By Ben Agande, Kaduna.
The Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen Abdulrahman Danbazzau has vowed that kidnappers in the country, especially those terrorising commuters along the Abuja-Kaduna highway would be treated as terrorists and the fun weight of the law would be brought to crush them.
Speaking with indigenes of Rijana, a settlement on the Kaduna-Abuja high way, which is a notorious haven for kidnappers, the minister said there was the need for people in the area to liaise with security agencies by providing information on the activities of criminals in the area.
But a spokesman of the people of the area, Abdulsalam Abubakar pointedly told the minister that the people are afraid of divulging information to the police because they end up being exposed to the criminals who have so far killed 18 informants that provided information to the police.
Responding to the complaints from the residents of the area, General Danbazau however assured them that government would do everything possible to bring the situation under control.
According to the Minister, “we are here on fact funding mission because of incessant kidnapping going on in this area. Government is interested because it is its responsibility to protect lives and property and besides, it is a promise this government made before it was elected into office. So I’m here to meet with the community and see how the ongoing special operation is going.
“We see this as act of terrorism because every element of terrorism is reflecting and it must stop. I’m aware that, most of the people involved are foreigners but they cannot succeed without connivance with those that reside here in the community. It is tragedies that ply this road cannot sure of his safe return.
“Many of the youths are unemployed which is partly responsible for their connivance with criminals to terrorise their victims. We will look at your complaints. Government has resolved to end this kidnapping. It is a promise and we will do everything possible to address the situation. We will also protect our informants”, he assured.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Abdulsalam Abubakar said though presence of security chiefs and other top government functionaries has brought some relief to the community, he expressed regret that many people from the community had lost their lives by providing information to the police.
“What is happening on this road is very disheartening and we members of the communities around are living in fear and anxiety specifically we members of the Rijana community are very interested in supporting this operation with useful information but, we are in serious trouble in this community.
“Its not that we don’t have information to give but we are scared, because we can’t see reasons why 600 security personnel will be around here and they will not be able to enter the bush and flush out the criminals. Our youths are now spoilt. They have mixed with criminals and they have been corrupted by them.
“But our major problem is the fear of death. Our people are now scared to give information to the security agents. We have hitherto been giving information to the police but instead of seeing improvement and progress in the area of security, it is the other way round.
“Everybody knows in this community that, in the process of giving out information to the security, we have lost 18 people. There was one of us who were seen as a very brave man. He gave list of suspects to the security and he was macheted into pieces three days after in the presence of his wife. So also, there was a gentleman, Mallam Abdulrahman who also gave information to the security he was also matchetted to death. Same with Yakubu, Sani and Solomon, son of a village chief (Galadima). All died through information given to the security agents.
“There are bad eggs among the security personnel especially the police. Whoever tells you Honourable Minister that this does not exists in the police is telling you lie.
“Our patriotic Inspector General of Police has done very well because we have observed that at every u-turn along this express way, there is a police patrol van with a minimum of ten personnel.
But unfortunately, you will hear that in-between there are cases of armed robbery or kidnapping. And if you tell a policeman that robbery or kidnapping is ongoing somewhere close by, he will tell you point blank that he will not go because he does not carry the weapon criminals carry.
“It is very disturbing that IGP has deployed 600 policemen to this area and not even a common chicken has been arrested. We believed that, our police have requisite intelligence to tackle these problems.
“Since the last IGP’s visit, I have not been sleeping in my house because I’m scared that the way I spoke before the IG that day, the criminals will come after me”, he stressed.