On Saturday morning, Shehu Sani, a former Senator who represented Kaduna Central at the National Assembly in the last dispensation, painted a grim picture of what has become of Kaduna State in recent times, calling the state the ”hub of kidnappers.”
“The report of the kidnapping of RCCG members along Kachia Road in Kaduna is yet another tragedy. Bandits have turned our state into their hub. Before one kidnap is resolved, another one is unfolding. Humans have become prey. On entry, you meet their snare, on exit you meet their ambush,” Sani said on his Twitter handle.
Though known for his boisterous tweets and critical stance on the administration of Nasir El-Rufai, the State Governor, Sani’s tweet on Saturday morning may hardly be faulted, as he painted the true picture of the reality on the ground in the state, which was once the beacon of hope for the old Northern region, and one of the leading lights of Northwest geopolitical zone.
Kaduna, a convergence point of different tribes for commerce and academic pursuits, has unfortunately become a killing field and a thriving center for kidnapping and mass abductions, especially in the Southern part of the state, where many believe there is an ongoing genocide against the people.
Sadly, no part of the state, including the state capital appears to be safe at the moment, as bandits and other criminal gangs have turned the city into a constant sphere of operation, leaving residents in perpetual fear. Tales abound in the state on the impact of the operations of these criminal gangs, leading to anxiety, adverse health of victims and their family members, and even deaths. One of such is the death at the weekend of one of the parents of the 39 students abducted from the Federal College of Forestry, Kaduna.
It is also worthy to note that the three main entry points into the state have continued to be high-risk routes due to the operations of bandits and kidnapping gangs. Abuja to Kaduna, Kano to Kaduna through Zaria, and Jebba to Kaduna through the Birnin-Gwari axis, have been known to be volatile routes where bandits and kidnappers operate.
The situation has become so bad that going to Kaduna by road is almost like a journey into uncertainty because one is never sure of arriving as planned.
A Chronicle of Kaduna Killings and Abductions in March 2021
Our Source presents some of the latest sad tales of abductions and killings in Kaduna that took place in the month of March 2021 in no chronological order.
March 26, 2021: Abduction of RCCG Members
On Friday evening, a bus conveying members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, from Kaduna to Kafanchan for a religious program was intercepted and the occupants were kidnapped by gunmen on Kachia road.
Though the exact number of the church is yet to be known, their abductors have reportedly demanded N50 million ransom for their release, and some reports have claimed that 8 of them were taken away by the abductors.
March 12, 2021: 39 College of Forestry Students
Before the abduction of the RCCG members, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry in the Mado area of the state capital were whisked away by bandits who are still with them in captivity almost three weeks after.
The bandits who shared some videos of how the students are being maltreated demanded N500 million as ransom before the students could be released.
The College of Forestry students’ abduction has been particularly more traumatic for their parents, as they have complained of being left in the dark by the state government on the efforts being made to secure their release. Sadly, this situation has led to the death of one of the parents, who died at the weekend.
March 14, 2021: Attempt on 307 Students of GSSS, Ikara
Banking in the euphoria of their successful abduction of the 39 College of Forestry students, the bandits made an attempt on the Government Science Secondary School, Ikara, where 307 students were at risk. The Ikara GSSS students were, however, lucky, as the bandits were repelled by security agents who rose to the occasion.
March 26, 2021: Nine Persons Killed in Birnin-Gwari, Giwa LGAs
Bandits, on March 26 invaded communities in Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Government Areas, killing nine persons.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, made the disclosure in a statement, disclosing that the heavily-armed bandits barricaded the Dogon Dawa-Kuyello Road, after Ungwan Gajere village in Birnin Gwari LGA and shot six persons dead.
According to Aruwan, Nura Rufai, Sanusi Gajere, Yakubu Labbo, Usman Dangiwa, Alhaji Abdulhamid, Janaidu Tsalhatu were killed during the attack.
Also, at Ugwan Maje also in Birnin Gwari LGA, bandits hacked Haruna Dotu and Hamisu Mohammad to death, while one Nasiru Rufai was killed at Kwama village in Giwa LGA.
March 15, 2021: Abduction of Pupils, Teachers at UBE Primary School, Rama
The Universal Basic Education Primary School, Rama in the Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of the state had a taste of the brutal criminality of bandits on March 15, when the school was invaded in the morning.
Reports said an unspecified number of teachers and pupils were abducted in the process. But the state government later claimed that only three teachers were abducted.
Residents said the abduction took place when the pupils were trooping into the school premises on Monday at about 9 am.
According to a resident, the gunmen stormed the school with about 12 motorcycles.
“I have been told that three teachers and some pupils have been abducted, but we are trying to ascertain the true situation. Right now, our vigilante boys and other volunteers have gone after the bandits.
“We are in the school right now, what we are trying to do is comb the bushes because some of the children ran into the bush. So, we don’t know how many were abducted at the moment,” he said.
March 14, 2021
The staff quarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the Kaduna International Airport, was not spared of the attacks and abductions.
On March 14, bandits stormed the quarters in a failed attempt to abduct after a first operation at the same place yielded 13 captives less than two weeks earlier.
Reports had it that the bandits gained access into the quarters through porous sections of the airport airside leading to runway 23 / 05, heading straight to their target before the alarm was raised, leading to a gun duel with security agents, forcing them to escape.
The above are just a few incidences that were given media prominence, as Kaduna residents say there are many more attacks taking place daily but go on unreported, insisting that bandits and Fulani militiamen have continued to carry out raids on vulnerable communities in Southern Kaduna unhindered.