Paul Orude, Bauchi
Abubakar Magaji, the nephew of the 49-year old commercial motorcycle operator killed during the crisis that erupted at a recent birthday party in Bauchi State, has spoken of his grief.
Four people were killed while eight others were injured in the crisis. Two houses and a car were also set ablaze, and the state government promptly imposed a 12-hour curfew on the five communities affected.
The deceased, Musa Ali, had taken a passenger to Yelwa Tsakanin area of Bauchi Metropolis about 10 pm on Sunday November 18, unaware that a crisis was brewing.
“He didn’t deserve to die,” lamented Magaji. “My uncle was a peaceful man who troubled no one.”
Magaji said the deceased was his mother’s younger brother. He was a mason but operated a commercial motorcycle to make ends meets.
“I was at home when news came that Musa had been killed. A friend called me that my uncle had been taken to the hospital. I called his line, but his number was not going through. Later, a policeman called me to confirm that Musa was dead.
“The next day we went to the hospital to identify his corpse, and after following the necessary process, it was released to us. He left a wife and nine children.”
The bereaved nephew said he almost died when the news of Musa’s painful death reached him. “I have been battling with high blood pressure for some time before now, and since the news of his death, my condition has worsened and I have been on medication,” he said.
Magaji observed that the crisis that led to his uncle’s brutal murder had been on for some time. “It is not the first time that we would be witnessing a crisis in Yelwa Tsakanin, Lushin and Kusu area.” he said.
Musa, a father of nine, had dropped off a passenger at Tsakanin, the venue of the controversial birthday party. He was leaving the area when he was hacked to death with machetes.
Three other victims, Paul Hena, Hamzath and Joseph Sati, were also brutally killed. Those close to the victims asserted that their deaths were painful and needless.
For instance, Joseph Sati, a carpenter who lived in Tsakanin, was returning from the home of his in-laws where he had gone to reconcile with his wife and plead with her to return home with their daughter.
“He had even settled the issue and was to bring her home the next day. He was accosted by youths near Kusu and killed with cutlass,” said Adams Kushi, a resident of Tsakanin.
Paul Hena had also moved his wife and two boys from the troubled spot, but he made a mistake by returning to his house.
“He moved into this big house he built some months ago. When he came back after taking his family to a secured place, he met his house on fire. He was shouting and the next thing, the youth descended on him and killed him,” a resident who pleaded anonymity, recalled.
So painful was Hamzath’s demise. The deceased from Tula in Gombe, was said to have responded to the cries of hunger by his little daughter. He then ventured outside the house to get her a drink called ‘bobo.’ “Just outside the house, he met the killers. His wife heard a voice telling one of them to smash the bulb before carrying out the killing. He was killed brutally,” a woman who pleaded anonymity, recalled.
All the four victims and the eight others who survived with injuries, were not in any way involved in the party. According to the story, the birthday party was organised by one Dadi, an alleged notorious drug dealer, for his two year old daughter, at an uncompleted building near his house.
Residents, who pleaded anonymity, said there was loud music at the party. Smoking of cannabis was freely and openly carried out by some of the youth to the chagrin of residents.
Meanwhile, a misunderstanding over a girl, which led to the stabbing of a man and a woman, had ensued at a hide-out close to the party. The gang members usually met to take substances at one of the rooms in an uncompleted building in the area. Cigarette butts littered the floor of the room.
The fight spilled to the venue of the party and Musa, one of the victims, reportedly lost his life there.
“You can see traces of blood here. We don’t know where the girl who was stabbed at the uncompleted building did, but she survived and was rushed to the hospital. From here, the rivals took their grievances to the party,” a resident who pleaded anonymity, explained.
The late Musa was at the venue at a wrong time. Zachariah Yohanna, a youth leader from Yelwa Tsakani and member of the Muslim-Christian Youth committee established to foster peace among Christians and Muslims in the volatile area, got wind of the crisis brewing and had just dashed out to meet with other members when he saw Musa in the pool of his blood.
He told Daily Sun: “I was resting when the operation manager of the committee called me that there was
a problem. I immediately asked the operation manager to call the police. Before the police arrived, I met Musa lying on the ground with blood all over his body. Before the police could get here, he had lost a lot of blood.
“He was cut three times in the head. He was still breathing when I saw him. Those who attacked him fled and left his motorcycle. I shouted for help because everybody was afraid. I had to tear his shirt to tie him to stop the bleeding,” he said.
But the deceased nephew wants justice to be served in the brutal killing of his uncle. “There must be justice,” Magaji said. “Culprits must be identified and arrested by the police. But when people see suspected killers walking freely on the streets, it sends a wrong message. This development often leads to people taking the law into their hands.
“My uncle was not a troublemaker. Everybody knows him in this area. There was a misunderstanding at a birthday party and he was unfortunate to be there to drop a passenger and he was killed.”
He called on the authorities to ensure that those who perpetrated the brutal killings of innocent people were brought to book.
“People will take the law into their hands if the law enforcement agents do nothing about it. The killers of my uncle are not from heaven. If people are killed without cause and government does nothing about it, people will resort to taking the law into their hands and there won’t be peace.”
Musa’s widow could not be reached. The family said the woman was yet to recover from the shock of her husband’s brutal death.
The deceased has since been buried according to Islamic rites.