By Nick Dugba.
Just last weekend, precisely on Sunday the 4th of June, the popular Mayo Gwoi area of Jalingo woke up to discover the corpse of a 21 year old lady lying with both hands and legs tied to the back in what happens to be the latest homicide case in this modest city.
Investigations have shown that the young lady Faith, left the small apartment she shared with her mother and sibling at midnight the previous day against the advice of her mum who questioned her rationale for leaving the house at that period of the night.
But the tragic fate that befell the young Faith was what mourners and sympathizers could not fathom as her innocent body lay at midday Sunday, under a mango tree.
It was also confirmed by the authorities that she was called through the phone that night perhaps by a boyfriend and as the police said, she might have ended up in a nightclub.
Jalingo is a small city compared to its peers around the country. It has few hotels, bars, taverns and nightclubs. The few notable hang outs are largely patronized by young men and women, some of whom are undergraduates of tertiary institutions, secondary school leavers and outright drop outs.
But one thing that binds these categories of youths together is ‘drugs’. Often times, these ladies who hang out in drinking joints and clubs, do not participate in the normal ‘binge drinking’ as is the tradition, but wait on boyfriends and prospective customers who would buy drugs for them in order to satisfy their craving.
Normally, the type of drugs being consumed are the cough syrups and ‘Roche’ which cost a little above N1000.
However, the popular perception surrounding the death of Faith is that she might have been a victim of gangs who are into the drug thing and whose member might have lost in the bid to win her over.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) Taraba state command, David Misal, two arrests have been made and that the two persons are helping out in the investigation. He stated that a yet to be identified person is “strongly suspected”.
It was however, confirmed that her phone was not found on her even as accusing fingers are pointing to one of her anonymous lovers who had at one time, alongside his gang members, attacked the familiar lover in his shop.
Meanwhile, as investigation continue towards unraveling the perpetrators behind this dastardly act, there were many of such cases recorded in Jalingo in the recent past.
For instance, sometime in December last year, an Igbo spare parts dealer, popularly called ‘China’ was murdered and dumped along a sleepy road in the city. According to the police, investigation is still on.
Also, in January this year, one Dogara Maikano, aged 20 was macheted to death by some gangsters in Magami, another notorious area in the city.
Not long afterwards, the dead body of a staff of Ecobank in Jalingo was discovered around the Muslim Council secretariat in a remote area of the city.
According to the PPRO, cases of homicide were reported to his office almost on a daily basis and that they are not only restricted to Jalingo alone but the surrounding local government areas.
He attributed the issue of ethnicity and common misunderstanding as the causes of these killings. However, the major evil behind the acts happen to be drug abuse which predispose these youth to acts of militancy, cultism, armed robbery, rape and murder.
This menace has even made the innocent and unsuspecting vulnerable. In fact, so many accidents in the city of Jalingo involving commercial motorcycle riders, are as a result of drug abuse among the operators. Since majority of those who operate these tricycles are youths who are likely to consume drugs, the lives of most passengers are at risk.
The drug menace has become a problematic issue and has even attracted the attention of the wife of the Governor of the State, Barr. Anna Darius Ishaku. Just recently, a seminar organized by her pet project Hope Afresh Foundation in collaboration with the government was held in Jalingo to find a way of curbing the trend.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had also at several times raided notorious drug enclaves like the ‘Road block’ area, arrested offenders and confiscated their products, but all that has yielded little success.
The police authorities blamed the lack of success to the presence of a ‘cartel’, which often frustrate the course of justice from taking its course.
But according to the Executive Chairman, Jalingo local government council, Abdul Nasir Bobboji, efforts were being made through community collaboration to check the situation within his constituency.
Bobboji, decried the spate of militancy, gangsterism, cultism in Jalingo which are all as a result of drug abuse and said a mechanism has been put in place to check that.
“Just last week, we set up a committee with representatives from the most affected areas. We had an enlarged security committee and one of the far reaching resolutions we had was that we would have a committee for each of the wards headed by the ward head with councilors,youth representatives and so on. And secondly, we have suspended parties generally. You have to first obtain permission from relevant authorities and of course the local government. A mechanism is being put in place and they have started working in this regard”, he stated.
Also, the chairman disclosed that special courts would be provided to try offenders in order not frustrate the course of justice.
Ultimately, as we speak now and as far as the city of Jalingo is concerned, a young man is experimenting with drugs while a young woman is strategizing on how to get that customer that would satisfy her cravings.
Afterall, the environment which is characterized by poverty, unemployment, little parental guidance and control has made it conducive for all these negative trends to thrive.