For quite some time, Bauchi State has been in the news for the wrong reasons largely due to the level of insecurity in the State. This is because cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorist acts of the dreaded Islamic sect, known as Boko Haram, are all becoming the order of day and this is giving everybody a cause for concern.

The once enjoyable peace in the state is now threatened as people are reportedly forced to sleep with one eye open. But the most disturbing of these criminal trends is the Boko Haram rebel group that recently invaded the Northern parts of the country, with particular reference to Bauchi and Borno states.

It can be recalled that the fundamentalist group, last year unleashed terror in Bauchi and Maiduguri that led to loss of lives and properties worth millions of naira. Although the leader of the sect, Mohammed Yusuf, who instigated his followers to fight against Western education and Western civilization was captured and killed in Maiduguri, his disciples have kept his dream alive. That is those that escaped being killed due to their participation in the crisis as well as those arrested and remanded in prison custody, awaiting trial in Bauchi and Maiduguri.

Vanguard Metro learnt that before the death of the leader of this sect, he categorically stated that “even after I’m gone, my followers will still spring up and continue this mission. Boko Haram can never die”. True to his words, after everybody thought that Boko Haram was an issue of the past, it has resurrected and is becoming a pest that both the state and federal governments are finding difficult contending with.

* Bauchi metropolis

Barely a month after it was reported in the news that Bauchi Prison was attacked by members of Boko Haram during the Ramadan period, with the intention of setting free some of their members awaiting trial, those sect members who returned to the prison after many of prisoners escaped because the prison was attacked, recently protested over an amnesty that was offered to two of their members by the Bauchi state Governor, Isa Yuguda.

Their grievance was that the Governor was not fair in the amnesty he granted to the two Boko Haram members and that the amnesty was politically-motivated. As they resorted to protest in the prison, pandemonium once again broke out in the town fueled by rumors that the Boko Haram were on the rampage again.

However, events have taken a different dimension this time around as alleged members of Boko Haram who are still hiding in the state have now resorted to killing security operatives in the state, creating another feeling of insecurity among residents in Bauchi metropolis.

Precisely on October 13, 2010, around 7.00p.m at the Zango area in the outskirt of Bauchi metropolis, two suspected members of the discredited Boko Haram militants, riding on a motorcycle arrived the residence of a member of the Bauchi State Executive Council and gunned down a policeman on duty post. The second incident occurred at Kofar Gombe in Bauchi, when two persons also riding on a motorcycle, gunned down two policemen on duty.

… Bauchi govt reacts, assures citizens of protection

The Bauchi State Government in its reaction to the whole development says it has taken some far-reaching measures in a bid to assure the law-abiding citizens of its preparedness to combat all manner of crimes in the state and remedy the tensed security situation. In a press statement made available to Vanguard Metro and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mohammed Dandija, the state government decided to place a restriction on the operation of both private and commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Achaba.

Part of the statement also read: “The restrictions are as follows, henceforth, operators of commercial motorcycles are to operate during the day time only. The use of commercial motorcycles from 6.00pm to 7.00am is banned forthwith. Riders of private motorcycles are hereby banned from carrying passengers during the period of restriction from 6.00 pm to 7.00am and are requested to submit to the routine stop and check exercises being carried out by security agents.

It is equally imperative to stress that these measures are being taken in the interest of the general public and should not be construed as attempts to infringe on the freedom of law-abiding citizens. Security agents have been directed to ensure strict compliance with these restriction orders and deal decisively with all offenders”.

But when an undisclosed member of Boko Haram in the state was contacted on phone to react to the allegation leveled against them by the state government, he claimed absolute ignorance of the whole issue saying: “Members of Boko Haram could not have perpetrated the act of killing security operatives in the state, although the style that was used in carrying out the operation was similar to the one used in Maiduguri. We don’t believe in causing trouble and am saying that we are not responsible for the killing of the three policemen in the state”.

The leader who spoke in Hausa, however, assured residents of Bauchi not to panic as, according to him, the sect members do not have anything against the people but fighting against government and its agents for reasons he said he will not disclose now but at a later date and time when it becomes absolutely necessary for him to make the reasons public.

While corroborating the claims of the Boko-Haram sect, Bauchi State Government, through the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media Affairs, Sanusi Mohammed told Vanguard Metro in an interview that the killing was an assassination operation done by hired killers who he said will soon be arrested and punished in accordance with the relevant laws of the country.

Sanusi Mohammed assured that government is on top of the situation as it will not allow any breach of the peace in the state, but appealed to the people to immediately report any suspicious movement by strangers around them to the nearest security operative as, according to him, all security operatives and other para-military agencies have been put on security alert across the state.

When contacted, the State Police Commissioner, Danlami Yar’adua declined comment on the killings, saying that his Command has already step up investigations to get to the root of the situation and bring the culprits to book as soon as they are caught, saying, however, at the time of this report, that no arrest had been made.

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