzzle that the criminals could still carry out attacks almost every day without any hindrance.
The month of Ramadan has just begun. While we keep calling on the governments at all levels to aid these communities in crises, it is also important for us to use this holy month to pray to Allah to provide succour and restore peace and sanity in the land. It is now evident that we should no longer pray for Allah to guide these criminals aright, no! They have unleashed an unforgivable magnitude of terror on our land. The least we can do now is pray for an eternal condemnation upon them, starting from here on earth. It should also be our point of prayer that whoever supports these criminals, in whatever way or means, from their informants’ right to the supply chain of their arms and ammunition, should face eternal perdition and body crippling afflictions here on earth before they meet their worse punishment in hell.
Finally, may Allah grant our leaders the will and ability to put in place the right measures to end these killings and kidnappings. At the same time, we should assist these displaced persons with the little we have in terms of food items and clothes; I have also seen a group of youths on Facebook led by the immediate past president of the Giwa Students Association, Nuhu Haruna mobilizing funds on Facebook to assist these displaced persons. We should contribute as much as we can.
Musa Kalim Gambo writes from Zaria and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.