By Nkasi Kolie
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in Kaduna State over the rising insecurity in the state.
The call came on the heels of Sunday’s abduction of the Emir of Kajuru, Alhaji Alhassan Adamu and 16 others.
In addition, the regional group has called on security agencies to create necessary synergies with vulnerable communities through the establishment of local vigilante groups to track down criminals in the state.
The forum, which expressed concern about the insecurity situation in the country, especially in Kaduna state, said its demand was based on the glaring failures of the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to protect lives and property of citizens of the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by the region on Sunday, in Abuja, wherein it expressed deep worry over the increasing deadly attacks on communities across various local governments in Kaduna state.
The statement signed by the National President of the group, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, particularly, decried what he described as “the unending severe attacks resulting in gruesome massacres, raping of women, destruction of property, incessant kidnappings, made worse by huge payments of ransom to secure the release of abducted persons, and displacement of thousands of people out of their homelands.
The group stated: “While the above scenario has become the new norm in Kaduna State, the political authorities seem either incapable of dealing with the security challenges or deliberately unwilling to stop the recurring bloody tide headlong, thereby, suggesting complicity on their part.
“More worrisome is the fact that attacks by these killer herdsmen and Fulani kidnappers on defenceless communities have led to massive displacement of people from their ancestral lands, thereby creating a catastrophic humanitarian crisis situation and rendering farmers unable to access their farmlands for agricultural activities.
“The most worrisome is the attitude of Governor Nasir el-Rufai towards tackling the security challenges confronting the state. While he has refused to negotiate with kidnappers, he has also not done anything to secure these weak communities against further attacks on vulnerable communities. More than anytime, Governor el-Rufai has continued to provoke bandits through unguarded utterances that have further enraged them to unleash more terror attacks on various communities.
On the other hand, kidnappers have taken over all the routes linking Kaduna State to other parts of the country, where they have continued to unleash terror on road users. These criminals are not only engaged in abducting farmers from their farmlands, but have, also, resorted to breaking homes at night to abduct people. Sometimes, members of an entire family are kidnapped and herded into the forest where relatives of victims are forced to pay unimaginable amounts of money in ransom. Oftentimes, some abducted persons are killed even after such ransoms are paid. This trend has triggered massive relocation of residents who now abandon homes they had built with retirement entitlements and now squat in crowded neighbourhoods, only waiting to be further invaded.”
The Kaduna State Police Command on Sunday, confirmed the abduction of the Emir of Kajuru, Alhaji Alhassan Adamu, at his residence in Kajuru Local Government Area of the State.
Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, Muhammed Jalige, who confirmed the second class Emir’s abduction, said he was abducted alongside “10 other persons, not 12 persons.”
He, however, said that a manhunt with police operatives and other security agencies has already been launched to rescue the Emir and others unhurt.
A source close to the Emir told journalists that the bandits stormed the monarch’s residence around 12:00am on Sunday shooting sporadically.
The source added that the bandits equally whisked away 12 other persons, including family members and aides of the emir, as well as women and children.
Another source said three women, two of the Emir’s grandchildren, three of his aides were among the people kidnapped.
He also said that just a day before the incident, the Emir summoned a security meeting about an imminent plan to kidnap him, but, unfortunately, no action was taken by the authorities to prevent the attack.
Also, bandits reportedly broke into the house of Mrs Jummai Suleiman, a clinical psychologist, in the Department of Psychiatric, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, at about 9pm, on Saturday night, and kidnapped her along with her three children.
The children, Abdullateef, 10 years; Amina, six years; and Abdulrahman, four years old were abducted at their residence, Milgoma, shika-zaria.
The woman’s husband, who is a lecturer at the Federal University, Dutsima, in Katsina State, was said to be away when the bandits struck.
While the police were yet to confirm the Zaria incident at the time of filing this report, locals said the bandits came through a village called Nasarawan Buhari and later went away with the four victims through another village called Biye.