Residents of Kaduna State have criticised efforts by the El-rufai led government to create an impression that the state is safe despite daily kidnapping and killings of residents by armed bandits.
Kaduna has become Nigeria’s kidnapping hub with at least one incident of kidnapping recorded every day since 2015 and has grown worse in recent months causing residents to flee to neighbouring states and motorists to desert the popular Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
On Sunday, eight students of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, were kidnapped along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway while gunmen stormed Albasi village in Sabon Birnin in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State and killed eleven persons. The kidnapped students remain in captivity.
Emmanuel Rabo, a resident of Damba-Kasaya village in Chikun Local Government where a similar attack happened in September but has now relocated to neighbouring Nassarawa State, told SaharaReporters on Thursday that a feeling of hopelessness is widespread in the state.
“We no longer sleep with our eyes closed since the attack,” he said. “Many people died that morning. Nobody has come to our rescue or to say, ‘let me greet these people for what happened to them’ — we are on our own.”
Rabo said the government had abandoned the people. “On the radio, you will hear them saying ‘police this, military that’ but it’s a lie,” he said. “I had to move my family to my brother’s house in Keffi because I think it is better that way — his church is feeding us, and I also do Okada business so that I feed my family and not be a burden. I don’t think we will go back.”
Another resident, Saleh Malumfashi, who lives in Narayi High-Cost Area of Barnawa said the kidnappers are emboldened by government’s inaction and unwillingness to solve the lingering insecurity.
Speaking in Hausa, he said, “Kaduna was never like this. We have always been one of the best states in Nigeria, but now it looks like these people have overpowered the government. I have lived here for 25 years even though I am from Katsina State, but it has never been this bad.
“Anybody that tells you that things are okay is just pretending, and we cannot keep pretending. I live in the township, and I can tell you that everybody is afraid. We are barely struggling to survive daily. Where will we get money for ransom? Even those who pay a ransom are still killed. I call on Baba Buhari to help us and may Allah make it easy for us.”
Calistus Eze, a businessman who sells second-hand spare parts in Malali, a popular area in the state, said he might relocate to a safer state if the situation does not improve by the end of the year.
“You know it is if one has life that we can sell anything. The way things are in the north now, not just in Kaduna, no business person can put money into building shops and warehouses because if any small thing happens, they always burn it,” he said.
“Now, it is bandits abducting people and asking for ransom. If we are truthful, the governor knows who these people are. He should talk to them because serious-minded people are planning to leave the state. I am from Nkanu in Enugu, but I have a brother in Lagos who has been pressuring me to leave. I am still watching until year-end.”
SaharaReporters, New York