53-year-old Aisha Sani takes the security situation of her embattled Suleja community very seriously, most especially as it relates to women and youth. This made her join an all-male security group called Suleja Emirate Council Security Corps. Mairo Muhammad Mudi writes on this woman and reveals her reasons for joining the group which is feared by many.
Just passing her by on the street, one doesn’t make the mistake of seeing her as belonging to the dreaded group of the Suleja Emirate Council Security Corps popularly referred to as ‘yan banga. Even criminals would not wish to entangle with any member of this group.
However, Aisha, looking motherly and well dressed with a ready smile, looks exactly like a mother you could run to for comfort in times of trouble. Her identity card she proudly carries around and the testimonies of people in the community fore-close any doubt about her membership of the group.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY asked Aisha what attracted her to the job. She said though it is a voluntary service, she still offers herself to make sure that the security challenges in Suleja are overcome as well as to protect women against any abuse in the hands of security operatives. She explained that her role is mainly on reconciliation.
On her achievements in the group, the only woman emirate corps member in the community, said she has succeeded in organising for the first time, a workshop on security and child delinquency in modern times within the Suleja Emirate Council which got several people including the Emir of Suleja, Mallam Ibrahim Awwal Ibrahim, heads of security operatives, govermental and Non-Govermental Organisations in attendance. Others included students and parents.
She said the aim of organising the one-day workshop was to find lasting solutions to the security challenges in Suleja. “It is disheartening that Suleja is always in the front line of newspaper and security reports from various intelligence organisations as world news in a negative light due to the present security challenges”.
The retrenched FCDA staff said she makes sure that all cases involving women that are not criminal are resolved amicably but said the ones that are beyond her powers, she refers them to the social welfare office instead of the police and in most cases she monitors the cases to the letter.
She also explained that one of her strategies of reducing crimes in her community is by becoming close to some selected youth who are identified to having criminal tendencies so that she could offer motherly role to convince them that crime does not pay.
The mother of four said she is more concerned about eradicating crime than punishing it, advising that the only way to totally eradicate crime in Suleja is to go back to the old tradition where every new arrival to the town would have to present himself or herself to the traditional ward chief in charge of the area. She said this way, his movement and activities would be known to those concerned.
Asked how she meets up with her needs and carry on with her duties as the job does not attract salary or allowances, Aisha said she is surviving by the grace of God through gestures from her relatives.
The woman corps who lauded the effort of Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan on her Women For Change and Peace Initiative Programme which she believes is geared towards bringing peace in Nigeria, called on other women to join her to eradicate crime and stop abuses against women within the security settings of her community.
Aisha called on the military authorities in Suleja to consider women and children when ordering people to disembark from motorcycles to trek at military checkpoints as she said so many women are pregnant or carrying little kids and loads. She lamented that some women complained to her that this measure is terribly unbearable.
A cross section of women LEADERSHIP SUNDAY spoke with showed admiration for Aisha Sani’s effort but declined to join her as they believe that the job is risky and that there is no monetary benefit attached to it. Larai Abubakar said she is sure Allah will reward her: “For me, I won’t join her because my husband won’t even allow it and I need to take care of my children”.
One of the security corps members, a commander in Hassan Dallatu Unit of the group, Alhaji Shuaibu Justice, commended Aisha Sani for joining the group as he sees her coming as a positive addition to them because of her good initiatives.