Yan Shara; Another Terrorist Group Waiting To Be Unleashed

By Daniel Omaga

For those who understand and speak the Hausa language, what comes to mind when you hear ‘Yan Shara’, is “sweepers of dirts”. This cohort, typically young men, between the ages of 17 and 25, partake in menial jobs for a living such as cleaning one’s environment, among others. Due to their honest, yet unprofitable, means of earning a living, some of these young persons in this category we see around our houses, resort to scavenging our waste bins. Majority of them, if not all, are either poorly educated or school drop outs. This is greatly due to their socioeconomic status.

In an attempt to brazen up with the daily challenges for survival, which life, especially in a country like ours, throws at them, most of these young persons have become addicted to illicit substances and hard drugs. Perhaps, that provides them some succor especially when the next meal isn’t in sight. Life they say, is all about expression and humans generally, are tilted towards any platform with which they feel, can give them a voice.

I believe it is because of this understanding, that the Yan Shara have constituted themselves into gangs, where most times, their clashes get bloody, with lives and properties being lost in the process. They move in large numbers and always brandish weapons like sticks, daggers and machetes. Perhaps, if they are allowed to thrive like other criminal groups that have emerged in recent times, then carrying AK 47 rifles and grenades will soon become a thing of the past for them.

Yan Shara has gradually become a law unto themselves and nobody dares challenge them when they embark on their charade of bloodletting. People who live in places like Kaduna and Nasarawa are not alien to the activities of Yan Shara as they have continued to terrorize unsuspecting members of the public in some parts of the metropolis.

Recently in Keffi, members of this sect numbering over fifty, rampaged the streets from the Makwalla axis, through Total roundabout and down to Kaduna road, maiming and cutting any living being in sight. In a country where security operatives are already overburdened by a plethora of security challenges, the silence of law enforcement was deafening as residents scampered for safety while those who were unfortunate, got entangled in the Yan Shara web.

Some of the victims ended up telling their stories to their ancestors, while others gave anecdotal accounts from hospital beds, writhing in pain with missing body parts and deep machete cuts. The memories of the unfortunately maimed suya seller will remain fresh in the minds of those he has blessed with the sweet savor of his recipes.

People who live in the communities where the Yan Shara operates, know them but hardly divulge information about their activities to the police, for fear of becoming targets of retaliatory attacks. Onslaughts on these elements by security operatives are usually met with brick walls, as phone calls from some ‘ogas’, who patronize them, is all that is needed to free them from detention and consequent prosecution.

This act alone, demoralizes security operatives as further attempts to nip their activities in the bud, will amount to another exercise in futility. Ironically, little or nothing is reported about these recent happenings in the local press and no one has come out to condemn their activities in strong terms because we are in the era where criminality is pampered and glorified across the nation. Thus, everyone is tied in a single garment of perpetual fear and uncertainty, as to when and where the next Yan Shara carnage will be.

Just like a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode, the ‘Yan Shara’ may pass for another terrorist group, waiting to be unleashed. The trend is worrisome but may become catastrophic, perchance, they get influenced by the ravaging bandits and members of the dreaded Boko haram sect who, albeit being decimated, are still recruiting young Nigerians on a daily basis.

It is high time the government, traditional rulers, religious leaders and security agencies did all they can, within the ambit of the law, to tame this rising hydra-headed monster called ‘Yan Shara’ because they are no longer sweepers of dirts but hackers of humans.

Comrade Omaga E. Daniel writes from Nasarawa State.