By Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA—WHEN Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid-Fitr, next week, their counterparts in Daura, Katsina State, the birth place of President Muhammadu Buhari, will not be part of it.
Reason: The Daura Emirate Council has suspended all activities lined up to mark the Sallah celebration in the emirate due to insecurity.
This came as Northern Governors, yesterday, met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential villa, Abuja, where they lamented that banditry and kidnapping in the region were becoming more threatening than Boko Haram insurgency.
Also, the Presidency said yesterday that it could not guarantee whether or not the President Buhari administration will put an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Some parts of Katsina have remained hotbeds of banditry, killings and kidnapping in recent times claiming scores of lives. Indeed, 34 people were, last week, murdered in some parts of the state by unknown gunmen, an incident which made the state government to assent to a law that prescribed capital punishment for kidnapping, cattle rustling and armed robbery.
The district head of Daura, Alhaji Musa Umar-Uba, was recently kidnapped at his residence in Daura by unknown gunmen and since the incident, no contact was made with him or his abductors and the ancient town has been gloomy.
Malam Abdulmumini Salihu (Danejin Daura) made the disclosure on behalf of the emirate council in a statement issued in Daura, yesterday.
Salihu said that the suspension of the Sallah activities was due to the recent security breaches bedeviling some parts of the state.
He said the recent happenings which led to the kidnap and brutal killings of some innocent citizens of the state were saddening and unfortunate.
The emirate said it would use the period to commiserate with the government of the state, citizens and victims’ relations over the unfortunate development.
It added that during the day, only two raka’at Eid prayers would be observed after which marathon prayers and supplication would be conducted to invoke divine intervention over the precarious security challenges.
The council, however, directed all the 16 district heads, 245 village heads and ward heads, to organize and supervise prayers in their areas of jurisdictions, with a view to achieving lasting peace and stability nationwide.
Banditry, kidnapping now like Boko Haram – Northern Govs
Lamenting that banditry and kidnapping in the region were becoming more threatening than Boko Haram insurgency, the northern governors also said they have briefed President Buhari on the strategy they have adopted to tackle the increasing insecurity situation in the area and that the President had started doing something in that direction.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting with the President, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State said the meeting was to brief him on the increasing insecurity in the North.
He said they came to see the President based on a resolution of the Northern State Governors Forum, NSGF, at a meeting held in Kaduna 10 days ago.
He stated that the rate of banditry and kidnapping in North-West and North-Central was frightening and gradually becoming more threatening like the insurgency in the North-East and called for urgent and decisive action against the insecurity in the area.
His words: “The issue that brought us to the President is about the rising insecurity in the North-West, North-Central and North-East. The North-East is known for Boko Haram insurgency but of recent what was known to be cattle rustling in North-West and some parts of North-Central has turned out to be something different from what we had before.
“So, this concern made us to come and brief the President so that urgent action would be taken in order to curb this deadly menace of banditry which is gradually graduating into insurgency. You know the North-West with a vast forest area going to North-Central and then even going out of Nigeria.
“So we need to act quickly and decisively so that it doesn’t turn into something else like what we had in the northeast.”
He said President Buhari gave his full commitment that something will be done in order to make sure that the menace was curbed.
The governor, who said they made suggestions to the President on the way forward, refused to disclose the solution but said “it’s not for public consumption.”
On Magajin Gari Daura, who was abducted 26 days ago, he said: “I think the police are working seriously and they have made some progress but for obvious reasons, they cannot disclose all they have done for security reasons but work is going on.”
The governors at the meeting were Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Kashim Shetima of Borno, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Abdulazziz Yari of Zamfara and Sani Bello of Niger.
We can’t promise B’Haram’ll be eradicated –Presidency
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, has said he cannot guarantee whether or not the President Buhari administration will put an end to Boko Haram insurgency.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television, Shehu acknowledged that while the Federal Government was still cracking down on Boko Haram insurgency, new security challenges have emerged.
Asked if terrorism had come to stay or would be curbed completely, Shehu said: “I can’t promise you that Boko Haram will or will not be eradicated but it is an ongoing challenge globally. Even in more advanced and ‘weaponised’ nations, it is still a challenge.”
He, however, said Boko Haram has “faded away”, and that the Federal Government was doing all it could to tackle banditry and kidnapping.
He said: “I am happy that there is a realisation that there is shifting ground. When the president came in 2015, the big issue was Boko Haram. Boko Haram has faded away, it is on the way out but new challenges have arose. You have mentioned banditry and kidnappings and these ones are being tackled,” Shehu said.
“Recent successes have been recorded, look at what for instance, the police are doing, operation Puff Adder that they launched. They have netted in over 150 suspected kidnappers and bandits and they have recovered huge quantities of weapons, surprisingly, locally made semi-automatic weapons, revolvers that have multiple cartridges in Anambra, Plateau and Zamfara.”
“The attacks you just mentioned are still a far cry from those attacks that we had seen in the past. They are being pushed away farther from the national population. We had mentioned this thing about availability of cheap weapons in the country and across borders.
“As it is now, our security services are coming to terms with the fact that it is one area they have to tackle. The source of weapons whether locally manufactured or brought from abroad has to be tackled otherwise, it is like oxygen to crime. They will replenish because these things are readily available. Government has identified local manufacturers and seized weapons.”
Suspension of Sallah Celebration, insult to President Buhari — Sheikh Munir
Reacting to the development, a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Sidi Munir, lamented the suspension of Sallah celebrations in the emirates of Daura and Katsina in Katsina State, saying it was an insult on President Muhammadu Buhari who is from the state.
Speaking in an interview with Vanguard, Sheikh Munir said the move was also a bold statement to the entire country that the President has failed to secure even his own people.
Sheikh Munir, who is from the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, said: “I don’t blame the two emirates going by the trend of insecurity in Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina, especially.
“If anyone thinks Sallah celebrations would take place successfully in these states, the person is merely deceiving himself.
“Suspension of Sallah celebrations in Katsina is an insult on President Muhammadu Buhari because he is from that state. It is believed that the President is aloof to the security challenges in his home state.
“So, what the emirates in Katsina did was right in the sense that they want to send a message not to just the President but to the entire country that insecurity is worsening in the state.”
Similarly, the traditional ruler of Dege-Lawal community in Katsina, Kabir Muhammad, said the suspension of Eid-ul-Fitri celebrations was also a way to express solidarity to those who have fallen victims of the insecurity in Katsina.
He told Vanguard: “It is a very good move by both the emirate councils and the state government. It indicates that they have the welfare of the people at heart.
‘’It is also a way of commiserating with the people that have been maimed and killed. I appreciate the foresight.”
There’s no harm—Sheikh Jingr
Also reacting, leader, Izalatu Bidiah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah in Jos, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, said there was no harm in the cancellation of the celebration.
Sheikh Jingir said: “There is no harm in the cancellation because it does not affect the performing of the prayer. But as regards the celebration, due to what happened in some villages in the state, the people of the state should know that they will celebrate it next year. Under Islamic law, this is in order and it will not create any issue.”