11th June, 2010
Politicians and business- men in Kano and Jigawa states in northern Nigeria now live in fear as kidnappers have held the two states hostage.
Last Sunday, at the sleepy community of Sarawa in Kafin Hausa Local Government Area, home of Jigawa State House of Assembly Speaker, Adamu Ahmad, gunmen came and abducted Hajiya Halima, wife of the Speaker.
Luck, however, ran out on the kidnappers as they were trailed and intercepted by good-spirited villagers, who rescued Halima and later handed over the suspects to the police in Jigawa.
Jigawa State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Fana, referred our correspondent to the state police spokesman, whose phone was switched off when we called to enquire about the kidnap.
However, sources at the Jigawa State Government House confirmed to our correspondent that the villagers handed over the kidnappers to the police but cannot give a detailed account of the incident.
“I cannot say how many they are; and I cannot ascertain whether the incident is politically motivated,” a source said
A villager, who craved anonymity, narrated his experience:
â€œInitially we were told that it was armed robbers that took over the village and we were asked not to go in, which we obliged. But a few minutes later, we were told that the people have gone and they abducted the wife of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
â€œWe later saw three persons onÂ a motor bike with guns and another group of people chasing after them. We joined in the chase and two out of the three kidnappers dropped from the bike and took to their heels, shooting sporadically.
â€œAfter some time, they ran out of bullets and were caught. The third person was later apprehended at Kafin Hausa junction when he abandoned the motor bike and tried to escape.”
In Kano, Chief Alex Onwusaraka was lucky as the swift action of security agencies in the state foiled an attempt to kidnap him.
Onwusaraka was at his home at 11 Burma Road when he received a strange call instructing him to pay a huge amount of money into an Intercontinental Bank account.
Tochukwu Uche, 22, of 6 Sanigiwa, Sabon Gari, and Magaji Muazu, 23, an illegal immigrant from Niger Republic were the suspects. They threatened Chief Onwusaraka to credit their account, otherwise they willÂ kidnap his kids at school.
Onwusaraka played along, but quickly alerted security agents who kept surveillance at the bank and later arrested the kidnappers when they came to cash the money
P.M.News investigation revealed that such threats are common in Sabon Gari, a settlement of non-indigenes.
In less than three months, at least 10 businessmen have been kidnapped and released after theyÂ paid ransom in huge sums of money.
Unlike Chief Onwusaraka, most of the victims heed the warning of the kidnappers, who instruct them not to involve the police.
â€œMost of these boys who operate within the Sabon Gari axis come from the East. For instance, Tochukwu came from Onitsha purposely to kidnap Chief Onwusaraka. He was an apprentice to Mr. Ibe Anthony from whom he learnt patent medicine business at Abubakar Rimi Market, Sabon Gari.
“From our investigation, his master settled recently and he left for Onitsha, only to return to Kano to perpetrate crime,â€ Mohammed Ibrahim Zanna, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, told our correspondent.
Kano State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Gana, promised to prosecute Tochukwu and Magaji.
â€œI must use them as an example. This nonsense must stop. Let me tell you, we have devised a new strategy. These kidnappers must be flushed out from Kano.â€
According to a press statement signed by Prince Ajayi Memaiyetan on behalf of Police Community Relations Committee, Sabon Gari division, the body raised alarm over the spate of kidnappings within the area.
â€œMillionaires in Sabon Gari, Kano no more sleep with both eyes closed because ofÂ the kidnap of innocent rich persons. We, therefore, make a passionate appeal to the Commissioner of Police to proffer a workable solution to this unacceptable trend.â€
â€”Maduabuchi Nmeribeh /Kano