BAUCHI State was initially considered a safe haven for the law-abiding or a no-go area for bandits and terrorists. While the evil criminals were attacking, maiming and kidnapping for ransom in other parts of the North-East, residents of Bauchi State were at peace, minding their daily chores and thanking God for sparing them from the atrocities of the destructive elements. But all that is over.
The dreaded bandits have since made their presence felt, killing and stealing inside Bauchi and its environs, putting the heat on the people. Since they moved in, they have been killing at will, as well as indulging in abductions and unleashing violence on their victims.
As it is, the reign of terror has since taken roots in Bauchi and the residents are now overwhelmed with fear and confusion over their safety.
The victims, many of whom are smallholder farmers and traders, are crying to government for help to enable them return to their normal lives. No place in the state is really insulated from the vampires who do not seem to care who their targets are and what they do for a living, but what they can snatch from them.
Speaking with Arewa Voice, a commercial driver, Ibrahim Usman, said his neighbor was kidnapped at Birshin Fulani in Bauchi right within the city centre but was divinely rescued after prayers were offered.
Usman said: “We do not know what is going on in the state anymore. These days, we wake up to one attack or the other. For many years, we enjoyed some peace but it seems to be evaporating. The governor is trying. We see how well he is working with the Commissioner of Police, but the effort is not enough.
“Our people are beginning to feel what those in Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina are feeling. We cannot continue like this. Something must be done, and it must be done very fast before bandits completely take over the state,” the commercial driver suggested.
The residents have become apprehensive over the activities of bandits and terrorists in the state because of deadly events that have enveloped the state capital in recent days and weeks, sending fear into every home and family. A few days ago, a man, his pregnant wife, son and sales boy were kidnapped by yet-to-be-identified gunmen at Rafin Ciyawa village in Ningi Local Government of Bauchi State. That family ambush followed on the heels of a report that bandits had earlier invaded the community and seized the businessman and his entire family on the eve of July 28, 2022.
An eyewitness, told Arewa Voice that the attackers shot sporadically when they invaded the village and successfully scared the villagers away before taking away their victims.
Confirming the development, Bauchi Police Command PPRO, SP Ahmed Wakili, explained that the police are combing the forests in search of the victims, and possible arrest of the bandits.
“At about 2.00hrs, unknown gunmen stormed the house of one Mr. Nnami Sunday, a businessman at Rafin Ciyawa village in Ningi LGA of Bauchi State and took away his wife, Mrs. Mercy Nnami, 42 years old with her four months old baby boy and a sales boy, one Bala Ali who is 27 years old.
“On receiving the information, the Commissioner of Police, Umar Sanda, directed the DPO of Ningi, Burra and the Area Commander to commence discreet investigations. Presently, the command and a group of vigilante have been dispatched to the forests to comb the area for possible rescue of the victims. Other sister security agencies are collaborating with the Police on the rescue mission,” he said.
Last Sunday, the Bauchi Police Command rescued two teenagers from kidnappers’ den in Alkaleri forest after a gun battle with kidnappers who reportedly escaped injuries sustained in the battle. The PPRO added: “On 31/07/2022 at about 0730hrs Patrol team Alkaleri Division in conjunction with Danga Security on Rescue Mission Operation, encountered suspected kidnappers armed with rifles who engaged the police in battle. However, the police successfully rescued two of the kidnapped victims, Adamu Alhaji Usman 19yr-old and Sahura Alhaji Sunusi ‘f’ aged 17yrs of Garin Bakwai village and recovered four (4) motorcycles from the kidnappers.”
The governor, Bala Mohammed, on his part, has paid sympathy visits to some of the affected communities to commiserate with those affected by the activities of bandits. In one of such visits, he condoled with the people of his hometown, Duguri, following the abduction and death of some indigenes in the area by the marauding terrorists. The governor said: “I have the singular honour to commiserate with the people of Duguri, my home town over the death of some people and the abduction of so many sons and daughters of this area. Our policy of community engagement has taken us everywhere in the state where this ugly incident has happened.
“We went to Toro, we went to Gwana, Munsur and then Tafawa Balewa to engage with the people. But as the security agencies would always say, this cannot happen without collaboration with some obnoxious elements within us, including some members of our traditional institution, even some security people. There is no way somebody from Zamfara or somewhere will visit a secluded place like Shaffa and kill someone unless he has an informant. The security agencies cannot do it alone. And that is why we are establishing a system of feedback. And I heard that some people within us are even feeding the bandits in their secret place by giving them grains and flour; that is the report I received.
“The school that l visited was blown up, the one in Mansur was blown off. Nobody told us. Certainly there is very poor feedback from our officials. They have seen it and they have to sit up. We need feedback so that we can plan with our scarce resources,” the governor pleaded.