Of death and crime

Death is a daily occurrence and it is a must for every living creature. Allah Has made it crystal clear in the Qur’an that every soul must test death (Q29:57). In between birth and death, human beings go through different experiences, some good and others bad, but at the end of it all the return is to Allah (Q21:35). 

Although sure of it, none of us like it. Not only that; whenever it descends on a person we love, we are shocked by death. Our shocks do not in anyway, not even by way of an attempt, bring back the dead to life. They are gone. As believers we pray to Allah to have mercy on our dead and to bring our ends while we are in an excellent state of faith. 

Two weeks ago it was the news of Sheikh Ahmad Bamba’s death. We were not happy he left us. But he had to; just like any other human being would do once it is time to leave. This week I was struck with three sad news of death.

For those of us from areas hit by banditry, and many other Nigerians who care, we know what it means for the heartless, illiterate, ignorant miscreants to strike. It will always remind you of a similar attack that affected you or your community. Shimfida is a major settlement in Jibia local government area. Being on the border with Zamfara state, it is one of those communities hit by bandits when banditry was at its infancy stage. That there are still people living in Shimfida is a miracle.

The attack this week was not directly on Shimfida people. It is on a military camp nearby. As banditry continues to bite harder, detachments of security operatives have been strategically stationed at various points on the map of Katsina and other states. One of those points is Shimfida community. What people like me find difficult to understand is why security operatives would be kept in one place as ‘mai guard’ instead of them to pursue the bandits in the forests. This stationarity has contributed in making our security men and women victims whenever they are caught unawares by bandits’ attacks.

That is exactly what happened. The news is now viral that a soldier and an NSCDC officer were killed somewhere in Jibia Local Government. Where in Jibia local Government? Only people like me who know the local Government well would know the differences in terms of danger level among the various parts of Jibia Local Government.  Last year, a friend of mine refused to honour a wedding invitation in Jibia town for fear of bandits. He could not understand my explanation that the road between Katsina and Jibia and Jibia town itself are relatively safe.

One of the important messages for those in authority in the Shimfida episode is that our gallant men and women continue to die in service. How are their family doing after their death? Some of the news moving about in relation to entitlements of the widows and orphans left by our servicemen are not good to hear. I would like to hope that most of it is not true. Be that at it may, the society has a responsibility to be of help to this group of people. From whichever location you are reading this, my advice for you is to look around you for any such widows or orphans and do what you can to help them regardless of whether government is playing its part or not. 

Although many of us feel that our security operatives could do better in terms of pursuing bandits, it would not be correct to say they are not doing anything. There are several cases of soldiers intercepting bandits and eliminating same. For example, in this same week, a good number of bandits were killed by our security operatives along Jibia-Katsina highway. 

The second news that has caught the attention of many commentators is that of Hanifa, a five year old pupil kidnapped and killed by the proprietor of the school she attends. This is a clear case of heartlessness and breach of trust. The parents of Hanifa have taken their little daughter to Abdulmalik Mohammed Tanko because they trusted him and believe that he can contribute in giving her the very basics she needs in her first step of becoming educated to give her bit in making this world a better place. Unfortunately, this is how it ended.

As far as I am concerned, the only thing required for bandits and people like the proprietor of Hanifa’s school to be eliminated is to confirm that they have committed the crime. Please do not say I am supporting extrajudicial killings, whatever it means.

Finally, just like my spiritual teacher Dr. Ahmad Bamba, a physics teacher of mine died on Friday, January 21, 2022. Humble, religious, unassuming, Professor Muhammad Sani Abubakar (Dr. Sani Danja, as many call him; of course, he is from Danja in Katsina state) taught me Behaviour of Matter, a branch of Physics in my second year Predegree Science programme in Bayero University Kano. That was not long after obtaining his PhD degree from a US university. He is the kind of teacher you would respect once you sit in his class.

Dr. MS Abubakar was not to continue with his service in Bayero University for long as he was appointed the Deputy Rector (Academics) and Director, College of Science and Technology, Kaduna Polytechnic. I was to work under him after my NYSC. In fact it was due to his influence that the processing of my application for appointment with Kaduna Polytechnic was accelerated. 

After his service with Bayero University, Kaduna Polytechnic, National Board for Technical Education and Kaduna State University, Muhammadu Sani Abubakar died as a Professor of Physics in Kaduna State University. May Allah cover his soul with mercy. Amin. Professor Jibia writes from Zaria, Kaduna state.