Panic in Enugu Hausa community over disappearances

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Nigerian-Police-LogoThese are indeed troubling times for the members of the Hausa community in Enugu, as the disappearance of some residents has set them on edge.

In the last few weeks, Saturday PUNCH was told that at least, three young men from the community have simply disappeared without any clue as to their whereabouts.

Residents identified the latest victims as three tricycle riders named Nuhur Tahiru, Musa Nuhu and Idris Lawan.

The victims were said to ply their transport business from a park at the Enugu Central Mosque.

Two of them, Tahiru and Nuhu, were last seen on Saturday, a week ago, when they left the park with their tricycles.

Lawan on the other hand, was last sighted by his family members and friends when he left home for work with his tricycle on Sunday.

Since then, their whereabouts have remained unknown, prompting the residents of the community to raise the alarm over the inexplicable disappearances.

Vice Chairman of the Keke riders association, Enugu Central Mosque Unit, Abdullahi Zubairu, revealed that the Hausa community in Enugu had organised a search in a bid to locate the missing residents.

According to Zubairu, over a hundred members of the community took part in a search for the men, which was mostly conducted in bushes and other locations along the Emene Road, Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway and the Ugwuaji area of Enugu.

But, unfortunately, the search yielded nothing.

Zubairu further explained that the development was reported to the Ogui Road Police Station, as well as the headquarters of the Enugu State Police Command.

The Chief Imam of the Enugu Central Mosque, Alhaji Rukalmeni Saidi, who spoke with our correspondent, said the community is praying that the missing persons would be found alive, hale and hearty.

Nuhu, Tahiru and Lawan’s disappearance is coming on the heels of a similar, earlier incident, when three other members of the community were declared missing, only for their corpses to be exhumed from the foundation of an ongoing building in the Ugwuaji area of Enugu on January 25, 2016.

Coincidentally, the three persons involved in the earlier incident – Babangida Saleh, Ashahabu Dauda and Ismail Abdullahi – were also tricycle riders.

The colleagues of the latest victims said the circumstances surrounding their disappearance bore similarities to how Saleh, Dauda and Abdullahi went missing.

As the Hausa community in Enugu waits for any news on the latest victims, there are fears that tension arising from the situation could lead to a breakdown of law and order in Enugu.

Saturday PUNCH learnt that leaders of the community are already making efforts to douse tension among their members.

Saidi said, “What we (community leaders) told them is that the disappearance and killings are not happening to Hausa people alone – we heard that in one of the incidents, an Igbo man who boarded a tricycle was also killed.

“We have told them to keep calm – this is not guerrilla warfare. What we know is that something is happening – but we don’t know what it is and who is behind it,” he said.

All the same, members of the Hausa community in Enugu, especially the commercial tricycle riders, are worried over the development.

A tricycle rider, who gave his name as Idris Umaru, expressed fears over the development when our correspondent brought up the subject while being transported in his tricycle.

“I don’t know what is happening but I am very worried. I don’t feel as safe here again as before,” Umaru told our correspondent.

Another Hausa tricycle rider, Saliu, who said he was involved in the search for the missing persons, wondered if they would be found alive.

“This was exactly how it happened in January when three of our people went missing and were later found dead at a building site in Ugwuaji,” Saliu said.

Another member of the community, Nasir Ibrahim, a trader, expressed concern that the police have not been able to apprehend any suspect behind the disappearance and killing of the first three Keke riders, whose bodies were discovered at the building site in Ugwuaji in January.

“If those responsible for that incident were apprehended, I don’t think this would have happened again,” Ibrahim said, while calling on the security agencies to get to the root of the matter.

In the meantime, leaders of the community have admonished their members, particularly tricycle riders, to be security conscious.

A human rights lawyer, Mr. Olu Omotayo, President of the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, said the community complained to the organisation over the disappearance of the missing persons.

On behalf of the community, the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network has forwarded a letter to the state government, seeking urgent action on the development.

The CRRAN said it was worried over the resurgence of violent crime in Enugu.

“We urge the state government to consolidate on the adequate security put in place by its immediate predecessor, because crime rate is increasing at an alarming rate in the hitherto peaceful city of Enugu,” the group said.

However, the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu, said the police have made appreciable progress in investigations into the discovery of the corpses at a building site in Ugwuaji in January.

The police commissioner said he won’t disclose details to avoid jeopardising ongoing investigations. (Punch)

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