By Zahraddeen Mallam Saleh.
The rise of kidnappings in Alakleri is one of the most pressing security issues in Bauchi State, yet underreported. Many villages in Gwana, Duguri, and Pali Districts suffer from the devastating criminal activity of kidnappers and cattle rustlers. As a result, kidnappings for ransom have become more common and a security concern in recent years in those communities.
A few days ago, kidnappers attacked Garin Bono in Maimadi ward and Sabon Gari in Pali ward, along Alkaleri/Futuk road, killing four people and injuring others. Scores of kidnapping incidences have recently occurred in Gwana District, from abducting prominent personalities to the commoners who found it difficult to feed their families. Nowadays, kidnappers target all people, irrespective of whether they are rich or poor, because wealthy individuals from rural areas migrated to urban cities to live in peace and harmony with their families.
Four children were kidnapped at the outskirt of Yalo. Yalo is less than 100 kilometres away from Alkaleri, the council headquarter. In Kargo, Malam Hamza was abducted at his residence in neighbouring Mansur. In addition, three farmers were kidnapped while working on their farms. As I write this piece, information reaching us revealed that four people were abducted today, 23rd June 2022, at Bakin Layi, a suburb of Yalo town.
All these victims cannot pay the ransom or their proxy relatives. Evidence shows that most of today’s victims are poor villagers, a departure from the earlier kidnapping of wealthy individuals. This category of victims loses their lives in the process due to their inability to pay the ransom because of relative poverty.
It was estimated that from January 2022 to date, in Gwana District alone, more than one hundred (100) cases of kidnappings were reported to the office of the District head of Gwana, located in Futuk. This depicts the ugly nature of the situation where most armless commoners are indiscriminately taken for ransom. People live in distrust and fear due to this ugly picture of our security situation. Members of different bandit groups have been seen carrying heavy arms around Jada forest in Maimadi ward, a forest that comprises part of Yankari forest, harassing locals and farmers. A development that compelled many farmers to abandon their farms for fear of being kidnapped. For instance, Aliyu Inuwa (Messi), a resident of Futuk, left his maize farm despite spending a considerable amount of money.
In her effort to curb the menace, the Bauchi state government procured and distributed motorcycles across the affected areas in the state. In addition, Hilux Patron vans were also distributed across all local governments. In Gwana District, in particular, the local security architecture has Patrol Hilux and several motorcycles provided by this administration in order to facilitate security surveillance and end criminal activities in the entire community. Hence, this intervention from the state government is highly commendable and appreciated. However, the situation demands a more formidable security architecture in curtailing this disease.
Equally, the military detachment in Futuk, Digare, and Mansur and the recent deployment of an anti-kidnapping squad in Yalo and Kargo aimed to reduce criminal activities in our areas. But the existing security architectures showcased their professionalism in collecting N20, N30, N50 and N100 from the motorists and motorcycle riders daily than dealing with monsters called bandits/kidnappers. We are not denying or undermining their role in protecting lives and property. I’m just reporting what I saw with my naked eyes on my recent trip from Futuk to Mansur to collect primary data for my postgraduate study.
Bauchi state government should put more effort into securing its people before it metamorphoses into what is happening in Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto. In addition, the government should encourage and promote education.
Zahraddeen Mallam Saleh wrote from Futuk, Gwana District, Alakleri LG. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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