ATTENTION: DR HUMBLE BEGE KATUKA, Chairman, Kaura LG and PETER DANJUMA AVERIK, Chairman, Jema’a LG
It is no longer news that Gidan Waya Kagoro Road is no longer safe for road users between the hours of 7pm – 12 midnight. Unsuspecting Road users are constantly waylaid, harassed, humiliated, intimidated and robbed at gun point on specific days of the week (Sundays, when students of College of Education Gidan Waya are known to be returning from weekend to school and presumed to be carrying wad of cash and valuables and Thursdays when traders from the Jagindi Market as well as the popular Pig market popularly called Tunga Alade in Katsit Kafanchan) are returning. Once it is 6pm and you have a reason to ply that road on these two days of week, you will have to pray and hope that you don’t fall victim to these bandits who have made huge fortunes and capital out of armed robbery along this road.
I have been a victim of high way robbery thrice (3ce). Two of them on the same spot just by the sharp bend after the last houses in Mararaban Kagoro going towards Gidan Waya. The other one was between Gitata – Barde axis. On both robberies, I lost, as indeed many other road users valuables that I cannot begin to mention here.
A close friend of mine lost his dear mother in Makurdi, Benue State. Myself and a colleague of mine who’s equally close to him made it to Makurdi to commiserate with him and his family over the demise of the matriarch of the family. The burial took place on Thursday and we were bent on returning to our places of work after the funeral to catch up with the feast of All Saints, a traditional Catholic Solemnity that must be kept across the world every November 1st. 8pm we arrived Gidan Waya and by our estimation, should be in our houses before 9pm. Lo and behold, mother luck ran out of us and these armed bandits preyed on us. Again, like the other robberies, we lost all our phones, cash and other valuables.
Our vehicle was the second to arrive the robbery spot. And thereafter other vehicles from both sides also fell into them. The first signal we got that all was not well were sporadic powerful flashlights that could blind one instantaneously. Then we made to continue and the next thing we heard was a gun fired at our car and smashed the side glass of the pessenger’s side where I was seated. Naturally, the glass dissolved on us and before you could say Jack, they swooped on us. Then the normal language, “kwanta a kasa, kawo Kudi, Waya da duk abin da kuke da shi” (go down flat with your head down, bring the money on you, then your phones and any other valuables you have). Amongst their victims were men, women and children. There were of course very many traders who were returning from the two markets who went to genuinely pursue their legitimate means of livelihoods. They certainly lost some good money to these good for nothing riff raffs.
The accent of these hoodlums gave them out. Clearly some misguided Fulani boys ran the show. As with other previous experiences of mine, they moment they begin to speak and issue out threats and ordering you about, you will be able to tell the ethnic group. I believe that yesterday’s operation was carried out by bad boys from the Fulani stock with the collaboration of the locals from Gidan Waya and Kagoro who obviously didn’t speak but were in the bushes giving cover while the bold fearless Fulani boys carried out the operation.
Now, a pattern has been established. They have specific days with which they carry out this nefarious activities. Why is it difficult to nip this and stop the constant dispossession of people’s hard earned means of livelihood? This is why I called out the names of the two local government chairmen. Jema’a and Kaura LGC’s share boundaries along that axis. If the chairmen care so much about the life and protection of their citizenry, why is it so difficult to synergise and come up with appropriate response to this madness? I am not talking about a one off kind of thing. These robberies have become a normal way of life and those who have reasons to ply that road are constantly left to bear the brunt of whatever befalls them. I know that these robberies predate their administrations. But being forward looking and progressives that I know them for, I know they have the capacity to stop this once and for all.
There was a time this was also the practice along Kagoma – Anfana Road. I don’t know what the local government did as well as the local communities. All I know is that these robberies are no longer taking place in that axis and motorists are able to ply that road in safety. Something can be done about it along the Kagoro Gidan Waya road also.
Let me even shock you. When they were done robbing us, they led us like sheep to go and dismantle the barricades. And then asked us to file out one by one. They supervised our departure from the crime scene. At this point, I cursed the day I was born in this country. One of the traders who was also a victim like us, after loosing everything, had the temerity to thank the armed robbers for being JUST to us. Yes, you heard me right. (Mun gode. Kun yi mana adalci). What the heck! I have been humiliated. I have been dispossessed of my belongings. And yet, I will have to thank them for letting me go? Incredulous!! I don’t blame him. This is what they have done to our psyche. He had to thank them for only robbing us rather than kill us or even take us for ransom. This is what I believe was in the mind of the trader. Poor man!
At Kagoro round about, we reported the robbery to the security men at the check point. Wait, their response will make you cringe. “eyya. It is well. Sorry”. That’s all. What?? There was no sense of urgency in these men. They didn’t even pretent to say please take us to the crime scene. They behaved like it was business as usual. I am not a believer of conspiracy theories. Now I may have to begin to think about this whole thing. The role of security men in the perpetration of crime on our high way must be investigated. Gen. T. Y. Danjuma bared his mind on this and it is making sense. I can’t understand why between Gidan Waya and Kagoro, a stretch of about 10 mins, criminals will be having a field day undeterred.
Back to my local government chairmen. Can you please make a case for the positioning of two to three check points between Tsonje and Tudun Wada? I don’t know what the check point in Mararaban Kagoro and Passakori are doing there. Now that thankfully, we have some relative peace around these communities, please make a case for police/security presence around these dark areas. Make use of the vigilantes please. Millions if not billions of Naira are been lost to robberies on that road. Think of what this will do to our economy.
I have decided to voice my experience out. There are thousands out there who have been through this excruciating experiences and yet do not have a voice. I have been able to do this for myself and many out there who don’t have the power of the new media. Please hearken to our plea and do something about this. Use some of your security votes to protect us on that Kagoro Gidan Waya axis. We are fed up and tired Hon Chairmen.
Fr Williams Kaura Abba