By Luka Binniyat
Every evening, before sunset, the entire Kaduna State is locked up: residents are forced indoors until the state is unlocked by its keepers at dawn. That is the huge price the residents now pay for the third week running for the indiscretion of some miscreants. But the authorities say the sacrifice is worth it.

Youths who claimed to be protesting the result of the last presidential election had sparked a full scale arson and mass  murder that are unusual even by the records of the state.

An estimated 300 people were killed, hundreds of churches and mosques torched, homes and places of business ruined in one fell swoop.

A cross section of displaced people from Kafanchan and other villages at the Hajj camp in Kaduna

Governor Patrick Yakowa, after an emergency Security Council Meeting of the state,  imposed a 24 hour curfew in the state on the 17th April, 2011, then relaxed it from 5am to 8pm. Yet life is not yet back to normal.

The price of the violence is much appreciated in the vast physical destruction; in the human casualty that is far less than the trauma of some victims whose psyche, and even mental state are forever altered.

“I was in school when I heard rumours of war from some of my classmates who were receiving distress phone calls”, Mrs Juliana Moses, a student of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Wusasa Zaria, told Saturday Vanguard at the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria where she is taking refuge.

The military authorities do not allow journalists in, but Saturday Vanguard found its way in.

“I did not take it very serious, as I was busy in my ward attending to patients as part of my practicals”, said the mother of a three year old girl who she left in care of a nanny at Wusasa, an area dominated by CPC (Congress for Progressive Change) supporters.

CPC youth supporters are accused of starting the violence.

“Then I heard cries all over the place”, she said.

A pick_up van had  just brought the corpses of three men battered to death by the rioters, their throats  slit like a slaughtered sheep. She said they were Christians caught unawares in the Muslims dominated part of Zaria.

“I ran like I was mad to the house,” she said.

“I did not enter through the gate, I climbed the wall, and fell into the compound. I heard the voices of men and women at the gate. The nanny was not there, and my baby was crying alone.  I grabbed my baby, strapped it my to my back and jumped back, taking nothing with me”, she said.

“I can’t tell you how, but I ran back to the School to find more dead bodies brought to the hospitals”, she said.
She could not sleep all through the night. Fortunately, the soldiers came to evacuate her and others to safety at the Army Depot.

When Saturday Vanguard asked why, she pointed at an unkempt woman lying under the shade of a tree.
“She is my friend, and I cannot leave her here; not now “, she said

“Her house was attacked at Sabon Gari area on Monday morning. Her husband and her younger brother were slaughtered  right before her eyes.

“She was dragged out with her four year old son.

“The family car was set ablaze. The cheering youths beat her with clubs, snatched the baby from her and threw it inside the burning car.

“She has been behaving very abnormally. I don’t know her closely. But, I hope to find her close relations, whom I understand are somewhere in Akwa Ibom.

“One of them came and tried to take her away, but she would not let anyone near her except me. The doctor has seen her, and he said she should be given some time. We thank the Army, and the churches and good people that have been helping us.

“My husband has arrived, but I cannot leave this woman here.

There are all kinds of sordid tales from the refugees.

There are other sordid tales by other victims.

In Kaduna town, most of the refugees have left. More are leaving.

But  at  the Hajj Camp, Mando, some of the displaced persons said they have nowhere to go and don’t know how long they would be allowed to stay.

“My house and business have been burnt for a second time”, said Ibraheem Jimoh who has been living in Kaduna since 1978 around Tudun Wada, a strong CPC enclave where a lot of bloodshed took place.

“They said, I was a supporter of PDP. And that as Yoruba Muslim I was not a pure Muslim.

“We are treated the same as Christians each time there is a problems here.

“I have no place to go again. My wife and children left to stay with my brothers in Lagos since the other riot (of 2006).
“I am not leaving here, because it is too late for me to go and start life all over again in another town. I will stay here and look for another house”, he said.

The Director General of Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alh. Mohammed Sani Sidi  announced last week, that about 26,000 were displaced from their homes and places of work in Kaduna state.

He did not say how much government has spent on their care or how much it plans to spend in taking care of them.
But, the price that Kaduna state is paying for the violence is huge.

Businesses are counting loses, and prices of commodities have gone up.

A bottle of Palm oil that sold for N 200 before the riots in the southern part of the state has risen to N400.
The situation has been worsened by the fuel scarcity that has just hit the state.

In some filing stations, the price of fuel has gone to N80 per litre, and there is a mad rush for it.
Motorist desperately struggle to get fuel before curfew hours.

This has forced a life in transport fares.

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