…As robbers lay siege to their homes, steal phones, laptops, cash, other valuables

From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna

The past few weeks have been a period of anguish for some journalists in Kaduna city, who became unwelcome hosts of hoodlums and robbers that laid siege to their homes, and dispossessed them of work tools such as phones, tablets, laptops, cash and other valuable household items.

One of the notable journalists, Mallam Abubakar Jidda Usman, a radio broadcaster and chief imam of a mosque had a sad tale of his encounter with the hoodlums that who pillaged his home.

Usman, who has stridently spoken out to parents for neglecting their responsibility for the proper upbringing of their wards, attributed the neglect for the moral decadence among youths in the society.

Usman spoke from his hospital bed at Garkuwa Specialist Hospital, Kaduna, where he was receiving medical attention over severe wounds inflicted on him by the hoodlums last Sunday.

Similarly, Mrs Lola Seriki Idahosa of National Trail newspaper and Alhaji Mustapha Saye of The Triumph newspaper lost valuables to burglars in broad daylight.

Mallam Usman, who is the Head, News and Current Affairs Department of a private radio station, Freedom Radio, Kaduna, said he had been using his position as the Chief Imam of Kwaru Mosque in Badarawa area of Kaduna city to enlighten people on the need to bring up their children in the right way as enjoined by the scriptures.

Recalling what transpired on the day of the attack, Usman said he woke up about 2.00a.m to ease himself in the guest toilet of his apartment. As he was heading back to his room, Usman said he sighted someone standing by the wall with a sword. Sensing danger, he quickly launched an attack on the intruder and pinned him to the floor, but the other hoodlums overpowered him.

Usman said that he had lived within the Badarawa vicinity since 1975, adding that he moved to his present property located in Kwaru, which is close to Badarawa, 15 years ago. He stated that he has maintained a peaceful relationship with his neighbours.  He blamed parents who habour and protect their children that have criminal attitude, saying that such parents were only incubating trouble not only for themselves but the community at large.

His words: “If a child decides to belong to the criminal gang ‘Sarasuka’, and hides weapons in his parents’ house while the parents turn their faces the other way they have no reason to complain if nemesis catches up with such a child. However, when such child is nabbed by the law the same parents will rush down to the security agents to secure their release. This is the genesis of all these gangsters in the country.

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“There was a time I told my congregation that as a father, if police or any security agent arrested your wards with weapons and evidence of criminal tendency there is no need to have a sleepless night over releasing him because he has already chosen a path, and the only thing you can do is to pray for him to change. I also encouraged that any house where weapons are found everyone in that house should be arrested and questioned.

“The painful thing is that today, because parents don’t want children with criminal records to be traced to them, whenever the children are arrested, they will be the first person to make contacts for the child to be released no matter the gravity of the crime.”

Another victim, Mrs Idahosa, travelled out of Kaduna to Benin, Edo State, where she spent two days. She said by the time she returned to her Kaduna home, she met almost an empty house following as the apartment in Gonin Gora area of Kaduna city was burgled.

Almost anything of value in the apartment, such as clothing, work tools like laptop, printers and even foodstuff were carted away by the burglars.

She explained further: “The burglars probably came through the fence of our neighbour. They burgled passed into the rooms through the ceiling. They removed my clothes, some cash, kitchen utensils and even food stuff, my laptop and other work tools. And as time progressed, I continue to discover that more things were removed from the house.

“There was nobody in the house at the time of the attack because my children had travelled too on holidays. This was the second time my house was burgled. Last year a man from nowhere came into the house, tricked my son, threatened him with a gun and went away with my laptop, demanded for cash, but got only N1000 that I kept in the house for my children. I reported the two incidents to the police, but as I speak with you, no arrest has been made by the police.”

The house of Alhaji Saye was also burgled recently and valuables, including cash were carted away about 11am in Barkallahu area of Kaduna city.

“I had already gone to work, and my wife had gone to the market, so there was nobody in the house. They burgled the house and removed clothes and some cash kept in the house for emergency needs.

“But I leave everything to God. Whoever did it will receive God’s punishment,” Saye said.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State Council, has condemned the attacks in strong terms. In a statement, the NUJ Secretary, Dauda Idris Doka, appealed to the security agencies to investigate the matter and ensure that the culprits were brought to book. The Council urged members to be vigilant and report any suspicious movements to the authorities.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Kaduna State Command, ASP Mukhtar Aliyu said investigation was ongoing into the matter and efforts were being intensified to bring the hoodlums to book. He assured journalists in the state that the police would perform their duty of protecting them as they go about their lawful duty.