The latest crisis in Kaduna State, which started last Friday, October 19 in Kasuwa, Magani area of Kajuru Council, spreading to other parts of the state, including Kaduna metropolis, is not abating. It was rather escalated yesterday following the alleged killing of Agom Adara Maiwada Galadima, a chief and village head in the area, by his kidnappers.
As a result of the rising violence, the state government announced the reinstatement of the 24-hour curfew earlier relaxed in some of the affected areas.
The chief, who had been held captive since his abduction by unknown gunmen, was reportedly killed yesterday morning by his abductors and his body dropped around Kateri, after receiving a ransom. The Guardian learnt that his body had been deposited at the Saint Gerard Hospital in Sabo.
The state government has vowed to fish out and punish those responsible for the killing of the monarch.
Galadima and his wife were kidnapped early this week by gunmen on their way back home after attending a function in Kaduna. They attacked his convoy and killed three policemen and one civilian.
Following the restriction of movement as a result of the curfew imposed on parts of the state on Sunday, October 21, a resident of Sabon Tasha in the southern part of Kaduna has narrated how the people in the area preserved a neighbour’s body with ice-block to prevent it from smelling or decomposing, as they could not convey the body to the morgue.
Victor Bobai told The Guardian that his deceased neighbour, Kelvin Doyani Agwakpat, who lived behind St. Peters, died as a result of the curfew imposed on the state, which prevented him from going for his regular two-day medical checkup.
“We had to look for ice-block to put all around his body when he died, because we couldn’t even get access to take him to hospital or mortuary.
“We buried him on Thursday because we cannot keep him. His relatives are not even aware of his death, because we have no access to reach them, since movement is restricted everywhere,” Bobai added.
He said the crises have brought untold hardship and suffering on people, besides the loss of lives and property, adding that all activities in the state crumbled and majority of Kaduna residents experienced pangs of hunger while the curfew lasted.
“The kind of hardship we experienced with this curfew is not what you should wish for your enemy. People are still living in tension,” Bobai added.
Yesterday, Governor Nasir El-Rufai personally led the team of armed patrol to Goni-Gora Junction of the Abuja-Kaduna highway to ensure the safety of travellers from attacks by hoodlums along the route to other states.
Immediately news of the death of Galadima circulated in Kaduna metropolis, there was commotion, as fighting was reported in Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna South, with peoplescampering for safety in the other areas, including Kawo, Ungwan Boro, Television and Kasuwan Magani and other suburbs.
There were also reports of killings in Sabon Market area, while tension began to build up in other parts of the town.
Before the situation could degenerate, the state government reinstated the 24-hour curfew on Kaduna metropolis and environs, such as Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru, Kateri and Kachia.
Armed soldiers, Police and helicopter patrol were deployed to monitor strategic locations, roads, highways and the volatile areas.
El-Rufai was seen in the midst of armed security men patrolling Abuja-Kaduna highway to ensure the security of lives of travellers.
A statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Samuel Taiwan, said the curfew was reinstated on Kaduna metropolis and its environs to maintain peace in the state.
The statement read: “The Kaduna State Government has reinstated a 24-hour curfew on Kaduna metropolis and environs- Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru, Kateri and Kachia. The curfew is effective from 11:00am today (yesterday), October 26 and will remain in force until further notice.
“This is a necessary step to help maintain peace, as we mourn the death of HRH Agom Adara, who we lost in the early hours of today to the criminals who abducted him last week.
“The Kaduna State Government calls for calm in all our communities. The criminal elements who perpetrated this crime should not be allowed to divide us.
“This is a struggle between good, decent, law-abiding people trying to uphold the peace and criminals who want to divide and destroy. It is not a struggle between religious or ethnic groups. Let no criminals find succour in faith or tribe.
“Let us unite against every criminal activity. Let us stand together as human beings who have a right to live in peace.
“We mourn this quintessential traditional ruler who was killed by his abductors in the early hours of today. We are pained and heartbroken that criminal elements have taken away from us a man who did his best for peace and harmony in our state.
“The Kaduna State Government extends its condolence to the family of this revered leader and to the people of the chiefdom he led with dedication and commitment.”
He said following the abduction of the monarch, security agencies and the government worked strenuously to secure his release, but sadly enough: “Government is shocked and disappointed by this unfortunate development. The government of Kaduna State and security agencies will pursue justice for this revered man.
“Galadima was a man of peace, a traditional ruler who consistently made positive contributions for the peace and tranquility in his chiefdom and the entire state. He was a gentleman to the core.
“Kaduna State has lost a cherished leader. Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, on behalf of the government and people of the state, extends deep sympathy to the immediate family and the people of the Adara Chiefdom.”
The government appealed for calm in the chiefdom and beyond, urging people in the state not to allow the criminal elements who perpetrated the evil to divide them.
It was gathered that the death of the traditional ruler has led to palpable tension in some areas in Kaduna, as residents started running for safety.
A resident, Mike Ode, said: “I was at Kakuri, trying to get breakfast and pandemonium started, as people started running helter-skelter.”
Calls and text messages to the phone line of the state Police Command spokesman, Yakubu Sabo, to confirm the development, were not answered or returned.
Meanwhile, an Islamic body, the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), Kaduna State chapter, said those found guilty of the ethno-religious crises in Southern Kaduna must be punished according to the law of the land.
The Council also called on government to constitute a committee of enquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the crises with a view to proffering lasting solutions.
The Council at its meeting at Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna, condemned in totality, the incessant ethno-religious crises that have bedeviled the southern part of the state.
In a communiqué issued and signed by its Secretary, AbdurRahman Hassan, SCSN condoled with families of those who lost their lives in the crisis and prayed for the quick recovery of the injured.
“Those found guilty must be punished according to the law of the land. All Imams should call on their followers to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours and caution youths on drug abuse.
“All Imams should embark on Qunut in the five daily prayers from today till further notice. They should invoke Allah to expose the ill-will of all the perpetrators of violence in our midst,” the communiqué stressed.