Bauchi residents protest detention of traditional ruler, family members
Residents of Rafin Zurfi area of Bauchi metropolis took to the streets to block the Bauchi–Dass road in protest of the detention of the traditional ruler Mai Angwa Rafin Zurfi, Patrick Aliyu, his wife, his elder sister and one other person.
The protesters, including women and youths, blocked the road at Benco Junction and insisted that the road would only be opened when their chief and the other three arrested persons regained their freedom.
The protesters barricaded the road at about 6:30 pm on Monday, it was observed that there were hundreds of women and youths who were on the highway expressing their anger and grievances on the incident.
Motorcycles, logs of wood, benches and tires were used to block the road while armed policemen were seen around the area trying to calm the situation.
More than 100 cars and motorcycles were stranded as they were denied passage through the area. Commuters were delayed for about two hours while others took alternative routes to get to their destinations.
After about one hour 30 minutes later, the protest took another dimension as the Police started firing teargas at the women and youths when they could not be calmed.
The Police had to use force and teargas before they were able to open the road to allow for a free flow of traffic.
The daughter of the traditional ruler, Precious, told journalists that her father has been having an issue with a resident of the area who dragged her father to court and they were then remanded at the Correctional Center.
“My dad had issues with J. B. the owner of some shops being constructed at Rafin Zurfi close to Benco junction because of a piece of land. The issue started in January last year. Sometimes around August, he was fighting for the land that he wanted to block the place where my dad used to pass with his car and the land is ours not his.
“We don’t know why he is fighting for the land or why he wants the land. We took the case to Sarkin Gwallameji but he said we must sell the land to him but we refused. They’ve been going to the Police Station for the case. Today, in the morning, they called them at the court saying that they should come, though I was at home but I don’t know for what reason.
“My mum told me to come to the court with N5,000, so I took the money with me. I went to the Magistrate Court 3. I took the money but they said we’ll have to pay N50,000 each making N200,000. After everything, one Police Officer now came in a Hilux and took my dad, my mum, my aunt and cousin to the Correctional center but we couldn’t do anything; I only started crying,” she narrated.
The Youth Leader of Rafin Zurfi, Dedan Dedanson, who spoke to journalists, expressed sadness over the incident saying that the road would not be open until their demand of freeing their Mai Angwa and all those arrested with him.
He said: “The Mai Angwa of Rafin Zurfi who is a staff of the Federal Polytechnic, had a little problem with one Mr. J. B. the matter was then taken to court and we heard that they have been moved to Bauchi Correctional Center. That is why the women and youths of this area came out to the road demanding that the Mai Angwa, his wife, his elder sister and one other person if not they will not open the road.”