By Malachy Uzendu
Lessons from public knowledge of the exploits of re-arrested notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, have opened sour Vistas in the nation’s crime-fighting lexicon. Wadume is a persona with variety of identity. To some people, especially the devious ones employed in security circles, he is a “paddy man” who people should have no qualms recommending even for national honours. To people who hold such views, Wadume remains an unimpeachable character who the almighty must permit to enjoy good life even far beyond what his ancestors enjoyed both now and in the life hereafter.
To the vast majority of Nigerians, especially those who had been hit one way or the other by his or similar notorious savagery, Wadume is a man destined for hell. They would wish he had been felled immediately upon his re-arrest and sent to hell, where they feel he rightly belongs. They have implicit conviction Wadume is son of the devil. He is like Jack the Ripper, the notorious New York killer who made life miserable for both citizens and the cop.
Wadume is clear example of a amoebic metamorphosis whose persona looms large and multi-faceted like the rainbow. He is like the proverbial elephant which some blind men had described from different perspectives. No matter the prism Wadume is assessed from, a recurring denominator would be his deep and entrenched criminal tendencies, and these conclusions are well appreciated by his admirers and foes. Therefore, hate or love him, the sight or mention of Wadume evokes uncanny aura reminiscent of ‘Doctor’ Ishola Oyenusi, who held Lagos, then nation’s capital spell-bound in the 70s. Oyenusi, acquired a notorious sobriquet ‘Dr. rob and kill’. According to reports, “he got into active robbery back in 1959, but he committed his first major robbery when he snatched a car along Herbert Macaulay Road in Yaba, Lagos, and killing its owner in the process, just because his girlfriend was broke and needed money to buy her make-up.
“He eventually sold the car for £400 (Nigeria’s currency then), and handed the money to the lady. He actually snatched the first car he saw on the road. Such was the ferocious nature of his audacity”.
Stories are also replete of the infamous exploits of LawrenceNomanyagbon Anini or Monday Osumbor, two notorious criminals who had decades ago, held the old Bendel State, and in particular the ancient Benin City and environs by the jugular in the 80s.
Anini’s reign of terror evoked sweet and sour memories among the people, depending on which side one belonged. Even ordinary folks in Benin burnt the midnight candle praying for continued successful exploits and for God to grant him long life and prosperity. ; at least, he distributed the spoils of his escapades freely on the streets to them and they made a huge show, scrambling for flying currency notes which he usually sprayed recklessly after each successful robbery operation. But to then Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Anini must be brought to a dastardly end. And his often-quoted rhetorical question to then Inspector-General of Police (IGP) of the whereabouts of Anini was the game changer.
Then, we have one of the most dreaded billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (a.k.a Evans), whose penchant for making the rich also cry is legendary. Of course, not forgetting the kapoon of terrorism in the country, Mohammed Yusuf, whose Boko Haram Islamic sect, have turned the entire North-Eastern part of the country and beyond become notorious with cold-blooded murder and destruction of unimaginable proportion.
A common denominator among these men of sorrow, blood and tears are their penchant for killing, destroying families and wicked act of man’s inhumanity to man. They also have deeply-entrenched connection with senior members of the nation’s security system. Several of these security operatives were in fact, their errand boys.
For example, the notorious Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, had since 6th August, 2019, convinced Nigerians that some unscrupulous security operatives were indeed responsible for the prolonged war against violent crimes in Nigeria. In an effort to protect their pocket, some unscrupulous soldiers had freed Wadume who was arrested by a special squad of the IGP’s Intelligence Squad at Ibbi, Taraba State. The Ibi tragedy resulted in the brutal murder of three police officers and two civilians, and gunshot injury to five others. Wadume, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the incident, was subsequently released by his “rescuers” after they had destroyed the restraining handcuffs. Not stopping there, they created a very big national brouhaha between the police and the military, to the extent that both the IGP and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) are yet to extricate themselves out of the embarrassing faux pas.
Providentially, even as some people tried stridently to stand truth on its head, Wadume got re-arrested in the late hours of 19th August, 2019 in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State. It is his belief, according to DCP Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, that the re-arrest of Wadume, will help in no small measure in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect.
Have we therefore learnt any lessons yet? How many times would this embarrassment crop up before we got it right? Is there any tinge of similarity between current taunting of particularly Catholic priests in Enugu State by Fulani herdsmen and the Wadume incident? The last time a suspect was paraded clutching his AK-47 assault riffle, as the kingpin of the Ukpabi Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani killings, what became of him and his gang members? Could that have any relationship with continued herdsmen kidnappings, rape and attacks in parts of the country? Did previous investigations, arrests and prosecutions bring any succor to our dear Nigeria now classified as one of the most dreaded nation on earth?
Back to Wadume: who are those over 100 individuals that have been discovered to be his regular ‘paddy men’ on telephone? Since some of them have been identified to be both military and police personnel, what did they discuss with such a notorious criminal and what files did they keep on him? Who are those grumbling that he has been re-arrested, including those he is building a Mosque for, in order to ascertain if they had any untoward relationship with him and what they did if they had strong belief he has dubious means of existence? What about Alhaji Adebowale Olugbenga Ojomo, a 45-year native of Akure Central, Ondo State, who the IGP said is the leader of an international arms-smuggling syndicate, who has equally confessed to to supplying his client Hamisu Wadume six AK-47 rifle and four cans (ammunition)? Ojomo had said the firearms business is a cartel with base in different places like Lagos, Ibadan and Onitsha. He also revealed getting to know Hamisu through some members of his syndicate, and that he sold the AK-47 riffles to Hamisu for N800,000 instead of N650,000 which he, Ojomo, personally delivered at their meeting point in Makurdi.
Questions, questions, questions! But, it depends on what our leaders,, particularly those at the helm in the nation’s security systems make of all these. But, what cannot be discountenanced is that with the nation’s judiciary gradually and steadily acquiring notoriety as being incapable of providing justice; or succor for the ordinary citizens, we headed for the worst, except providence takes control. Even with all these bumps, it is up to our leaders to do the needful. Ordinary people are fully aware our leadership is the recurring decimal in all these vices which should not be brushed aside. Inspite of all the challenges, it is feasible to redeem this bad situation; in fact, ample opportunities exist. But our leaders must accept responsibility.
QUOTE: The last time a suspect was paraded clutching his AK-47 assault riffle, as the kingpin of the Ukpabi Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani killings, what became of him and his gang members?