The Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, said on Monday that his emirate is under siege.
He said despite the presence of many military formations in Zaria, daredevil armed kidnappers have lately overwhelmed the ancient city.
The emir disclosed this when he received a delegation of security heads led by the State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan.
It was gathered that recent incidents prompted the Zazzau emir to summon an emergency meeting with the leadership of security agencies to find a way out to the life-threatening quagmire.
The visibly shocked and disturbed emir told the security chiefs that if Zaria that has many military formations could be so vulnerable to kidnappers’ attacks, it showed that the security of the country was in serious trouble.
Emir Bamalli said: “What is happening here in Zaria is so disturbing, just as it is heart bugling. In this emirate, we have the Police College in Kaduna. There is Police Children School in Karau-Karau here in Zaria. We have the Nigerian Military School (NMS). There is Depot Nigerian Army and Military Police Cantonment in Basawa here in Zaria.
“We have Jaji where soldiers from different parts of the world come to train to gain promotion. There is an air force base in Kaduna and 1 Mechanised Division.
“It is only a naval formation that we don’t have in the emirate, because we don’t have water, yet we are this vulnerable. We know that you are doing your best, but it is clear that more needs to be done. We are appealing for more action and more deployment,” he said.
In a response to the explanation offered by Aruwan, that the capacity of the army had been slashed with the establishment of the 8th Division in Sokoto, the emir said if the security of Zaria is allowed to continue to deteriorate, it will spell doom for economic activities of the North-West.
He added: “Zaria is the centre of the North. If there is no security in Zaria, it means the movement of travellers to other parts of the country will be affected. This will seriously affect economic activities of the North.”
Recounting the latest incidents of kidnapping that necessitated the meeting, Ambassador Bamalli said if a medical doctor and his family could be kidnapped within the premises of a hospital, it showed that nobody was safe in the ancient city.
“A caregiver in the hospital came to the palace to request for money from the emir to allow him to relocate his patient. Can you see the danger that we are in? People are running away from hospitals for fear of being kidnapped. There are some of my district heads when I see them, my heartbeat doubles. They usually come to the palace to report one security challenge or the other. One of them recently came here crying.
“A whole community, Dutsen Abba, was recently sacked by bandits. Three children of the district head were kidnapped with women and other residents. It is disheartening the report we are receiving where bandits were seen moving freely with guns in our communities. We think security issues no longer need cosmetics treatment. We need to be serious and up and doing. The war is already at our doorsteps and if care is not taken, it will consume all of us.”
The emir said he has directed Imams of different mosques to engage in fervent prayers for Allah to intervene, saying that nothing is above the powers of the Almighty.
Earlier, Commissioner Aruwan said they were at the palace for confidence building and to commiserate with the emirate over the unfortunate incident at Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic and neighbouring communities.
He said the state government was doing its best and they were recording successes in the fight against banditry in the state.
Aruwan reiterated their commitment in the fight against the bandits as he called for more support from the traditional institution and members of the communities in the struggle.
The jurisdiction of the Zazzau emirate covers the whole of northern senatorial zone of Kaduna State, including the two local governments that made up the capital city, Kaduna. It is only Lere Local Government that has its own emirate in the northern zone.
Zaria, the seat of the Zazzau palace and many other areas of the emirate have of late been bedevilled by incessant kidnapping, which made residents to be sleeping with one eye closed.
The most recent incidents took place between Thursday and Sunday night. On Thursday, a gang of armed men stormed the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, killed one HND II student, injured another and went with a pregnant woman, her two daughters, two lecturers and eight students.
The pregnant woman and her two daughters regained their freedom hours after the kidnappers that abducted them had taken them into the bush.
The kidnappers spared her as she pleaded for mercy in Fulfulde, as she couldn’t walk with the speed they wanted.
On Saturday night, the bandits stormed some areas within the ancient city, Kofar Kona, Kofar Gayan, Kofar Bai and Jos Road and took away about 12 residents.
Late April, kidnappers invaded the Low-Cost Housing Estate of Zaria with the intention of kidnapping 50 residents, but for the bravery displayed by the residents of the area, they only succeeded in kidnapping two women.
Aside from going into communities to kidnap innocent residents, the bandits have of late made Zaria-Kaduna expressway almost a “no-go-area”, as they often block the road to kidnap and rob motorists plying it.
Contrary to the view that tends to portray kidnapping as a recent development in Zaria, the menace has been on for a long time.
In recent history, kidnappers began unleashing terror on the residents of the city in 2011 when a Lebanese expatriate was kidnapped, while his colleague was murdered.
This was followed by the kidnapping of another Chinese engineer that was working with the firm that handled the Zaria water project. Zhang
Lijun was kidnapped in 2012 and he worked with CGC Construction Company.
He was kidnapped at the Dakace village on the outskirt of Zaria, along Jos Road, while on his way to the project site. Lijung was subsequently rescued by the police after residents suspected foul play and intercepted the vehicle carrying him.
Thereafter, a prominent business mogul, Alhaji Bala Mai Kusa, the proprietor of Albabello Trading Company, was kidnapped.
After the 2011 and 2012 incidents, there was respite in the city.
However, the ugly incidents of kidnapping resurfaced beginning from 2019 with the kidnaping of a lecturer at the Kaduna State-owned Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic.
Since then, many people have been kidnapped in different parts of Zaria. These include a professor at the Ahmadu Bello University, another lecturer in Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, married women at the Madaci area of the city, a daughter of a former Vice-Chancellor of ABU who was abducted at the Jama’a area of the city, among many others.