The man behind the abduction of students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State, Auwalu Daudawa, has recently repented and laid down his arms in Zamfara State. However, when this newspaper visited Kankara to hear their views, some parents said the best place for him to repent is Katsina. They also wondered if he has repented.
Recall that a group of bandits led by Auwalu Daudawa, Menori and Dankarami have been terrorizing communities in some frontline local government areas along the Katsina-Zamfara border forests, carrying out criminal activities such as cattle rustling, kidnappings as well as wanton killings.
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However, the bandits came to the global limelight when they raided a boarding school in Kankara under the leadership of Daudawa and abducted more than 300 students and held them hostage for six days.
The students were released following the intervention of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACABAN) in collaboration with the Katsina State Government.
It was in the aftermath of the abduction that Daudawa reportedly repented. He also granted an exclusive interview to Daily Trust Saturday, during which he gave reasons for the atrocities he committed, including the abduction of the schoolboys.
However, when contacted for their views on the supposed repentance of Daudawa, some of the parents of the abducted students expressed divergent views over the issue.
One of the parents, who identified himself as Malam Na Kankara, said he had nothing to say on the matter of repentance since the government was said to have accepted it. “As Muslims, we always accept destiny, so we take that incident as fate which must come to pass. My 13-year-old son was one of the abducted children, and he told us about the hardships they went through. But since he was released with the help of Allah, we thank God. And those who committed the crime and realized their mistake and said they have repented; we hope it is genuine repentance. Peace is more important to us.”
However, the father said he was ready to send the boy back to school, as long as the government would put adequate security measures in place to prevent similar incidents in the future. He said the notion that their children returned home unharmed, as held in some quarters, was just a fallacy, saying those holding such opinion were doing so because it did not happen to them.
Another parent, who pleaded anonymity, said, “If Auwalu Daudawa has truly repented, he should have come to his state of Katsina to do so and not in another state,” saying most of the crimes he committed were in Katsina State.
“We have seen such repentance or mediation but, in the end, it turned out to be deception. These bandits will say they have repented in Zamfara State but they will come to Katsina State to carry out their attacks. To cite an example, even yesterday there was an attack in Bakarya village in Faskari Local Government Area of the state which shares a border with Zango town in Kankara Local Government Area. One person was killed and their animals carted away. We are now in a state of panic over these attacks. So, what is happening? What is repentance here?” he said.
However, when asked by Daily Trust about the fact that the bandits belong to different groups, he said: “Even though they are from different groups, whenever one group intends to carry out an attack, they always invite others to join or just inform them to stay away from the area.
“Therefore, we see this repentance as a dubious one. We saw the interview and heard what he said. If he said that their cattle were rustled, would he say the parents of the abducted children were involved? And this is not the first time this is happening; we have seen the first peace deal and we have seen the second one which all collapsed. Right now, apart from Alhaji Ilya, we do not see anyone who holds that repentance seriously. We have witnessed this since he said he repented because sometimes he even helps to retrieve something that has been stolen.”
On her part, Hajiya, the mother of one of the students said, “If Daudawa said he had repented in Zamfara, would the Zamfara State government represent the parents of the children in Katsina State?
“We are told that at first, all the governors took a united stance on the issue of the bandits, but they violated the agreement with Katsina State which prompted Governor Masari to withdraw from the peace talks, but the governor of Zamfara said he would give cattle to anyone who lays down arms instead of taking the same action as that of his Katsina counterpart as they had initially agreed, and to this day what puzzles us is: why is it that whoever is abducted is taken to the forest in Zamfara?
“Well, as optimistic Muslims, we hope that this repentance is genuine because there is nothing more important than peace. And if the school reopens, we will return the children by the grace of God because we understand the importance of education. We hope the government will take security measures seriously this time,” she said.
A young man, Nuhu, whose younger brother was one of the abducted students, said “Repentance is no longer a matter of concern. No, what will happen next? These bandits, in the past, knew nothing apart from their animals. Today, those who found it difficult to have N1000 in their pocket boast of millions and have the animals. How possible is it for them to return to their previous way of life?
“In the past, the price of a bull was not more than N150, 000, but today people will be kidnapped, traded as if they are commodities in the market until a ransom is paid for them to be released. How can they endure the hardship of the past? At the moment, it is too early to conclude that Auwalu Daudawa and his people will not return to their criminality, only time will tell.”
Nuhu added Auwalu should come to the state and announce his repentance again instead of his claim that it was because of Governor Masari that he withdrew from the previous peace deal.
“Katsina State is Daudawa’s birthplace and his blood relations are among the people who suffered from his atrocities.
“We have to abide by what the government has decided. The issue of kidnapping Kagara students will not stop us from sending our children back to school as soon as it reopens. We hope that adequate security measures will be taken, and pray that this repentance is genuine.
Although Daily Trust visited Kankara town early on the market day in Kankara, the route from town to the Science Secondary School where the students were abducted in December 2020, which passed to Zango and Makera Babba as far as Dansabau which borders Zamfara State, was deserted. There was no movement of persons or vehicles as was usual before the incident. This could not be unrelated to people’s apprehension in the area at the moment.