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HOW BLOODY CRISIS WAS AVERTED IN KADUNA

By NBF News

What could have snowballed into a major and bloody crisis in Kaduna metropolis was averted last Tuesday. While most Kaduna residents were watching the World Cup football match between Nigeria and Greece on that day at about 8pm, some Okada riders in Sabon Nassarawa/Trikania, Kaduna, engaged a team of mobile policemen in physical combat over a missing handset (phone).

Daily Sun gathered that as the Okada operators, who were said to be on the defensive were making bonfire on major streets in the area and at the same time throwing pebbles and sticks at the policemen to protest what they perceived as police brutality of their members, the police were in turn firing gun shots into the air to disperse them. But the rampaging Okada men refused to give up.

An elderly man, whose name could not be readily ascertained, but who was said to be playing the peace maker between the rioting Okada men and the police, was heat on the head by one of the flying stones from the Okada riders, and he was rushed to a nearby hospital by good Samaritans, treated and discharged immediately.

The policemen, according to eye witnesses' account succeeded in carting away as many motorcycles as they could seize irrespective of whoever owned them just as they also arrested almost every passerby in the area.

Trouble started, according to the Village Head of Sabon Nassarawa/Trikania, Alhaji Khalid Idris, when a mobile policeman who was said to be in mufti raised an alarm that an Okada man had stolen his handset (mobile phone) from a restaurant where he (policeman) was eating.

The following day, the Idris continued, the policeman mobilized two trucks load of his colleagues and arrested as many Okada men as possible including people who did not know anything about what happened.

Corroborating the village head's account, chairman of Okada Riders, Trikania, IBBI Junction, Dalhatu Musa, told Daily Sun that the policeman claimed to have spotted a handset similar to his own which was about to be disposed off within the vicinity it was stolen, hence his decision to mobilize his colleagues to the site the following day:

Idris spoke further: 'When the policeman saw a similar handset with one boy, he started struggling with the boy, beating him in the process and the boy fell down. At this point, the crowd that gathered stopped the policeman who attempted to run away, and started beating him. 'When I got the information, I called the police, and they came and went away with the trouble makers. But the following day which was Tuesday, the policeman who lost his handset came with two vehicles loaded with mobile policemen.

'They started arresting everybody. Some people were even arrested near their houses. They even arrested people on motorcycles and took them away with their motorcycles. 'It was just on Wednesday that some of the motorcycles were returned to the owners from where the mobile policemen kept them at Kakuri Police Station. It was when the policemen were arresting and taking people and motorcycles to the station that the boys in the area started shouting and throwing stones at the policemen. The police in turn fired guns into the air, but they did not kill anybody.

'It was an old man who was trying to make peace between the policemen and the rioting boys that a stone from the boys hit on the head. Then people started saying that the police shot him. I even went to the hospital, Oxford Hospital, Kakuri, with one SSS man to see the man that was injured. When we asked about his medical bill in the hospital, we were told that it was N3, 900, and we paid immediately, and he was discharged.

'The boys continued to make bonfire on the road within the area. I was still in the hospital when one of my men called me to tell me what the boys were doing. I immediately called some elderly men to go and put off the fire. As they were about to quench the fire, men of Operation Yaki came to the scene to take control of the situation.'

When contacted on phone at about 6.40pm last Friday, the state Police Commissioner, Tambari Yabo Mohammed, confirmed the incident: 'I am aware of the incident. The policemen went there to arrest criminals, and not to harass people as you journalists want to believe.

'Give me time till Monday so that I can get the details from the DPO of the area. I am talking to you from where is not convenient for me to ask the DPO of the details. I don't want to talk further on what I don't have the details.'

Since Tuesday last week when the crisis erupted, Daily Sun noticed an helicopter hovering in the air at night within the city, sending down  powerful bright light into suspected trouble spots.