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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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Kano Focus is hiring

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Kano Focus

Kano Focus, the most trusted local journalism site in Kano state, Nigeria is expanding its team to serve its audiences better.

We are therefore seeking for enterprising, experienced, and ethical candidates to fill the following vacancies:

Title: Editor

Type: Full time

Contract: 1 year (Renewable)

Location: Kano

Responsibilities

The Editor manages a small team of journalists for the production of multimedia content for Kano Focus and its social media platforms.

S/he is aware of and accepts that the demands of online journalism may often need flexibility and working outside normal office hours in order to meet deadlines or to deal with evolving situations.

The Editor’s key responsibilities are to coordinate, plan, and guide content production, develop and maintain high professional standards and ensure quality content, as well as motivate team members to think of how to do things better.

Requirements

The right candidate must demonstrate proven editorial judgment, ability to adapt content across different platforms, experience in planning and directing news coverage, thorough knowledge of the local media environmental, as well as an excellent command of the English language.

Title: Video Journalist

Type: Full time

Contract: 1 year (Renewable)

Location: Kano

Responsibilities

The video journalist is responsible for the production of video content for Kano Focus and its social media platforms.

S/he is aware of and accepts that the demands of online journalism may often need flexibility and working outside normal office hours in order to meet deadlines or to deal with evolving situations.

The video journalist’s key responsibilities are to shoot and edit video and audio materials for use across multiple platforms, and create engaging social media content in form of video, audio, and graphics.

Requirements

The right candidate must demonstrate an excellent track recording in video and audio recording and shooting, thorough understanding of social media content production, as well as expertise in the production of graphics, pictures, and audio, for specific social media platforms.

Title: Office Manager

Type: Full time

Contract: 1 year (Renewable)

Location: Kano

Responsibilities

The Office Manager is responsible for managing the finances and administration of the Kano Focus office.

S/he is responsible for contract management, handling official correspondences, daily financial administration, petty cash management, equipment procurement and maintenance, as well as routine maintenance of office security and hygiene.

Requirements

The right candidate must demonstrate good communication and presentation skills, fluency in English language, experience in financial bookkeeping, as well as proficiency in MS Word, Excel and basic accounting software.

Application

Eligible candidates should send an application letter and CV to info@kanofocus.com by July 20, 2020.

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Kano COVID-19 cases fall to 187

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COVID-19 Update

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Kano Ministy of Health says 187 persons are currently infected with COVID-19 in the state.

Kano Focus reports that the ministry tweeted on Monday evening that no new case was recorded from 128 results received on Monday.

Also no patients were discharged.

Statistics from the ministry show that Kano state has so far tested 14,448 persons out of which 1,268 turned out positive.

COVID-19: Kano active cases down to 207

Kano COVID-19 cases rise to 247

Kano COVID-19 cases fall to 233

However, 1,029 have been discharged while 52 have died.

Meanwhile, the total number of Nigerians infected with COVID-19 has risen to 17, 458 on Monday according to the Nigeria Center for Disease and Control (NCDC).

The NCDC said 29,286 Nigerian residents had tested positive to the virus but 11,828 have been discharged while 654 have died.

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Court jails man 14 years for raping 8 year old girl

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No Rape

Nasiru Yusuf

A Kano state High Court has sentenced one Abdullahi Idris to 14 years imprisonment for raping an 8 years old girl.

Kano Focus reports that the presiding judge, Khadija Sulaiman also directed the convict to pay N50,000 damages to the victim.

Idris, a resident of Sharada in Kano Metropolis had on August 29, 2015 raped an eight year old girl in an uncompleted building.

The offence according to the prosecution counsel Zainab Bala Sani contradicted section 283 of the Penal Code.

Court jails police sergeant 7 years for sodomizing teenager

Court jails man 14 years for raping 6 year old girl

“Mai Siket” pleads guilty to raping over 40 women in Kwanar Dangora

The judge passed the sentence after the prosecution counsels Zainab Bala Sani and Maryam Muhammad Jibrin presented four witnesses while the convict defended himself.

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