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Kidnappings: Pay special attention to Kaduna

Not long ago, Kaduna State was in the news over the release of over 100 children abducted from the Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary/ Junior…

Not long ago, Kaduna State was in the news over the release of over 100 children abducted from the Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary/ Junior Secondary School, Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area on March 7 2024. Though Kaduna State is not new to mass abduction of people or students, the event was the largest in terms of number.

Glaringly, Kaduna State is now the epicentre of kidnapping in the country with a staggering 24 abduction incidents in the rural areas of the state. According to news reports gathered by this newspaper, about 667 people were kidnapped from January to date. In January, 113 people were kidnapped, in the month of February, 107 were taken while March had the highest with 447 people. And these are the reported cases, as some go unreported.

The series of abductions started at the beginning of the year, when bandits invaded Kunkuri, Dokan Karji and Angwan Sako villages in Kauru Local Government Area and took away 38 persons on the 5th of January. It was followed by the abduction of 22 persons from Dinki and Kidandan villages of Igabi and Giwa local government areas on the same day. Six herders were not spared on the 6th of January at Layin Jirgi village near Jere town in Kagarko Local Government Area, while 30 travellers were also abducted on the Abuja-Kaduna road on the 7th of January.  The kidnappings continued on the 14th of January in Kwasare community, also on the Abuja-Kaduna road, in the same Kagarko Local Government Area, where five people were abducted. Halima Bello, a housewife, and her 17-year-old son were also abducted from their residence in Dogarawa area of Sabongari Local Government Area on the 15th of January.

Thirty persons were also abducted from Kauru Local Government Area on the 9th of February while 32 were equally kidnapped the next day, the 10th of February in Igabi LGA.  Also, sixteen residents of Gonin-Gora community situated along the Abuja-Kaduna road in Chikun LGA were abducted and the bandits called and demanded the impossible, a whooping N40 trillion for the release of the victims.

John Yusuf, a community leader said, “The bandits contacted us. They demanded N40 trillion, 11 Hilux vans, and 150 motorcycles for the release of 16 people they are holding captive. Where are we going to get this kind of money? Even if we sell the entire community, we cannot raise N40 trillion. Even Nigeria as a country has never made a budget of N40 trillion”.

The bandits continued their exploits with another kidnapping of 30 persons, who are residents of Budah village of Kajuru Local Government Area on the 11th of March. Another abduction also occurred of 86 persons from Tantatu and Aguba communities in Kufana District of Kajuru Local Government Area. This space will not contain the incidents if we are to include all the cases of abductions so far recorded.

The Kaduna State government and the federal government must work together to find a solution to this crisis. They need to find out why Kaduna appears to be the hot bed of abductions. We also believe that exposing and arresting the financiers of this act will go a long way in putting a stop to this menace.

Some experts blamed the ubiquity of ungoverned territories and communities surrounded by thick forest, which have now been taken over by non-state actors for the constant attacks on the state. We are, therefore, calling on the government to re-establish its authority by reclaiming control of these areas and turning them into some useful avenues, so that criminals can no longer see them as safe haven.

The Kaduna State governor should also re-strategise against insecurity and work with neighbouring states to address the menace of banditry as these gunmen go from one state to another to strike or run away from military operations. Kaduna State cannot be safe if its neighbours remain open to bandits and other terrorists.

The recovery of the Kuriga school children unhurt deserves commendation, but the bigger action required is to deny criminals the chance to remain active, let alone launch a major strike on our communities.

We, at Daily Trust, commiserate with all those affected by this criminality, especially those whose loved ones are still in captivity. We urge the security operatives to continue to fight for their release so they can return to their families in good health. The government should apply the same method used in getting the Kuriga students released, so that all those in captivity across the country will also regain their freedom.

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