Worried by the recent spate of insecurity and kidnappings, Girei communities in Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest, calling on President Muhammad Buhari to intervene.
The protesters, who barricaded the only major high way that leads to Yola, the state capital, held placards with inscriptions expressing their anger and frustration.
Saidu Hamman Girei, a youth leader, explained the reason for the protest.
“Our people are being kidnapped on a daily basis; some of the residents have fled their homes for fear of being kidnapped,” he said. ”People were recently killed by kidnappers here in Girei town. They (kidnappers) ‘carted away over N70 million’, we do not sleep with two eyes closed for fear of kidnappers.”
He also said traditional leaders met with the youth and have agreed to conduct 24-hour patrol to deter the criminals.
”The giant stride yielded positive results; as we nabbed some suspects with their ammunition, guns and other incriminating items in their houses,” he said.
”Among those arrested, there is one who told us that he is a kidnapper and he listed about nine or ten of his accomplices. We took him to where the others were hiding.
‘’But to our greatest surprise, minutes after handing over the suspects to police, an ‘order’ from the above came that they should be released with immediate effect,” he said.
Another protester, Mallum Girei, accused officials of colluding with the criminals. He said, ”people are tired of this ‘double-face’ by security echelon. This is not the first time suspects are being released.
‘’We want President Buhari to look seriously on the increasing cases of kidnappings as it portrays that the government or some people in the government are benefitting from the crimes.’’
Meanwhile, Tounde Elijah, the chairman Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), in the state said, “the alarming rate of kidnappings in the state really calls for concern; from simple menial jobbers, the water vendors, to politicians, entrepreneurs, now other professionals, university dons and medical doctors, have also joined the ‘casualty’ list,” he said.
When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Suleiman Nguroje, said the state police command had deployed its men to restore peace.
Mr Nguroje also denied that suspects arrested by the community were released by police.
“This is (a) blatant lie. The police are professional and professionalism and laws have to be followed,” he said. “No suspect is released, due process and investigation have to be followed which some people didn’t know.
“The Girei suspects are still in police custody, being investigated, and I don’t know they got such wrong and false information. Let people not take laws unto their hands.”
Meanwhile, the council chairman of Girei, the divisional police officer, SSS representative and other community leaders have met with the state commissioner of police, Audu Madaki, to brainstorm on the challenges facing the communities.