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Terror in North: Fear grips corps members

By Abdulsalam Mohammed
The situation at the Kusala Dam Orientation Camp of the NYSC in Kano tells a story of not only deep rooted anxiety and discontent but  a frustrated life of a group held hostage by circumstances in a home far away from home.

The reasons were not far fetched in that 87 percent of the 1,200 population of the camp comprises of such individuals who  for the first time in their lives found themselves in ‘foreign enclave’ erroneously believed not be a safe haven  for non indigenes.

It therefore sprang a little surprise over  the palpable fear that gripped the community when the news of a deadly assault by Boko Haram sect on the cities of Bauchi, Maiduguri , Damaturu, Potiskum, in Yobe State and Wudil in Kano that inflicted serious casualty on the nation.

Mammah, Yusuf and Balogun
Mammah, Yusuf and Balogun

Saturday Vanguard learnt that the disturbing news filtered into the Orientation Camp through unofficial sources following conscious effort by the camp officials to shield it away from them to avoid panic and  chaos.

For Peter Ikeli, a graduate of accountancy form Imo state, he was so devastated by the news that he had wished he could ‘disappear and condensed’ safely in his hometown.

According to him, the news was broken to him by his relations in the East via his GSM line, and was advised to stay within the camp to avoid falling a victim.

He stated that there is strong belief among the Christians and non indigenes alike that Kano is melting pot of crisis, and the news of its spread of the sectarian crisis to Wudil, 28 kilometres from the Northern largest city,  sent shock waves into the spine of everyone of them in the camp.

“At a time the news filtered into the camp, I had wished for a miracle from God where it would have been possible for me to disappear and condense safely in my hometown. Like most of  my compatriots from the South, we hold the belief that Kano is a melting pot for sectarian violence”, Ikeli stressed.

We trust no one

Of course, Peter Ikeli was not alone in his thinking, for Bukola Balogun, a graduate of Business Administration from Kano Polytechnic, noted that the spread of the violence to Wudil  was a confirmation of ‘bad news’ they  have heard about the city of Kano .

She stressed that the fear and tension disappeared following the appearance of the Director General of the scheme whose soothing assurance did the magic. She added that the assurance by the District Head too was also encouraging.

“I must confess, I was scared stiff just like every other members of the community by the bad news. Here, you are in a foreign enclave, surrounded by those you cannot trust because of the ethnic and religious divide. But the appearance of the DG, and the District Head of Karaye in the camp evaporated the fear and eased off the tension”, Bukola said.

Bukola Balogun however confided in Saturday Vanguard  that despite the crisis, the scheme has helped in building bridges across the Nigeria. She expressed support for the continuation of the national scheme initiated by the Gown regime.

But for Rosaline Ibidoye, the news of a sectarian crisis was not strange to her, adding that her relations after breaking the news to her offered some safety tips to play safe in event it spread to the camp.

Ibidoye, a graduate of Business Education from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria said, “It is a phenomenon that has gained root in the north, and all you need  do in such an environment  is to  rededicate your life to God.”

According to her, “I am used to sectarian crises. It’s not strange. All you need do in such situation especially in a hostile environment, is to go back to God for deliverance. I stay and live in Kaduna. What have we not seen? Ibidoye queried.

But state coordinator of the NYSC in Kano, Emmanuel Bamidele Adewuyi said that soon, as the news of the  unfortunate incident infiltrate the camp, they moved swiftly to douse the tension and the likely consequences of such ‘bad news’ on the community.

Adewuyi admitted  some elements of news black out to control the situation, maintained that the camp was secured for the population of the fresh 1,200 graduates.

“We assured them of their safety, and the unexpected arrival of the Director General of the national scheme assisted in no small measure to  reduce the tension in the camp, Adewuyi explained.

State Coordinator explained that it was natural for the corps members to have reacted to the story the way they did, stressing that despite the fearful expression no member of the scheme has ever been caught down in numerous religious crises in the ancient city.

He stated that people appreciate the selfless services they rendered to the nation, adding that there are instances where the local communities provide security cover to those serving in their area.

As for Ibrahim Yusuf, a graduate of Micro Biology from the University of Benin, expressed doubt whether any corp member will wish to serve in Wudil because of phobia.

Ibrahim Yusuf, a native of Kogi,  explained that the issue is such that they have no options than to  tow the line of destiny, maintaining that the incident was bad public relations for the entire North.

“Sincerely, I don’t think any corps member will wish to be posted to Wudil. But in this circumstances, we have no option than tow the line of destiny and pray to Allah for deliverance”, Kogi born platoon commander explains.

Majority of those who speak to Saturday Vanguard expressed deep support for the scheme, claiming among other things, that it has helped understand the beauty of multi cultural society like Nigeria.

In spite of the anxiety and misconception of the guests in ‘foreign enclave’  on the largest commercial city in the north, Shekarau administration has taken bold steps to ensure the security of life at  the camp.

The camp, located within the precinct of the Kusala Dam, near Karaye town, boasts  of standard facilities that are the envy of other camps within the region.

A gale of security drawn from Hisbah Guard mounted a road block on the 4-kilometer stretch of road, off Karaye highway and monitored vehicular movements and occupants to avoid infiltration of ‘unwanted elements’ in the camp.

The tight security at the orientation camp is enough to overwhelm potential trouble makers to have a second thought, and Saturday Vanguard learnt that the District Head of Karaye constantly visits the camp to fraternise with officials and assures them of their safety.

Saturday Vanguard reports that Boko Haram assault robbed off the hustle and  bustle associated with such camp anywhere in the country  where  able bodied men ease out tension after grueling academic exercises.

For now the 1200 corps members have realised the need to submit to fate and destiny, while praying to God to see them through the national assignment without hitch.

In the words of Ifeoma Edith Mammah, “Our trust goes on to God who has destined our fate this way , and unto Him we rededicate our self for deliverance.”


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.