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How renewed KAROTA fury hurts Kano road users

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By Mukhtar Yahya Usman

On 8 September, 2019, just like any ordinary day, Yusuf Baba had left his pregnant wife and five children at home.

As he rode on his motorcycle on his way to the Kano Sports Commission along Club Road in Nasarawa local government area of Kano state, where he served as a weightlifting coach, it never crossed his mind that it was his last day on earth.

Mr Baba was just a few meters to his destination when, without warning, a dark blue Volkswagen saloon car, swerved to his side of the road on top speed and crushed him to death.

An eyewitness told Kano Focus that the commercial vehicle, with registration number KTG 174 AA, had the accident due to a nasty struggle for control of its steering wheel between its driver and a personnel of the Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), who was determined to stop the driver from fleeing.

This was how Mr Baba’s wife, Zainab was widowed and his five children orphaned in one of the several reckless confrontations between overzealous KAROTA officers and road users that often disregard traffic rules.

It was one death too many for the family as Mr Baba left behind a mentally disabled son, Umar, who relied totally on his father for his monthly follow up at a psychiatric hospital in Kano, where he receives expensive medications.

In addition, Zainab’s unborn child has also been deprived of its father.

Both the KAROTA officer and the driver of the Golf car were subsequently arrested and detained by the Kano Police Command.

About a week earlier, some KAROTA officials had also flagged down a trailer truck at Ibrahim Taiwo Road by Bello Road roundabout and attempted to arrest the driver on a charge of unlawfully using additional headlamps.

It was learnt that the KAROTA personnel ordered the driver, Kabiru Muhammad to park but before he could comply, one of them reportedly requested to drive the truck, a demand the driver refused.

Truck driver Kabiru Muhammad covered in blood

Without warning, the angry traffic official insulted Mr Muhammad just as another hit him on the head with a stick, causing him a serious injury from which blood gushed out and covered his face and clothing.

In protest at the maltreatment of their colleague, other truck drivers turned off their engines in the middle of the road, causing a massive traffic gridlock that was only cleared after the arrival of police operatives who arrested the errant KAROTA officials.

Truck drivers protest the assault on their colleague Kabiru Muhamma by KAROTA

On August 15, 2019, a magistrate court sentenced a KAROTA official to jail after he was found guilty of hitting one Hassan Zamzam with a stick in the leg and inflicting a fracture on him.

The victim was attacked by the angry KAROTA officer for allegedly beating traffic.

Kano Focus reports that the air waves in Kano are replete with complaints on excesses of KAROTA officers on the roads, especially their act of carrying sticks which they routinely use to smash heads and windshields of motorists, tricycle riders and other vehicle owners who dared to cross paths with them.

The renewed vigour of KAROTA officials in assaulting motorists manifested since the appointment of the agency’s new Managing Director, Bappa Babba DanAgundi, a former lawmaker at the Kano state House of Assembly, who failed in his re-election bid during the 2019 general elections.

It was under Mr DanAgundi’s leadership that KAROTA operatives started using sticks that are painted in the yellow and black colours of the agency to assault motorists and other road users who violate traffic rules.

Commercial drivers often complain of being extorted and forced to pay exorbitant fines, which are higher than those charged by any of the federal agencies that supervise road safety.

A KAROTA personnel trying to arrest a truck driver

As a result, many commercial motorists have stopped transporting traders to Kano, causing a sharp decline in commerce and trade, a situation that threatens the economic prosperity of the state.

Since it was established in 2014 by former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, KAROTA has been a fiery traffic outfit that attracts anger and hatred due to its persistent clashes with motorists in the course of enforcing traffic rules.

Even though it has succeeded in restoring sanity and instilling discipline in Kano’s erstwhile lawless motorists, recently, the agency has been accused of contradicting its own motto: “Sanity and Safety” by chasing moving vehicles to the point of causing accidents and in some cases leading to serious injuries or outright loss of lives.

Observers have also pointed out that while KAROTA is harsh on poor and weak road users especially commercial vehicle owners who are struggling to make ends meet, they often fail to punish powerful politicians and security agencies who move in convoys and break traffic rules with impunity.

“This leaves us with no option that to believe that the rules are meant to punish only the weak and the poor and also serve as a means of extorting and further impoverishing them, while allowing the rich and powerful to do as they please,” a driver Garba Adamu told our correspondent.

“The government should overhaul KAROTA in order to make them more humane in their operations,” he added.

However, in his reaction, the KAROTA Managing director Bappa Babban Danagundi has explained why personnel of the agency carry sticks on the roads while controlling traffic in Kano city.

Dan-Agundi said KAROTA officers are using sticks to protect themselves from attacks by angry motorists and other road users who are not happy with how the traffic officials conduct their duty.

He said many KAROTA personnel have been attacked by errant motorists, adding that some of them are still in hospital with fractures and other serious injuries.

Although Dr. Dan-Agundi admitted that using weapons is against the laws of KAROTA, he however, pointed that the Nigerian Constitution has given citizens the right to defend themselves from harm including government officials.

He also said that apart from restoring sanity on Kano roads, KAROTA officials have been commended by security agencies for arresting a fake soldier and handing him over to the appropriate authority for prosecution.

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Gov. Abba Kabir Urges Security Agencies to Quell Thuggery in Kano

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Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has beseeched security agencies operating within the state to promptly bring an end to Thuggery and other malevolent activities that are disrupting peace in specific areas of the Kano metropolis.

The Governor gives this directives at the commencement of the 15th weekly meeting of the Kano State Executive Council held at the Government House.

This was contained in a statement issued by the governor’s spokesperson, Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, on Saturday.

Governor Abba Kabir expressed disapproval of the recent upsurge in Thuggery and clashes involving Yan daba, affirming that the government will not passively observe while unscrupulous elements endanger the relative tranquility and harmony enjoyed by the law-abiding citizens of the state.

He reiterated that under his administration, the state government is diligently collaborating with relevant security agencies to ensure the safety and security of the populace and their possessions at all times.

Furthermore, Governor Abba Kabir cautioned Judges against the unwarranted release of thugs, emphasizing the threat they pose to the welfare of the state’s residents and stressing the importance of prompt and equitable dispensation of justice.

Alhaji Abba Kabir also instructed security agencies to strictly adhere to their mandated duty of safeguarding the lives and properties of the citizens they serve, warning against involvement in matters beyond their designated responsibilities.

He implored the populace in the state to continue with their lawful pursuits, assuring that the government will persevere in its commitment to ensuring their protection, and requested ongoing support and cooperation for the current administration.

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Emirate Tussle: Prof. Yadudu Faults Justice Liman’s Ruling, Says Judgement not Helpful For The Judicial Process

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Reacting to the ruling, renowned constitutional lawyer, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, told Daily Trust that the judge’s pronouncements were strange and baffling by approbating and reprobating in the same breath.

He said the development was not helpful for the judicial process, stressing that the judge assuming jurisdiction on the fundamental human rights aspect and refusing the same on the validity of the substance of the case–the Kano emirates law–has “muddled up the case, and it is very unbecoming of a judge who has now been elevated to the Court of Appeal”.

Professor Yadudu clarified that while he was not accusing the judge of any impropriety, the pronouncements were unbecoming. “How can you say the actions taken in pursuant of a law are set aside, and then say you are not delving into the validity of the said law?” he queried.
Prof. Yadudu said further that the judge had more or less held that he lacked jurisdiction on the issue by transferring the case to another judge, but still went ahead to set aside the governor’s actions.

He said that the ex-parte order should no longer be of any currency because it is being challenged at the Appeal Court, and the judge himself admitted knowledge of this by granting a stay of proceedings and also deciding not to grant an order to nullify the law.

“All these are avoidable. It is not helpful for the judicial process. It is strange and doesn’t speak well of the judge. The question of whether the governor’s actions came before and after the exparte order is a question of fact or evidence. It seems from the record that the order came after,” he said.

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Governing council: ASUU BUK rejects Gawuna’s appointment, favours Udoma’s return

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Bayero University Kano, BUK chapter during the weekend rejected the appointment of Kano top flight politician, Dr Nasiru Gawuna into the Governing Council of the second generation tertiary Institution.

 

KANO FOCUS reports that the Chairperson, Prof. Ibrahim Tajo Suraj said that the process that led to the appointment of politicians into the Governing Council of the nation’s citadel of learning contravened the relevant laws that guided such appointment.

 

Addressing newsmen in its secretariat, Comrade Siraj explained that “I must admit that we are not happy over the decision of the federal government to appoint hard core politicians into the Governing Council.

 

Prof. Siraj stressed that “the criteria for such appointments is explicitly clear, as it favoured the appointment of technocrats, academic to the Council”.

 

The Chairperson maintained that the sack of former Council with a constitutional mandate of

4 years tenure, after one year in office was a rape on the rule of law.

 

He therefore called on the federal government to reinstate Senator Udo Udoma led Governing Council to complete their term in the interests of the rule of law

 

Siraj stressed that “the scenario is just like sacking an executive governor of a state after just one in office, and you went ahead to assume that all is normal, no, this is rape on the rule of law.”

 

Ibrahim Tajo Suraj, earlier had led (ASUU), Bayero University Kano branch, on a peaceful protest on Friday demanding the federal government to pay their entitlements and implement the 2009 ASUU/FG Agreement.

 

Prof. Ibrahim Tajo Suraj, said the action was in compliance with the directive by the national body to all its branches to organize protests within their campuses on account of the federal government’s failure to pay their entitlements.

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