By Bashir Bello, Katsina
For the family of Alhaji Umar Nuhu, March 9, 2019, will remain an unforgettable day as it was the day their son, CA2 Umar Aliyu, a security operative with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, went on election duty only for his lifeless body to be brought back.
Aliyu, 38-year-old and father of two kids, Al-Amin (4) and Mohammed (3-months), was killed by armed bandits who attacked Santar Amadi village polling unit in Kankara LGA of Katsina State.
A statement by the spokesperson for Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah, confirming the incident, said the bandits shot Aliyu on his chest and he died on the spot.
Isah said, “Today, at about 13:00hrs, armed bandits attacked Santar Amadi village polling unit at Kankara LGA of Katsina State, shooting sporadically into the air and later pursued and shot a Civil Defence Officer, CA2 Umar Aliyu, on his chest. The victim died on the spot”.
Kankara is one of the nine front line local government areas of Katsina State with high cases of insecurity, ranging from kidnapping to cattle rustling, armed banditry and also sharing a border with the dreaded Rugu forest (harbouring all kinds of criminals) and Zamfara State.
A visit by our correspondent to the family house of the deceased, around Kwado area of Katsina metropolis where the family members have continued to receive sympathizers, showed that the deceased also carried out his election duty at the same area during the presidential and National Assembly elections.
He was said to have complained of the high level of insecurity in the area as everyone (residents) was in possession of a gun.
A father’s agony
The father of the deceased NSCDC officer, Alhaji Umar Nuhu, told the story of the killing.
His words, “Our last discussion with him was on Wednesday before the governorship and state assembly polls). He told me that he will be going back to his duty post by Friday. He told me about his observation during his last duty in the area, during the presidential and National Assembly elections that there was a high level of insecurity in the area.
“You will see the Fulanis, everybody with guns. That gun is displayed everywhere like groundnut. So I told him, if he will be working in the area, that he should ensure that the agreement reached during the presidential election – a kind of arrangement reached – which gave birth to the peaceful and smooth conduct of the elections should be replicated in the governorship election.
“On Friday, before leaving for his duty post, he came to the house while I was asleep to tell his mom he was leaving. “He bid her farewell. That was the last moment.
“Allah gave me and He took him. So my prayer is whoever has a hand in the death of my son, Allah should expose and destroy him. I do this prayer in my own little way every time I pray. And I will continue until I also return to my Creator.
“My son, I was told, brought out N20,000, gave to the bandits and begged them to spare his life but they told him they didn’t need his money but his life.
“He has two children, both males – Al-Amin (4) and Mohammed (3 months).
“He was my firstborn. He has three younger brothers and three younger sisters.
“I am appealing with a strong voice to the government that they do something urgent about his gratuity and that of other security operatives who were killed in active service. If the government gives the gratuity, it will cater to the family. It should not take a long period of time before it is paid as it has always been. It is not good enough that a staff member is killed and his family members are not catered for”.
I bade him farewell, not knowing it was the last — Mother of the deceased
The mother of the deceased NSCDC officer, Hajiya Murja Dan-Binta, described the death of her son as an irreplaceable loss.
She said, “Usually, every blessed day, as the day breaks, he would come to the house to greet me before going out to work. So, he came on that day, Friday, the eve of the elections. I asked him if he was leaving for election duty and he said he would be leaving after Jumaat prayer and that he was taking his wife to her family house. He returned around 9 am to tell me he was leaving, that they were called to leave because of insecurity in the area. So I bid him farewell. He gave me the keys to his apartment. I wished him the best of luck and prayed for God’s protection. I saw him off to the gates.
“At about 3 pm the following day, Saturday, people started calling me to ask about what had happened. When I asked what happened, they refused to tell me, instead, they will end the calls. So I called my younger brother who works in the Nigeria Prisons Service to go to the headquarters to inquire about what happened to my son. He told me he was on his way to my house and then he began to preach to me. There and then he told me bandits killed my son.
“It was an actually painful and irreplaceable loss which would remain in me until I return to my Creator. My son, Aliyu, was humble; he took good care of his family, catered for his family and us the parents. I pray that God grants him Aljannat Firdaus.
“I appeal to the government not because I lost my son but to settle my son’s gratuity and others who may have been killed in the line of duty promptly because of their families because, someday, they will all die and be a thing of the past.
“Again, they should find a lasting solution to the issue of insecurity.
“The lady with whom my son worked at the polling unit said the persons brought machine guns and started shooting sporadically. They all ran for their lives. He ran into a house, they surrounded the house and, in an attempt to jump the fence into another house, they dragged him down. He brought out N20,000 and begged them to spare his life but they told him they didn’t need his money and went ahead to kill him”.
The wife of the deceased officer, Hauwa’u Aminu, could not talk as she cried uncontrollably when our correspondent attempted to get her to speak about her last moments with her husband before he went on the ill-fated election duty.
Their first child, Alamin, was seen playing around with his peers as he didn’t seem to know what was happening. Their three-months-old son, Mohammed, was seen sleeping.
Sympathizers trooped in droves into the family house at Kwado area of Katsina metropolis to condole with the bereaved members.