STAR FEAT Kid­nap­ping: W de­clin­ing along

Cat­tle rustling and kid­nap­ping have com­bined to ex­pel many no­mads from the Abuja-Kaduna high­way, which is a fer­tile and well-wa­tered area. In­ves­ti­ga­tions show that the to­tal sum of N23m has been paid to kid­nap­pers as ran­soms by just 37 herders in Jere and

Daily Trust - - DIGEST - By Tadaferua Ujorha who was in Kaduna state

Back­ground t is early Au­gust and the Snake charmer be­gins to chant. A crowd gath­ers drawn by his po­etry. It is amaz­ing that a crowd can form here to catch fun, for the peo­ple face chal­lenges from armed ban­dits as well as kid­nap­pers. His trade sug­gests that the reign of kid­nap­pers will soon end, for he has tamed a snake which could oth­er­wise have been harm­ful. The snake now has eco­nomic value for the charmer, who also trades in cures for snake bites and other items, so too can the kid­nap­per or rustler be re­formed or an end brought to his ac­tiv­i­ties. This is the SCC Junc­tion Jere, Kaduna State, where there is a Sun­day mar­ket, and peo­ple from com­mu­ni­ties both far and near, gather there as they have for many years. The charmer dances and speaks close to a box which lies at his feet. He rises and ut­ters a warn­ing and points, when he no­tices this re­porter tak­ing his pic­ture.

IThe need to in­ter­view no­mads af­fected by kid­nap­ping and cat­tle rustling along the high­way, led me to the mar­ket that Sun­day af­ter­noon, and the mar­ket lies in ter­ri­tory fre­quented by kid­nap­pers and rustlers. This vast ter­ri­tory is di­vided by the Abu­jaKaduna high­way along which can be found many forests and en­claves which a kid­nap­per or cat­tle rustler could use to ad­van­tage. This is a wealthy road and it is richer than the pas­toral folk and many other groups who live on both sides of it. N1.58bn was spent on emer­gency re­pairs along the road ear­lier this year. The tarred inan­i­mate form is rich, and the hu­mans who move about, live and breathe by it, are poor or are be­com­ing poorer by the day. This is also a story of a rich road and poor pas­toral­ists. Many of the no­mads have mi­grated to dis­tant places such as Zam­fara, Kwara and Oyo states as a fall­out of fre­quent kid­nap­pings, and rustling of cat­tle which has im­pov­er­ished the group. One source adds ‘be­tween Jere and Ri­jana there were 250 Fu­lani camps at one time. To­day, there are only 50 left. They have all gone.’

Dr.Ibrahim Mo­hammed, the As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Miyetti Al­lah Cat­tle Breed­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (MACBAN) com­ments on Fu­lani set­tle­ment in the area “With the crises that hap­pened in the south­ern part of Kaduna state some years ago, a greater per­cent­age of Fu­lani mi­grated to this area, and they pop­u­lated places like Tafa, Ka­garko, Katari, Ri­jana etc. They are in thou­sands and we are talk­ing of mil­lions of

cat­tle. But now that this is hap­pen­ing,they have de­cided to migrate to other ar­eas.” Dr. Mo­hammed says “As I am talk­ing to you now, about 80% of the en­tire no­madic set­tle­ments have mi­grated to neigh­bour­ing states, like Kogi and even up to Oyo State. Some of them are still mi­grat­ing to Katsina and Zam­fara states. The per­cent­age is high to the ex­tent that any Fu­lani man that you see along the high­way will not be a set­tled Fu­lani. He is a mi­grat­ing Fu­lani who is there be­cause he is ply­ing a stock route that passes through that area.” He adds that many no­mads are avoid­ing the high­way and con­tigu­ous por­tions of it, ow­ing to the no­to­ri­ety of the area. Mo­hammed Dauji, a farmer, also sheds light on the changes that have come upon the pas­toral­ists “Kid­nap­ping has de­stroyed our peo­ple’s lives for they have lost their wealth and they have mi­grated. Out of one hun­dred, 80% have mi­grated from here to Lokoja, Ilorin and even Nasarawa State.” Mo­hammed Shiga who works with the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for No­madic Ed­u­ca­tion (NCNE) agrees that a lot has changed in the lives of the pas­toral­ists in the area.

This is the state of af­fairs in many of the com­mu­ni­ties that lie along­side the 165 km long Abuja-Kaduna ex­press­way. But many no­mads have had their herds stolen, or they have had to dis­pose of same to set­tle huge ran­soms pre­sented by kid­nap­pers. From time to time, the kid­nap­pers ask a no­mad to pay money so that he or mem­bers of his fam­ily won’t be kid­napped. This is a sort of pro­tec­tion fee. To guard against this even­tu­al­ity, he makes a pay­ment and poverty be­gins to grow among the no­mads, for they have to sell their cows to raise the monies de­manded of them. It is also seen that in a fam­ily of no­mads an in­di­vid­ual could be kid­napped sev­eral times over. It is a con­tin­u­ing cy­cle. But cat­tle rustling has had im­pact on com­mu­ni­ties along the high­way. A doc­u­ment pro­vided by the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for No­madic Ed­u­ca­tion(NCNE) in­di­cates that cat­tle rustling has af­fected the eco­nomic sta­bil­ity of the res­i­dent com­mu­ni­ties along the high­way, and it has pushed many Fu­lani youths to en­gage in

Muham­madu Chibi’s 2 wives were kid­napped for the sum of N650,000. Ahamad Adamu lost 60 cows to rustlers.

The pop­u­la­tion of cat­tle at Jere mark

Ardo Ab­dul­lahi Bello

Ardo Bawa Idris paid N250,000 to ward off the kid­nap­pers.

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