Students of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria in Kaduna State have vacated the school premises after bandits attacked the institution on Thursday night, killing one and abducting students and staff.
The school management, through the public relations officer, Abdallah Shehu, on Friday evening said the institution had been closed down indefinitely while management strategised with security agents to improve the security.
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He said two lecturers and six students were abducted, while the Kaduna State Government had earlier said the victims were eight students and two lecturers.
The gunmen, who invaded the school around 10pm, took advantage of its porous security situation. Ahmed Muhammad, a final year student of Statistics was killed while Haruna Isiaku Duniya was shot and has been discharged from the hospital.
The state government, through the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said Governor Nasir el-Rufai received the briefing with sadness and prayed for the repose of the soul of the student who was killed. He also sent condolences to his family.
He said senior government officials and security agencies were conducting security assessments and interfacing with the management and students of the institution.
Without any fence in a huge part of the school, Nuhu Bamali is exposed to attacks. In November 2020, bandits had taken advantage of the situation to abduct the head of the Department of Computer Engineering, Bello Atiku and two of his neighbour’s children.
However, in the latest attack, Ahmed Abdul, a lecture in the Department of Statistics, said his wife, who is eight months pregnant, was abducted alongside their two kids, but the bandits later released her.
Abdul, who was seen packing his belongings from the house, said there was no point staying in an unsafe environment. He narrated how he escaped through the ceiling of his house to reach security agents, adding that by the time they returned, the gunmen had made away with members of his family.
“I am lucky that they released my wife and children, but I can no longer risk their lives; it is better to leave this environment,” he said.
Abdul said he had just returned home from the Sabon Gari area of the ancient city about 10pm when he noticed that some men were lurking outside his house.
“I saw some boys with guns through my window and they asked me to open the door. I did not open the door, instead I hid in the ceiling. They forced their way into the house and took away my pregnant wife and two daughters.
“I reported the case to security agents. We spent the night lamenting the frequent attacks on the school. However, my wife and daughters were released by the bandits. What happened, according to her, was that because of her condition, she couldn’t walk with the speed they wanted. Therefore, deep into the bush path, they told her that they would release her and go with her daughters. She insisted that she must go with her daughters wherever they were taking them to.
“As argument ensued between the pregnant woman and the kidnappers, one of them spoke in Fulfulde language, telling the other gangsters that they should just inflict serious harm on the woman and proceed with their perilous journey.
The pregnant woman, according to Abdul, pleaded back in Fulfulde, to the chagrin of the bandits.
“It was at that moment that they told her that she was lucky because she was Fulani, and subsequently released her with her two daughters, while they proceeded deep into the bush with the other captives. Before then, my five-year-old daughter, who had been crying while the journey lasted, received the slap of her life. They slapped her many times, asking her to keep quiet.
“All thanks are due to Allah as my wife weathered the storm and found her way back to the school with her daughters. She crossed the bush in the dark of the night and she is now with us.
“I think more needs to be done in tackling these security challenges. These criminals are becoming more emboldened. They spent close to two hours operating, unchallenged. Had it been that the response system was effective, the security agents ought to have arrived before the kidnappers left,” he narrated.
Hajara, Abdul’s pregnant wife, said the gunmen were young boys who moved on foot for over an hour, and at some point, had to crawl.
She said that at a point, she was left with four bandits who continued to shove her to walk fast so as to catch up with the rest of the gang as they said she was slowing down their movement.
“They threatened to kill me and leave my corpse for my relatives to find, but I pleaded with them and told them that I was not deliberately walking slowly. I heard them saying they should have come with a motorcycle to carry me,” she added.
She said two of the bandits later became impatient and left her and her children in the custody of two others, who continued to threaten and shove her to walk fast, before they eventually got tired and asked her to return home.
“It was about to rain when they asked me to return home. They asked if I could find my way home and I said yes, so they gave me direction and left,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Uzaifa Bello, who spoke with our correspondents, said they had written to the state government about the porosity of the school but not much had been done. He, however, said though the school had commenced the construction of a fence behind, more needed to be done.
Ishara Galadima, the man who wrestled a bandit to escape abduction
Ishara Galadima, a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, said the bandits were furious with him when they barked at him to open the door, but instead, he made several calls trying to get help.
“I heard my neighbour shouting and peeped through the window to ask what was happening. That was when one of the bandits flashed torchlight on me and screamed that I should open the door. My door was not locked but I pretended as if I was trying to open it, but eventually, I was locking the door.
“The guy was angry, shouting, ‘You have the guts to make calls.’ I ran to the bathroom to enter the ceiling but it collapsed and I fell,” he said.
He added that when the bandit, who was armed, eventually gained entrance into his home, he dragged him out, but he wrestled with him, tearing his singlet in the process, to escape.
“Before he regained his balance to shoot, I took to my heels, shouting for help. I was lucky to have escaped from their bullets,” he added.
How student union leader was killed
Ahmad Muhammad, who was killed by armed bandits on Thursday, was the president of the Statistic Students Union of the institution.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the HND II student was shot by the bandits while he was returning to the staff quarters from Gobirawa community, alongside a colleague.
Hamza Abubakar, who shared the same room with the victim, narrated, “I was inside the room when I heard gunshots, then a bang on my neighbour’s door. The bandits were asking them to open their door and bring out the money they had.
“I was inside the room, so I put off the light and hid under the mattress. Later, I heard my roommate, Ahmad shouting for help after he was shot, but nobody could help him, and my brother, who was with him had also escaped.”
Helen Nasa’i’s husband, DH Nasa’i, of the School of General Studies, was among the people that are presently with the kidnappers. She told our correspondent that when the bandits got to their house, they started from the boys’ quarters.
“They broke into the boys’ quarters and brought out a student that was staying there. He told them that he was a student and they asked him to show them lecturers’ houses as they came to kidnap lecturers, not students.
“They left the boy and moved to our house. They tried to gain access into our house for about two hours by hitting the door because we refused to open. Having realised that the door may not be forced open, they went to the window area. One of them forced the window open and jumped into our room. Before he came to me, he saw my daughter and asked her to follow him. It was at this point that my husband came out from where he was hiding.
“They did not ask me to move out through the window because it was obvious that I could not. They went with my husband, and nothing has been heard from them up to this moment,” Mrs. Nasa’i said.
Haruna Ishaya Duna, a student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is presently receiving treatment at a hospital in Zaria. He was lucky to have escaped with gunshot.
He said he was in class to study in preparation for a continuous assessment test when he was requested to escort a female colleague.
“On our way, I heard a sound of gunshot. I decided to move closer to see what was happening and whether there was any assistance I could render. This was how I was shot in the leg,” he narrated.
During his on-the-spot assessment, Commissioner Aruwansaid the state government was doing everything possible to secure the state.
Lami Sadiq, Mohammed I. Yaba, Kaduna & Isa Sa’idu, Zaria