The bereaved son speaks with CHIMA AZUBUIKE about the circumstances of his father’s death and how the family is handling the loss
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m Haruna Maiduna. I am 25 years old. I’m a farmer. I am married; I have one wife and three children.
Who are you to the late Bello Maiduna, the head of Gombe anti-kidnapping group that was killed recently?
I’m the first child of Bello Maiduna. We are 24 children from my father’s four wives.
How old was your late father?
The late Bello Maiduna was aged 45 years.
How will you describe your late father?
My late father was a community man, friendly and was someone who worked for the peace and progress of society. He was passionate about community development. He was always out to see how best to be of help. He had lived in Katah-Kamo in the Kaltungo Local Government Area of Gombe for the past 17 years but in the past one year, the Hakimi of Kamo appointed him as the Commander of Banga, the anti-kidnapper squad. He was fondly referred to Kaura Kamo. He detested all forms of crime.
In what circumstances was he killed?
He was killed in Bauchi, in his sleep.
What was he doing in Bauchi?
He was invited to handle the rescue of some persons who were kidnapped. So, he left Kamo in Gombe for Bauchi to offer his services. He didn’t go alone; he went with some of his people to handle the case.
So, what happened next?
Around 3am when he was asleep, some people invaded the place he was. The attackers came with about 30 motorcycles. I learnt that each of the motorcycles had three persons, making a total of 90 attackers. They had assorted guns, including AK-47 rifles, and other weapons. They opened fire immediately on arrival.
Was it only your father that was killed?
He was not the only one; two of his friends were also killed.
How did you hear about the incident?
My younger brother broke the news to me. Some of the people in my late father’s camp called my brother to inform him. He in turn immediately came to knock on my door. I wondered why he was knocking on my door but when I opened he told me that our father was dead.
How did you react when he told you that?
I was quiet for a while but I when remembered the promises of God, I was consoled.
Did the attack happen before or after your father attended to the kidnapping case that he was invited for?
It was after the rescue operation. He had successfully rescued the kidnap victims without much difficulty before he was attacked and killed.
But your father was supposed to be head of anti-kidnapping group in Gombe. Did his mandate extend beyond Gombe State?
The Governors of Bauchi and Gombe states called him on separate occasions to urge him to do the work in Bauchi. My late father was not the only person; there are others like him in Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and so on. So they usually team up to do the work. He had collaboration from some of his colleagues from other parts of the North-East and all they were after was the protection of lives and property. They were not concerned about location.
How has the family been coping after his killing?
We are trying to cope but it has not been easy. Right now, I’m the father of the house. Prior to now, whenever he went for such an assignment he would hand over the authority of the house to me because he knew how risky his job was. The family is not as happy as we used to be when he was alive.
Can you recall your last interaction with him before his death?
Before my father left for Bauchi he called the entire family – his wives and all the children. His comment was that we should be strong in case he didn’t return alive, pointing out to us that his job was a risky venture, and that his survival chances were 50/50.
Did he always say that whenever he was going for such an assignment?
Yes, regularly, whenever he wanted to depart for an assignment he made it a duty to inform us about his moves. He would delegate different responsibilities to each of us.
Has the government got in touch with your family?
The governments of Gombe and Bauchi states have been encouraging us; both Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, have sent delegations to us. They have also promised us further assistance. We learnt they intend to extend a helping hand to the children of the deceased.
What do you make of the current state of insecurity in the country?
Well, for us, whatever God has destined will always happen just like it has been predestined. If Allah says yes, nobody can say no.
Although our father has died, paying the supreme price but the work to end banditry, kidnapping and insurgency has not ended. I can enlist two or three of my siblings if there is a need to replace our father to continue from where he stopped. Government cannot afford to give up now until the war on crime is won. So, people like us are optimistic that in no distant time we will triumph.
As the eldest son, will you also be willing to replace your father in that role?
No, I’m the caretaker of the house now. So, it won’t be necessary to volunteer myself but my younger siblings can wholeheartedly take up the challenges, if the need arises. I can’t possibly leave home for another place because I’m the imam of this mosque, aside being a farmer. Right now my responsibility has increased beyond what it was previously. I now superintend over the entire household with wives and children.
Source: The PUNCH
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