From PAUL ORUDE, BAUCHI
The abduction of a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly representing Lame constituency in Toro Local Government Area, Hon. Yusuf Nuhu by suspected kidnappers has sent shivers down the spine of residents.
Indeed Yusuf’s abduction has brought to four the number of such incidents within a space of three weeks in the state.
The state lawmaker was abducted by gunmen in his house in Zalau village at about 7 pm last Monday, March 3, 2014, and taken to an unknown destination.
This is coming barely 24 hours after kidnappers who are still at large, abducted three anti-polio vaccination workers in Darazo Local Government Area of the state.
The gunmen had released two of the detainees, a man and a woman, but detained the third person, the Health Officer of Darazo local council as at the time of filing this report.
Just last month, precisely on Monday, February 17, a former member of the House of Representatives, who represented Darazo, Alhaji Samaila Ahmed, was kidnapped around 2 am at his residence in Darazo.
Samaila Ahmed, who was aspiring to contest for the Senate to represent Bauchi Central Senatorial district on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, was equally kidnapped by gunmen reported to have been hiding in a bush within the town for some days.
Security sources disclosed that the kidnappers were monitoring the movement of the Samaila Ahmed before they finally succeeded in carrying out the operation.
“The people in the area noticed the presence of the gunmen inside the bush before the operation and alerted the security operatives of their presence but unfortunately no action was taken by them,” a source, who pleaded anonymity, told Saturday Sun.
“We received a report from Darazo Divisional Police station that about 10 gunmen who came on security uniform abducted a politician in his residence in Darazo,” spokesman of the Bauchi Sate Police command, DSP Haruna Mohammed said.
Mohammed said that the police have mapped out different strategies in order to arrest the gunmen that carried out the operation.
Ransom paid for Ahmed’s release
Ahmed was released to his family members after spending five days in the hands of his captors. It was learnt that the abductors demanded a ransom of N6.5m but the family eventually paid N2.5m to the abductors after some bargaining to secure the release of the former Reps member.
DSP Mohammed, who was silent on the ransom paid by Ahmed’s family members, however, confirmed the lawmaker’s freedom, saying: “The kidnapped former House of Reps member, Hon Samaila Ahmed Ilali was released by his captors in Darazo and he is in stable condition and investigation is still ongoing”.
The payment of the ransom did not, however, go down well with security agencies in the state. A source within the circle said: “We are not happy with the ransom paid to the criminals that kidnapped Hon Ahmed and this happened because of non-cooperation from his family members and there are a lot of implications for this because paying of ransom will encourage more kidnap attempt in the state.”
The Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Youth Vanguard in the state, Alhaji Naziru Ibrahim Darazo, said he was disappointed with the way the kidnap of Ahmed was handled.
He lamented that the state government did not support or commiserate with the family members in search of the federal lawmaker.
Naziru said: “No effort was made by the state government when Hon Ahmed, a citizen of Bauchi State and former House of Reps member was kidnapped and this does not speak well for our democracy.
“I remember when Governor Yuguda’s in-law, Alhaji Mohammed Sade and the son of the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Garba Dahiru, were kidnapped, the state government commiserated and supported the family until they were released”.
How Bauchi lawmaker was abducted
Hon. Yusuf Nuhu, the latest victim of kidnappers in Bauchi, first made history as the lawmaker that came from prison and was sworn in as a legislator to represent Lere constituency in the state Assembly.
He was one of the 31 lawmakers not sworn in initially because he was remanded in prison custody over an alleged murder case. The Director of Information of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Lamaran Labaran Chinade, had told newsmen then that 30 out of the 31 members, comprising 26 PDP and four CPC, would be sworn in.
Lamaran said the then member-elect representing Lame State constituency in Toro LGA, Yusuf Nuhu (CPC), would not be sworn in because of a case pending against him.
He explained: “You would recall that Yusuf Nuhu was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Court One charged with attempt to murder former Bauchi State Commissioner for Rural Development Alhaji Mahiru Maiwada Wandi, PDP House of Representative candidate, Barrister Hussaini and ex-Bauchi State Commissioner for Commerce, Alhaji Yakubu Jibrin during the last gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.”
Yusuf was later cleared and sworn in and had been an active lawmaker before his kidnap on Monday.
The state police spokesman, Mohammed disclosed that the police recovered eight live ammunition of Sub-Machine Gun (SMG) rifles and other items from his abductors who managed to escape with their captive.
He said: “Following a report we received on Monday night that gunmen had abducted one Hon. Yusuf Nuhu, member representing Lame constituency in the Bauchi State House of Assembly, the Police swung into action.
“Due to the hot pursuit of the miscreants by the police, the suspects abandoned their vehicle, one green Golf 3 Wagon at Rahama village, a border town between Toro and Saminaka of Kaduna State and took the lawmaker into the bush.”
He further said that a team of Joint Police and Vigilance Group had cordoned the entire area in order to arrest the culprits. He, however, added that he was not aware if any ransom was being demanded by the kidnappers.
Fears, fears everywhere
The fears of residents are not far-fetched because the lawmaker’s abduction has brought to the fore the rising cases of kidnapping in the state, thereby altering the relative peace the people of the state had hitherto enjoyed even in the midst of the security challenge that is confronting states in the North-East.
The abduction of Yusuf, an APC lawmaker is coming barely 24 hours after abduction of three health workers in Darazo and this has thrown his family and colleagues in the State Assembly into serious panic.
His colleague, Hon Baba Sule, who represents Jama constituency in Toro Local Government Area on the platform of the APC described Yusuf’s abduction as a sad and unfortunate development.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Saturday Sun, the lawmaker, who was obviously furious, said: “It is an unfortunate and sad incident. Although he is in the minority in the House, he is a colleague to everyone.
“I personally called the Commissioner of Police who told me that he had also received the news of the kidnap.
“It shows that there is insecurity in the country that needs to be addressed urgently. My advice is for the Federal Government and President Goodluck Jonathan to wake up to their responsibility.
“Their primary responsibility is to provide security for every citizen. Although security operatives are trying their best, the cases of kidnapping going on in this country are sad and unfortunate. The leaders must be proactive to curtail this monster.”
While most residents have before now slept with their two eyes closed, the fear of kidnap has now forced their eyelids open day and night. Saturday Sun gathered that the state lawmakers had held a meeting behind closed-doors with top security chiefs in the state on how to curtail the crime which is gradually becoming rampant.
“There is the need to take urgent steps and that was what we deliberated on,” said a source that attended the meeting and pleaded anonymity.
As residents await those in authority to allay their fears, it is yet to be seen whether the peace being enjoyed by Bauchi, which has eluded most states in the north east region, will be sustained if the menace of kidnapping is effectively checkmated by security agencies.
Category: Bauchi State News