A senior traditional title holder in Daura Emirate Council in Katsina State, Alhaji Musa Umar Uba, was abducted by four gunmen who stormed his residence in the ancient city last night.
The traditional ruler, who holds the title of Magajin Garin Daura, is a retired Customs Controller and a cousin of the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Faruk Umar.
A witness, who simply identified himself as Malam Abdullahi, told newsmen that the gunmen stormed the residence of the traditional ruler in a convoy of two vehicles – a blue Peugeot 406 Saloon car and a Toyota Hilux.
“They met him in front of his house at Kwanar Agam in the city and forcefully abducted him around 7pm after Magrib prayers.”
Another witness, Malam Muhammad, who lives in the same area with the traditional title holder, said the whole incident played out like a drama.
“We all observed the Maghrib prayer in the same neighbourhood and left the mosque. The district head retreated back to his house and sat in the front…It is part of his routine to wait until after the Isha’i, the last prayer of the day, before he will retire into his house.
“However, while seated in front of his house, he received some phone calls. From all indications, those who called told him they were on their way to see him.
“Few minutes after, they arrived at the house, parked their vehicles, alighted and then approached the Magajin Gari. All of a sudden, they grabbed him and whisked him into one of the waiting vehicles and sped off,” he said.
“When people tried to come to his aid, the gunmen shot sporadically in the air to scare the people who were forced to run to safety,” he added.
Asked if the district head was not in company of his security aides, he said, “Only few palace courtiers were with him. This is probably because Daura and environs have always been peaceful.”
A source, who craved for anonymity, said the Magajin Gari might have been targeted because of his standing.
“You know he is married to Hajiya Bilki, a niece to President Muhammadu Buhari, being the daughter of his elder sister, Hajiya Rakiya. He is also the father of Fatima, who is married to the president’s Aide De Camp (ADC), Col. Mohammed Abubakar.
“We have never had this kind of incident in Daura in the past despite our proximity to the Nigerien border. Though nobody was killed or injured, the people were highly traumatised,” he said.
Another source, who does not want to be named, said he lives less than 500 metres from the house of the Magajin Gari.
“When we heard the first shooting, we actually thought it was form the electric transformer nearby. However, we suddenly heard more sounds and it downed on us that it was gunshots.
“Most of those we were seated together ran to safety because we only heard of things like this happening in other places.
“When the shooting subsided, I summoned courage and walked towards the direction of the gunshots and lo and behold, it was the district head that was abducted,” he said.
Shortly after, hundreds of sympathizers converged on the residence of the district head while some soldiers and policemen were seen patrolling the ancient city.
Newsmen report that most of the security challenges in Katsina State are happening in communities close to Zamfara State.
Credible sources told newsmen that shortly after the abduction, the kidnappers who fired several shots into the air drove on high speed towards Zango, a town roughly 16 kilometres away from Daura that shares border with Niger Republic.
The gunmen switched off Magajin Gari’s handsets and so they could not be reached. They also were yet to contact the family.
Confirming the incident, the Spokesman of Daura Emirate Council, Usman Ibrahim, said some people tried to rescue the district head but the abductors fired shots in the air which scared them away.
In a telephone interview, the Chairman of Daura Local Government Area, Engr. Abba Mato, also confirmed the incident.
He said they had informed security operatives of the development and efforts are on to rescue the ex-Customs controller.
Engr. Mato added that besides the efforts by security agencies to rescue the high ranking traditional ruler, clerics and residents of Daura and environs have been urged to pray to Allah to unravel the perpetrators.
Other sources told newsmen that the Army, Air Force, Police, Customs and Immigrations personnel have intensified surveillance along all the corridors leading to Daura, up to border with Niger.
This included Daura-Zango, Daura, Kongolam- Mai’adua and Daura Sandamu among others.
“Security agencies in Niger Republic have also been alerted…We strongly believe the kidnappers would be tracked down soonest,” one of the sources said.