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The rise of thuggery and phone snatching in Kano

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By Abba Gwale and Salim Yunusa

By Abba Gwale and Salim Yunusa

Leaving homes for work and other activities come with fear in Kano, as citizens are abound to the risk of getting robbed if not butchered by hoodlums. This experience persist from the state’s 2019 guber elections popular with “inconclusive” – rerun conducted by INEC.

The frightening rise in drug abuse, thuggery and joblessness among the youths in Kano are some of the reasons why phone snatching and stabbing is on the increase especially within the metropolitan area.

Kano, a state which boasts of about 13 million people, is grappling with a teeming, unemployed youth that are often exploited by politicians as thugs to do their dirty bidding and get discarded afterwards, without a direction or life purpose, leading to a life of crime.

This has made commuting in Kano a dangerous activity, especially in commercial tricycles where unsuspecting passengers fall victims to hoodlums that attack in traffic hold up at several dangerous hotspots in Kano where people cannot use their phones due to phone snatchers on the prowl.

These criminals don’t only snatch people’s phones, they stab people who resist the attempt, leading to serious injuries and in some cases, loss of lives.

Despite the rising cases of thuggery and phone snatching in the state and several reports about it both on social media and radio stations, no concrete action has been taken by the stakeholders.

Police warns blacksmiths

Last week, the Kano State Police Command has warned blacksmiths to stop making lethal weapons or face prosecution in order to stop the alarming phone snatching crime in the state.

In his interview with SAHELIAN TIMES, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, the spokesperson of the command, said the decision is to curtail the menace of phone snatching in the state.

He said phone snatchers are using knives, cutlasses and other weapons forged by blacksmith to attack their victims which sometimes lead to loss of lives.

Also, SAHELIAN TIMES, interviewed a blacksmith at Dorayi, Makera in Gwale Local Government, where he said he has since stopped forging such kind of weapons due to the state of insecurity in the state urging police to widen their surveillance to nooks and crannies.

“I stopped making such kind of weapons due to the current security problem in Kano because these youths have no sympathy and they’ll easily kill you because of your phone. What kind of world are we living in? he lamented”

A victim, Abdussamad A Yusuf, narrated his experience: “On 28th May, Friday, I boarded cab – motorised tricycle famed with “adaidaita sahu” in Kano from Kofar Dawanau to Kabuga around 7:30am. I was droped exactly on the Kabuga overhead bridge. As I settled the fare and crossed the road to the other lane, a young and lanky, but light in complexion guy approached from the opposite. Thinking he was to crossby, I have nothing in mind to suspected he was a criminal. My phones were in my shirt’s front pocket and a bluetooth earpeace hanged on my neck. Immediately we were direct opposite he brandished a weapon, which I can’t precisely recalled it’s knife or not. But from the nature of the wounds inflicted on me, it can conclusively be “dan buda”, a small peg-like pointed local weapon. The guy was supported by four other young men coming out from a near-by parked adaidaita sahu, all of them with different local weapons. They surrounded me, stabbed me and left me in a pool of blood wallowing for help, while they took away my phone and earpiece and quickly rode away in their cab,” he narrated.

SAHELIAN TIMES reporter, Abba Gwale, also narrowly escaped being lynched by criminals.

Abdussamad, while healing, suggested a solution to the menace. “The solution to this menace is both short and long term solutions,” he said.

“For the meantime, the police should be empowered, I mean, both in power of prosecution, as criminal cases are now directed to the office of the Attorney General of the State. They should be further equipped with patrol aides and manpower. Their number in Kano is too small to cover the entire state. Community policing system needs to be strengthened and a well trained vigilante system is needed to reinvigotate and complement police’s efforts,” he said.

“Furthermore, drug abuse also needs to be fought to the lowest ebb. Most of the perpetrators act under the influence of drugs,” he further suggested.

“In the long run, both Federal and state governments, alongside their partners should create jobs and crafts to engage the teaming youths. Population explosion need to also be checked, by encouraging family planning with backings by laws from assemblies,” he concluded.

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