Kidnappers, armed robbers and other violent criminals still operate in parts of Kaduna State, but the ones in the state’s notorious areas seem to be on the back foot thanks to a security offensive.
Kaduna State had in the past four years been notorious for kidnapping and armed banditry, especially on Kaduna-Abuja and Kaduna Birnin Gwari roads, claiming many lives and millions of naira in ransom to abductors.
The situation equally caused unquantifiable economic loss, not only to Kaduna State, but the entire nation, as the two major highways are the major corridors between the North and South. While Kaduna-Abuja Road connects the North to the Southeast, Southsouth and Southwest through the federal capital and Northcentral, Birnin-Gwari Road connects the North to Southwest through Northcentral.
Birnin-Gwari, unlike Kaduna-Abuja Road that is only known for kidnap for ransom, has over the years been the stomping ground of armed robbers, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and bandits, who have killed hundreds of people in the area.
However, the criminalities which in the past appeared to have defied all security measures, now seem to have been decimated by the security forces, though pockets of kidnap and armed banditry cases persist, especially in hard to reach villages, farms and in some cases homes.
This is evident in the parade last week of 79 kidnap, banditry and other suspects at Rijana, along Kaduna-Abuja ighway by the Kaduna State Command of the Nigeria Police, and the traditional ruler of the hitherto troubled Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area, who recently confirmed that the bandits terrorising his domain have been seriously degraded to the level of hunger.
Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Ali Aji Janga paraded the suspects before newsmen, displaying 35 guns recovered from the suspects, and saying that the suspects were arrested along the highways and other locations within the state in July.
CP Janga said, “The gallant determination of our crack operatives such as SARS, AKU, IRT, and other units have again recorded some successes with the apprehension of 79 suspects for various crimes which includes; criminal conspiracy, armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling, culpable homicide, shop breaking and theft, impersonation and receiving stolen property.
“Pursuant to our collective resolve, high sense of commitment and relentless determination, the command has sustained a serious manhunt on bandits and other perpetrators of crime within the state with a view to arresting and bringing them to book.
“I am also glad to inform the general public that we are currently reviewing our structural deployment along Kaduna-Abuja Road, Kaduna-Zaria Road and Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Road with a view to making the highways much safer for commuters while the efforts to rid the command of banditry and other violent crimes continue,” he said.
The police boss also disclosed that exhibits recovered include, nine Ak47 Rifle, one Unserviceable LAR Rifle and 11 Locally Made Rifles and Pistols. Also one Pump Action, three Dane guns, 954 Rounds of Live Ammunition of different Calibre and 24 Live Cartridges, one knife, one hacksaw, the sum N30,000, two handsets, one face mask, two pair of canvass, four and half (41/2) Bundle of Brocade (Shadda) Materials and eleven Caps.
“We also recovered one KIA Serato Motor Vehicle with Reg. No TT 547 AA Black in colour, one Toyota Corolla S Ash in colour with Reg. No. GWA 872 FM, one unregistered Mercedes Benz C350 Ash in colour, 439 Cattles,18 Sheep, eight Donkeys, one tricycle with Reg. No. MKA 248 WY, six motorcycles, eight Plasma Television, one HP Laptop, One Tiger Generator and four cutlasses were also recovered.
“I am calling on the good people of Kaduna state to feel free and go about their normal businesses as the Command has appreciably reduced the rate of crime within the state.” He said.
During the tour of Birnin Gwari operational area, CP Janga who reiterated that his mission in Kaduna was to rid the state of crimes and criminalities, assured that, the issue of banditry will soon become an issue of the past in the area, as a simultaneous raid in all the states under armed bandits attacks was ongoing.
He equally assured that, his men were chasing the bandits into their hideouts in the bush, saying that, “The problem of banditry in Birnin Gwari is one among the major problems we have at heart. We assure the people of Birnin Gwari that the issue of banditry in the local government will soon become an issue of the past. We are going after them into the bush.
“Recently, we met with the Inspector General of Police in Abuja, he designed a concrete plans especially for Birnin Gwari to curtail the criminal activities and banditry in the area and others states in Nigeria facing such problems of insecurity. The comprehensive operations order are now being carried out simultaneously in Birnin Gwari and other states affected by similar challenges across Nigeria.” He said.
Commending the efforts of the police and other security agencies, Emir of Birnin-Gwari, Alhaji Zubair Jibril Mai-Gwari II, who received the Commissioner of Police in his palace recently, stated categorically that, the bandits around Birnin Gwari have gone hungry and could be totally defeated with more security efforts.
The Emir who was delighted with the visit of the Police Commissioner expressed confidence that, with a more serious operation against the bandits, they will be totally defeated.
According to the Emir, “The bandits are only carrying out their operations in secluded areas where there are small market stalls and steal food in order to survive, they are hungry, they don’t have time to kill people again. If the police should re-strategise, little effort will only be needed to scrape them all, they don’t have much weapons, they are hidden in obvious hideouts.
“The vigilant groups are also very helpful and they are playing a very vital roles in the fight against crime in the local government, but the the police should look into putting an end to the help of volunteers, who over react to situations and cause more damage in situations. The police should sit with them, get the good ones and recruit them to work together with the vigilantes.
“We now have three extra police divisions in the local government, we earlier have four, the police personnel are not much, but they are trying their possible best to curtail any kind of criminal activity in the local government.
“We are aware of the challenges faced by the police, we know you can’t instantly deploy police officers to us, but the few we have are putting in their best in the fight against criminality in the areas. We have had a lot of police commissioners in the state, I have worked with about 20 while on the throne, we gave them all the support they needed to combat crime in our communities, we also pledge to give you our maximum support,” Emir of Birnin-Gwari said.