By Charly Agwam

ALMOST everyone has had his share of rising insecurity in the country but Birshin Fulani, an otherwise serene low-cost settlement located within Bauchi metropolis for middle income earners, has become notorious for kidnapping, killings and various forms of criminality in recent times.

One of the casualties, Abubakar Garba Muhammad, a senior staff of the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, was shot dead in front of his apartment when he dared to rescue his son who was struggling with gunmen.

“When I moved here with my family few years ago, there were just a few houses. We built our homes here because land was very cheap and it’s very easy to live here and work in Bauchi. But with rising insecurity threatening our lives on daily basis in this area, it is now a miracle to sleep and wake up without one sad event or the other being carried out by unknown gunmen.

Somebody told me the other day that where I live is now called New Sambisa. I regret building my house in this place,” Isa Ibrahim, a 62 years old retiree lamented while narrating his experience to Arewa Voice.

Ibrahim’s lamentation of security challenges in Birshin Fulani resonates with the ugly experiences of several residents of area who live with the fear of being kidnapped or killed before daybreak. One unfortunate incident that shook Bauchi was the kidnapping of a nursing mother, Rukayyat Odedoyin.

About ten gunmen had stormed the area around midnight and forced themselves into the building, breaking the main door to gain entrance into the house.

A neighbour who refused to give her name told journalists: “About 12 midnight, we started hearing sporadic gunshots from different directions around our house. We woke up and took cover. We then heard people jumping the fence trying to gain entrance into the house of our neighbour. They were there from midnight to 1:30 am. By the time we came out, they had gone with the woman leaving behind her three children.”

Meanwhile, Arewa Voice investigation showed why banditry in Birshin Fulani has continued for a long time despite efforts by government and security agencies to arrest the situation. The area, which lies in a vast lowland savannah plain, can be accessed through many bush tracks, which bandits have successfully exploited in recent times for their nefarious activities. Another resident and publisher of an online newspaper in Bauchi, Haruna Mohammed, told Arewa Voice that bandits relied on the information they get from local collaborators for their clandestine operations.

He said: “The major problem here is that we have local collaborators, if you like, you can call them informants. It is these informants that tell the bandits which house to strike. Yes, I agree partly that one of the issues affecting the area is inadequate security presence but Birshin (Fulani) is an extension of Bauchi metropolis. Remember that this community has vigilante, so, there’s some kind of local policing in collaboration with civilians.

“There were some arrests of some of the informants. They are still in police custody as we speak. These informants are like their representatives here. They know everybody in the community. For example, if you sell a landed property in this community, the criminals will know that you have sold a landed property through their informants and that will make their visit imminent. Thankfully, since the informants were arrested, there has been relative peace in the area.”

Worried by the rising insecurity in the state, Governor Bala Mohammed recently met with local government chairmen over the deteriorating security situation in their domains, where he warned that any connivance of local government officials with bandits to short-change the people of the state would be met with dire consequences.

While stressing that the insecurity in the state was becoming very worrisome as a majority of the population of the state live in the rural areas, the governor said that if insecurity continues to thrive in the rural areas, it would definitely pose a threat to the State. Governor Mohammed warned: “The chairmen of the local governments are the chief executives of their respective local government areas. We have told them to be holding weekly meetings with their security agencies in their local government areas.

“We have been lending you support to run your security challenges. You are supposed to work with the security heads, emirs, village heads, the vigilantes and the security agencies in your local government areas, but you are not doing that. It is very unfortunate that the situation is deteriorating and everybody is looking up to the governor or the federal government.”


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