By Ismail Auwal
Barely few weeks to 2023 general elections, the ancient city of Kano is experiencing rising incidents of phone-snatching by gangs who attack unsuspecting people with knives and other local weapons.
An investigation by Sahelian Times has shown a gradual return of criminal activities over the past few weeks on some major Kano State roads and streets.
SAHELIAN TIMES observed that from Kabuga to Kofar Mata, Zoo Road to Hadejia Road, Sabon Gari to Gwale, and State Road, where the Government House is located, phone snatchers have recently not only resurfaced but they are becoming more daring in their operations.
Muhammad Kabir, a resident of Kurna in Fagge Local Government Area, said that on the last Friday night while he was leaving for home, he was robbed of his phone near the Dantata crossroads.
“I was about to get Keke NAPEP when my phone rang and three young people came over; one of them with a weapon. I instantly surrendered the phone to them before they injured me,” he said.
Ahmad Shehu, a business owner near the State Road, claimed to have seen three incidents of phones being forcefully snatched from young people walking along State Road by the Audu Bako Secretariat.
“The majority of the suspects operate along the State road up to Dangi flyover, openly snatching people’s phones,” he noted.
Asked if the police had ever intervened, Shehu confirmed that the thugs always carry out their operations swiftly.
Previously, the incidence of phone snatching had drastically reduced after the state government barred rickshaw riders from plying major roads of the city after 10:00 pm.
Most of the criminals, who reportedly operate under the influence of drugs, leave their victims with various degrees of injuries, in some cases leading to untimely deaths.
Data at the disposal of SAHELIAN TIMES obtained from the state police headquarters show that over 1,220 thugs, known locally as Yan Daba, were arrested in 2022.
While not all of the arrested thugs were phone snatchers, the majority of them were nabbed for phone snatching and related violent crimes.
The state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, had last year granted pardons to some inmates, including several that were sentenced for terrorizing the residents of the state.
The former Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Shuaibu Dikko, had during his farewall speech complained that his biggest challenge while serving in the state was how criminals were arbitrarily granted bail and clemency after they were charged to court by the command.
He lamented that most of the thugs and phone snatchers arrested by his command got eventually bailed out by politicians and community leaders.