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Kaduna attacks: Displaced communities await government’s intervention, 2 years after

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As a result of the activities of bandits in Kaduna State, including unending kidnapping, some communities have been sacked for over two years. Without any significant intervention from the relevant authorities, some victims of the crisis are loitering the city centre struggling to survive, while those who can afford to pay for accommodation are quickly running out of resources as their means of livelihood have been cut short.

In an investigative documentary by Trust Television, titled, “Kabai Ghost Town: A Community Displaced by Banditry, what the affected communities have been going through was revealed.

After travelling on a motorcycle for about 30 minutes away from Kaduna town, our reporters’ first port of call was Kabai, a community under Chukun Local Government Area.

Over the past two years, Kabai experienced a surge in bandits’ activities, resulting in the displacement of numerous families and destruction of homes and livelihoods. Relics and dilapidated structures are the only things left.

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A 62-year-old native of Kabai, Jiwa Dakho, who resides in Sabon Kankomi, recalled how members of the community were repeatedly attacked and killed before some of them were forced to migrate.

“Kabai has been existing for long and our forefathers were never displaced like what is happening to us now. The bandits attacked us and killed many people, both young and old. We became scared and everybody took their heels in different directions, scampering for safety. Nobody has dared to come back because we lack security. If we are assured of security, many people will come back. We are not comfortable at the places we are living,” Dakho said.

victims of sabon gida reyawa seeking refuge in tudun biri
victims of sabon gida reyawa seeking refuge in tudun biri

The village head of Kabai, Gideon Abashe, who now lives in some abandoned structures at the outskirts of Kaduna town, said the crisis started with kidnappers picking residents and collecting ransom. It later degenerated into killing.

He said, “Although the government was doing its best by sending soldiers once in a while, the bandits kept attacking us, so we had no choice but to flee. Life is difficult with us now because we left everything. Initially, we were accommodated in displaced persons camps but we were not getting any support, so we had to find other alternative means of survival.

“The structures some of us are occupying right now were abandoned by landlords for lack of security. We are occupying the houses because we have no option. And we are paying rents.

“We are predominantly famers but we have lost our farmlands. What we now do is to rent portions of lands to produce crops during the rainy season to enable us survive.’’

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Daily Trust Saturday reports that unlike what obtains in other crisis-ridden places, lack of a designated displaced persons camp in Kaduna State leaves affected communities without a centralised place of refuge.

The North West zonal coordinator of the National Emergency Management agency (NEMA), Abbani Garki, said they were not officially aware of the victims seeking refuge in uncompleted buildings as a result of the activities of bandits in the state.

“There are lots of people migrating from one community to another; so it depends on the circumstances. If the NEMA is informed, we will take note of that and try to understand what makes them migrate from different communities.

“According to the information I have, we do not have any formal displaced persons camp here in Kaduna. And we don’t have any information about those people living in uncompleted buildings.

“As I told you, a lot of people migrate to this place on economic basis, not even within the state but from neighbouring states, looking for better jobs to sustain themselves.

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“If we were officially informed we would go there and take note of the basic needs of the people and make provision for what is needed. But as I am telling you now, I don’t have any information that there are uncompleted structures occupied by victims of insecurity in the state.

“From the information I have, most of the people that migrate live with their loved ones in town. They blend into their host communities, so you hardly see people living in uncompleted buildings,” Garki said.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that almost on a daily basis, communities are rampaged by bandits in Kaduna State. For example, at Sabon Gida Reyawa, a community under Igabi Local Government Area, hundreds of residents have been sacked from their homes, so they seek refuge at Tudun Biri.

Mohammadu Sanusi, one of the victims of attacks said, “The bandits have guns but we don’t have any. They came repeatedly between 6pm and 8pm daily and attempted to kill us, but we escaped. Unfortunately, one of the children got injured and has been taken to the hospital, where he is currently receiving treatment.

“We had to advise our women and children to start running. We told them to pick some possessions and head to Tudun Biri. The trouble is unbearable. The bandits don’t allow us to harvest out crops. During the dry season, they would destroy our crops before harvest. We can’t grow enough food to eat, so we are left to buy foodstuff. And a bag of maize is N50,000. The government should please provide us with security in our community.”

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Another victim, Barakat Salha, said the hardship faced by the community as a result of insecurity was intolerable. “As you can see, we are packing out of the community because we are not sure of what would happen. The government should help us to regain peace in our community so that we can go back to our normal life and access our farms. We are hungry and under duress. We can’t produce crops or do business,” he lamented.

Tudun Biri, which is not also free from attacks, is still awaiting the intervention of government to develop their community and beef up security.

The  federal and state governments had earlier promised to provide the community with social amenities and security in compensation for the drone strike by the Nigerian military that mistakenly killed a group of people they assumed to be bandits as residents of Tudun Biri  gathered to celebrate the Maulud religious festival. About 80 people were killed and many injured in that tragedy.

Speaking with our correspondent, an Islamic teacher, Abdullahi Musa, recalled how he organised students on the ill-fated evening of the drone strike. He has been bedridden since then. He called on the government to help deliver its promises to the community

“We are passing though the challenges of kidnappers. Our children have been kidnapped and we have lost lots of money. Our community was raided by bandits during the last fasting period and a member of residents lost their lives. Until the recent military drone strike, the government had promised to protect us. However, I am happy to see some solders around the community and I pray that the government would fulfill its promises,” he said.

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The pastor of Nagarta Baptish Church, Tudun Biri, The Reverend Musa Saidu, revealed that the government was yet to fulfill its promises to the community, explaining, “The development you see here are from private bodies who came to show solidarity.

“The government is yet to fulfill its promises, except the road that was paved and some soldiers that have been patrolling the community. The government has not started the projects it promised. We are, therefore, calling on the government to fulfill its promises as they will bring us peace and development.”

Responding to the above issues, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, said the government had set up a committee under the leadership of the deputy governor, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarebe, and it is working assiduously to fulfill the promises made to the residents of Tudun Biri.

Aruwan said a lot of efforts were being deployed to bring peace to the affected communities. He said, “For security reasons, we won’t be able to give you details of what we are doing, but we are doing much. The military is carrying out intensive and aggressive operations across the state, specifically in locations where citizens have been displaced as a result of security issues. We are not relenting, but it is important we keep so many things we are doing to our chest.”





Source link: Daily Trust/

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