By Ben Agande, Kaduna
The Kaduna state government declared a 24 hour curfew to stem the tide of violence that engulfed the city on Sunday last week.
The violence in the city centre which, according to the state governor, Nasir El Rufai, claimed about 22 lives, and led to the destruction of several properties was a direct consequence of the violence in Kasawun Magani, a small settlement on the outskirts of Kaduna metropolis that is gradually gaining notoriety as the flashpoint town in the state.
Though residents of the city are not strangers to violence and the curfews that follow in its aftermath, each violence comes with it’s unique challenge that requires different way of responding to it.
In this report, some residents of the city explain what they went through while the curfew lasted.
Abdullahi Sanusi, Okada Rider.
For Abdullahi, the four day period that the curfew lasted were his worst since he came to Kaduna to eke a living as a commercial motorcyclist in Kaduna from Kebbi state. According to him, coming from a relatively peaceful state like Kebbi, nothing prepared him for the challenge of the rioting in Kaduna that fateful Sunday.
Speaking in Hausa, Abdullahi said he escaped death by the whiskers from the hands of the hoodlums that suddenly took over the streets of Narayi and Barnawa where he had been operating. He managed to escape to Kawo where he had been sleeping in a mosque for more than two years.
But that was the beginning of his problem. Since he depends on food vendors for his feeding, the twenty four hour curfew meant that the otherwise ubiquitous food vendors who cater for the needs of people like him were no where to be found. He said on Tuesday , the third day of the curfew, he had to go without food as the bread that he had been feeding on was exhausted. He said if the curfew had not been lifted the day it was, he would have gone back to Kebbi where he said may not have the opportunities available in Kaduna but there is peace of mind there.
Enenche Adakole, Banker.
Enenche Adakole was transferred to Kaduna from Abuja last year by his employer, a first generation bank. Since his wife works in Abuja, he left the family behind and goes to Abuja every Friday and returns to Kaduna on Sundays.
He explains: On this fateful Sunday, I was on my way back after bidding my family good bye. Half way into the journey, I got information that there was riot is some parts of Kaduna but since where I live was not affected, I felt that there was no cause for alarm since I had no intention of going out that evening.
But as we inched closer to the city, calls from my colleagues who knew that I was on my way into Kaduna became more frequent as they tried to warnExcellence does not happen by accident or mistake, you must deliberately have a strategy to achieve it me to stay safe, as according to them, the tension was mounting in the city. Then I read on social media that a twenty four hours curfew had been imposed in Kaduna metropolis.
The first sign of trouble was when we alighted from the Vehicle in Kaduna. I noticed that the vehicles that were moving then (it was just few minutes into the curfew) were unusually fast and non was willing to stop to pick passengers. Rather than stay in one place to wait for a vehicle or even okada, I decided to be moving while hoping that along the way, I would be able to get a vehicle to my place of aboard. That was how I ended up trekking the about ten kilometers to my house.
As if the elements were conspiring against me, when I made to prepare breakfast, I noticed that my gas had finish. Here I was with no money, no gas to cook and no where to go to. I had to depend on my neighbours for the four days that the curfew lasted. Its one experience that I will never forget in my life.
Umaru Jonathan, father
Umaru has lived in Kaduna for a while so he not a stranger to its many troubles. He explained: “When the government declared twenty four hour curfew that Sunday, I took it in my stride, believing that after a few days, things will normalise. We had fairly good stock of food stuff to last a few days and since I live in the so called volatile area of the state, I felt it was just one forced holiday that we will all enjoy as a family. I did not factor in my daughter’s reaction into the scheme of things.
My five year old daughter, Vanessa is in love with going to school. So on that fateful Monday, she woke up very early, I told her that she was not going to school because the government had decided that all students should rest. Grudgingly, she agreed and went about playing. On the second day, she woke up early again and I explained to her that the holiday was still subsisting. On the third day, Vanessa could no longer have any of my explanations.
If government declared holiday, why didn’t her auntie (teacher) tell them so? If the holiday was for pupils, why is daddy staying at home too? She became very hysterical and I had to explain to her that there was trouble in town so government has decided that everybody stays at hone so that police will deal with the situation. It was the best I could do in the circumstance. I know that she will grow up with this particular incidence ingrained in her mind for ever.
For Adama Joshua, the four days curfew will not be remembered so much for the hardship it brought on the people but for the loss of his younger brother, who was killed by hoodlums as he tried to save members of his church.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Adama narrated how his brother met his untimely death on the first day of the curfew.
“This dude, Adama Charis Samuel, he is my immediate younger brother.
“Yesterday, he was in church with a group of youths when the crisis broke out in Kaduna metropolis. He led the youths to a close by barracks and was at the entrance to the barracks when I called him at about 6pm. He expressed his dissatisfaction with why it always has to be like this in Kaduna.
“Later that evening, I was informed that Sam was stabbed in the head and at the back. He had apparently gone back to church to lock the place when he was attacked. He managed himself for over 2km to the closest hospital. Unfortunately for him no doctor was on ground to assist. The nurses did all they could but he had lost so much blood.
“Sam struggled to stay alive, but God needed him more than we do. We lost him.
“Sam, was, is and will continue to be my BEST FRIEND.
“I BLESS THE NAME OF THE LORD, HAVING COGNIZANCE THAT SAM, is not lost. He is a worshipper and a God Chaser. I have not stop hearing Sam and the 24 Elders + that cloud of witness making worship to Elohim.
“I will surely miss him.