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4 months after drone bombing: Tudun Biri residents beg for compensation

Four months after the tragic military drone bombing that claimed over 100 lives from three communities in Tudun Biri village of Igabi LGA of Kaduna…

Four months after the tragic military drone bombing that claimed over 100 lives from three communities in Tudun Biri village of Igabi LGA of Kaduna State, residents say they are still waiting to be compensated for their losses, Daily Trust Saturday reports.

The drone bombing mistake, which occurred on Sunday, December 3, 2023, resulted in dozens of casualties and injuries to residents of Tudun Biri, Ugara and Sabon Gida after they converged at Tudun Biri to celebrate the Maulud.

Musa Umar, who lost six children to the unfortunate incident, sat quietly in his empty mud house in the community. He was deep in thought, trying to recall the unfortunate day when the whole family was wiped out by a single drone attack.

It was a day he described as a calamity that befell his family and the small village located behind the Kaduna International Airport. He appeared calm but deeply pained each time he remembered that his house used to be busy with children playing around but now empty, because all his six children were killed in the attack.

“I am still in pain each time I remember losing my six children in one fell swoop. After the incident, I hardly slept because I used to wake up at night crying alone in the room,” he said.

The peasant farmer said his late children were his happiness when they were alive, saying now the happiness is gone but God is consoling him and others that lost their loved ones in the village. According to him, the horrific incident of 3 December 2023 will remain with him till he dies because it can’t be erased.

“I will never forget what happened on that day because these were children I was hoping to take care of me in the future but all killed on the same day. But I still give thanks to my creator because he knows best,” he simply said, trying to hold back tears.

Daily Trust Saturday had reported how the military drones attacked the villagers during a Maulud celebration. 

The unfortunate attack drew condemnation from within and outside the country, in which the military leadership took responsibility for the incident.

The federal government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu promised to rebuild the small community and compensate the victims. 

So many individuals, including members of the National Assembly, visited the state to condole with the people and also made pledges to assist the victims.

Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the victims are yet to be compensated four months after the unfortunate incident. The community is also yet to be rebuilt through the Fulako initiative of the federal government as promised by the Vice President Kashim Shettima when he visited the state on behalf of the president.

Musa Umar, who is still traumatized by what happened to his six biological children, however commended the government for its assurance to compensate the victims but said four months after, they are still waiting.

“We are still waiting to be compensated months after the incident. We don’t know the reason for the delay. The government assured us that we will be compensated but we don’t know what is delaying them,” he said.

Another victim who lost his son, Auwal Shehu from Ugara village, said the victims were directed to open bank accounts which they already did but were still waiting to be paid.

According to him, two of his children, a boy and girl, were affected but it was only his male child that died in the incident.

“It was a terrible situation because my son was the best student in his class with a strong passion for Western education. His sister Maryam was injured but survived the attack. I still miss my son,” he said.

He added, “They asked all of us who lost our children and loved ones to open bank accounts for possible compensation and we did but we are still waiting for the compensation,” he said.

He appealed to the government to kindly fulfill its promise of compensation even though it will not return their children but at least it will reduce their parents’ pain.

Jafar Abdullahi, also a resident of the area, said as Muslims, they believe what happened was destined to happen to them because their creator knows best.

He explained that part of the government’s promise was the provision of houses to residents but since the incident, they have not gotten any house.

Abdullahi said recently, the government revisited the community on March 26 to flag off the construction of a 5.25-kilometer road, hospital and skill acquisition centre in the village.

“Yes, water was provided in the community and a mosque is being constructed too but we are still waiting for the remaining promises made to us,” he said.

On the issue of compensation, he said, “They promised to pay compensation and we are still hoping they will but in case they do not, God is watching since we can’t fight the government. But if they pay, fine; if they don’t, God is watching us,” he said.

He explained that most of the little money the victims received was from well-wishers who visited them at the hospital. 

Our reporter who visited the community observed that there were not much infrastructural changes in the village since the incident occurred.

Most of the mud houses are still standing. However, a mosque is being built on the exact spot the drone struck the Maulud celebrants.

It was gathered that the mosque will be the first Juma’at mosque in the community when completed and it’s being constructed by a top government official in Abuja as part of his charity to the people of the village.

A newly constructed borehole was also provided for the villagers to ease their water problem, then the road that will link the village to Airport Road, a Primary Health care centre, as well as skills acquisition centre were flagged off for construction by the state government as part of government’s effort to rebuild the village.

A community leader who is also a member of the monitoring committee for the compensation, Malam Muhammad Bello Buruku, expressed hope that the government will fulfill promises made to the victims.

He further confirmed that the committee had already met to arrange how the money at hand will be shared among the victims.

He said although there are other people who made financial pledges but they are yet to redeem such pledges.

He said presently, there is some money at hand to be shared to those who lost loved ones, those who sustained serious injuries as well as others with minor injuries.

“We are hopeful that everybody will soon be compensated for their loss,” he said.

He expressed confidence that the government will fulfill its promises and urged the people to remain patient with the government, saying justice will be done to them.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Muhammad Lawal Shehu also corroborated the statement that there are unredeemed pledges, but said that Governor Uba Sani had already started constructing 5.25km asphalt road from Kaduna Airport to Tudun Biri; a hospital and a skill acquisition centre.

“Some people are yet to redeem their pledges but the governor didn’t wait as he has started the road, hospital and skills acquisition centre constructions for the community as part of the rebuilding process,” he said.

He assured the victims that by the time the funds are completely available, they will get justice.


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