by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, SOKAPU, said it has reached out to the distressed 110 families in Badna-Gwarso community in Chikun local government area of Kaduna state, as part of its continuation of the distribution of relieve materials to vulnerable persons under the current lockdown as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
SOKAPU, in a statement signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Luka Binniyat, and made available to journalists in Kaduna, said “Badna, a Gbagyi community, was attacked on 6th January, 2020, by scores of armed herdsmen on motorbikes.
“After robbing the village of cattle, food, valuables and cash worth over N7 million, 42 persons were abducted; they included 12 teenage girls and 30 men. The kidnappers phoned to ask for N100 million ransom for their release, which was an impossible amount for the villagers.
“After two weeks in captivity, the outlaws killed one of their hostages, Luka Sarki, 42, father of 3, who was also the youth leader of the community. This was to drive home the seriousness of the murderous criminals,” the release stated.
The statement stressed that, “The already impoverished villagers were then forced to once more sell all they had left to raise N10million. Some had to sell their farmlands to raise their share of the ransom. After 30 days in captivity, the remaining 41 hostages were released to return home from the Katsina bush they were taken to after five days of trekking day-and-night.
“With nowhere to run to, the villagers still live in their homes in Badna, impoverished and in constant fears. Most of the surrounding villages are deserted. Not far from Badna, the terrorist herdsmen have a camp about a kilometre from Badna and have been moving about unchallenged – to remind their victims that terror still lurks around them.
“After several distress calls to SOKAPU for assistance yesterday, the National Assistant Treasurer of SOKAPU, Mrs Mary Sheyin, also a Gbagyi, led some members of the Central Executive Committee, CEC, of SOKAPU, to the village along the dangerous Birnin-Gwari Road.
“The items taken were 4 bags of rice, one bag of beans, 30 cartons of indomie noodles and 50 bags of maize flour.
“Mrs Sheyin told the elated villagers that the food items were contributions from good spirited Southern Kaduna natives (including non natives) for assistance to the most needy through SOKAPU. She said that the President of SOKAPU, Mr. Jonathan Asake, had been very worried about the acute food shortage the villagers had been facing and, thus, directed that foodstuffs be given them,” the statement added.
In his remarks, according to the statement, the village head of Badna, Mr. Ali Bature, said he “was moved by the gesture.”
Bature said that feeding had been a big challenge to them outside the risk of another invasion. According to him, no government official, appointed or elected had come to see them and, as such, they had not seen any assistance from government.
He said that at night, only women, children and infirmed old men sleep in houses, while all the men take positions to guide the village. According to him, it would not be possible for them to cultivate most of their prime farmlands because of the danger of violence.
SOKAPU, therefore, called on the authorities of Chikun LGA, Kaduna State and the federal government to secure the lives of these harmless, hardworking law abiding citizens, who have suffered so much, and also extend palliatives to them in the spirit of inclusiveness.
SOKAPU had flagged-off its distribution of palliatives for most vulnerable persons last at its national secretariat, in Kaduna, for over 300 families with rice, beans, spagheti, macaroni and 1 carton of indomie noodles each.