Tragedy struck in the early hours of yesterday in Kaduna State when a terrorist gang attacked a divisional police headquarters and raided two commercial banks, killing a police inspector and one other civilian security guard attached to one of the banks in Saminaka area of Lere local government area of the state.
The commissioner of police, Kaduna State Command, Ballah Magaji Nasarawa, who was present at the scene of the incident, confirmed the attack.
Shedding new light on the incident, the commissioner said: “What happened is that a terrorist gang came to our police station at Saminaka and attacked our police station and two commercial banks.
They were able to penetrate into one of the banks and carted away large amounts of money, but they could not gain entrance into the other bank because of the presence of soldiers and police who were drafted to curtail the situation.
“For now, I cannot tell you who the attackers are, but investigation is ongoing to ascertain who they are and once we are done with investigation, we will communicate to you who the attackers are.
Two people lost their lives — one, a police officer and the other, a security guard attached to a commercial bank.”
LEADERSHIP further gathered that the terrorist gang first shot and killed the police inspector and set the divisional police headquarters ablaze which burnt the police officer beyond recognition. The gang was later said to have shot and injured two other police officers.
LEADERSHIP also gathered that the assailants destroyed the police station, set it ablaze and, thereafter, destroyed buildings of some commercial banks in Saminaka and carted away unconfirmed amount of money.
The sole administrator of Lere LGA, Alhaji Kabir Tahir, in a separate interview, also expressed his concern, adding that because of the strong firepower of the assailants, there was a strong indication that the invaders might be suspected members of the Boko Haram.
But a source in the State Security Service (SSS), who pleaded for anonymity, told LEADERSHIP that he could not ascertain whether the hoodlums were terrorists or members of Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, it was a day of grief and anguish in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, on Sunday when the remains of the late Zakariyya Isa, a journalist with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), who was killed by unidentified gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members, on Saturday, was buried.
The development came just as the bereaved father, Alhaji Isa, who reluctantly spoke on behalf of the family, described the demise of his son (Zakariyya) as very painful. He added that he had committed everything to God for arbitration.
Isa wept uncontrollably amidst sympathisers, re-emphasising, “I leave everything in the hands of God to judge”.
Zakariyya, the renowned Hausa translator and newscaster, was the first journalist killed in that manner since the beginning of the ongoing Boko Haram crisis, a development that has since sent fear amongst members of the public and particularly media people in the state.
Borno State governor Kashim Shettima, who together with his deputy Zannah Mustapha attended the funeral service for Zakariyya, condemned the killing of the 41-year-old journalist, stressing that “there can never be any justification for anyone to take another human’s life,” even as he noted that with God’s intervention the problem facing the state would soon come to an end.
The governor, who was said to have delayed his official trip to Abuja to attend the burial, promised that, on his return to the state, he would initiate a meeting with leaders of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to come up with a special protection mechanism for journalists in the state.
Shettima, who announced the donation of N1 million to the family of the slain reporter, said government would continue to do its best to ensure the return of peace in the state.
In his words: “We all know those behind this are our brothers, and it is time they listen to the voice of reason and put an end to this carnage.”
Also, on his part, the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journlists, Borno State chapter, Alhaji Abba Kakami, expressed deep shock on what he called “the death of a harmless journalist,” saying the security operatives should look into the problems of harassment of journalists and immediately investigate the killing of late Zakariyya”
The zonal manager of NTA Maiduguri Zonal Centre, Malam Mohammed Dania, described the late Zakariyya Isa as hardworking and intelligent reporter. According to him, Zakariyya was always punctual to duty and he had never been found wanting in his area of responsibility .
An eyewitness and neighbour of Zakariyya told LEADERSHIP that the men that shot the reporter dead came in a group of two.
He said: “One was wearing a T-shirt and the other, a Babanriga gown.
They pretended they wanted to pray; but when some children gave them water for ablution, they went round the corner and returned with a gun and shot at Zakariyya who was lying down in front of his house, chatting with a friend after observing Isha, the last prayer of the day”.
The eyewitness, who sought anonymity for fear of his life, said: “We have to run for our lives the moment we heard the gunshots.
But when we summoned courage to return to the area, we found that it was Zakariyya that was killed.”
Late Zakariyya Isa,41, was a mass communications graduate of the University of Maiduguri. He is survived by a son, wife and parents.
But the police have not been able to unravel those behind the killing just as the suspected Boko Haram members have not made any call to deny or claim responsibility for the killings.
Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has faulted the killing of Isa.
The ACN said: “If it is true, as it had been widely reported, that Boko Haram killed Isa, then it is a clear indication that things are really getting out of hand as far as this Boko Haram crisis is concerned,’’ the party said in a statement issued on Sunday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
He said: “Again, we call on the federal government to shake off its lethargy and act fast to find a solution to the crisis.
With the government seemingly clueless as to how to tackle the crisis, we will like to reiterate our earlier call for the convening of a stakeholders’ conference to help find a solution,’’ it said.
In a related development, the NUJ, has raised an alarm over the security of journalists and the rising wave of insecurity in the country.
NUJ National President, Malam Mohammed Garba, who made the union’s position known in Abuja yesterday, lamented the gruesome killing of the NTA staff, Zakariyya Isa in his home in Maiduguri, Borno State by yet to be identified gunmen.