Victims Of Phone Snatching In Kano Share Experiences

The snatching of phones and other valuables appears to be one of the most predominant crimes in Kano, causing many residents to be afraid to walk freely especially at night.

It has also been a source of concern for the state police command, which organised a security sensitisation workshop for mobile handset marketers on November 12. The police commissioner, Habu Ahmad Sani, had charged the participants to utilise the knowledge gained in safeguarding their private properties, lives, and businesses.

Some of the areas within Kano where phone snatchers have been on the prowl include Jambulo, Sharada, Tudun Maliki, Zoo Road, Kano Municipal, and Sabon Gari.

Residents of Jambulo lament that their community has also been plagued by burglary and armed robbery. Some of them told HumAngle that the situation was getting out of hand.

Bilal Nasidi Mu’azu, a resident of Janbulo Quarters, Gwale Local Government Area, and a journalist with Freedom Radio, narrated his phone-snatching experience.

“It was around 11:30 pm at Third Gate, Jambulo, when I visited a patient at UMC Hospital. On my way back home, a gang stopped me and asked for directions to Kuntau Quarters,” he said.

“I explained to them. But two out of the three guys remained in the commercial car, threatened me with a jack knife, and collected my phone and money.”

Mu’azu added that when the car zoomed off, he could hear a scream from someone inside. He concluded that another victim might have been stabbed by the robbers.

Recently too, 33-year-old Sani Abubakar, a guard at Sharada Quarters, Kwanar Ganduje, was at his duty post around 9:00 pm when two young men approached him.

“I continued pressing my phone, and so did not notice when one of them snatched the device and ran away while the other tried stabbing me with a cutlass,” he said. “I grabbed him but he tactically rescued himself and escaped.”

Speaking to this reporter, Mustapha Garba ‘Kalala’, a resident of Tudun Maliki, also narrated his encounter with the men of the underworld. Last October, he was returning from Premier Hospital and making a phone call at about 11 pm when he caught a glimpse of two men walking towards him.

“They separated, stood opposite each other, and waited for me to end my call,” he said.

“Immediately after the call, they requested for my phone, and I refused to offer it. They pointed a sharp knife at me and forcefully collected my Samsung Galaxy phone, earpiece, and N3,000. They threatened to injure me if I raised any alarm. After their operation, they slapped me and found their way.”

Sani Lawal Malumfashi, a Professor at the Department of Sociology, Bayero University Kano, said phones and computers are extremely important tools in participating in the “information society” but many of the criminals lack the resources to get them, being out of employment.

“The second reason why cell phone snatching is rampant in Kano is poverty. Also, when they snatch, they can easily market the items,” he explained.

According to Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, in reaction to the trend, the command has gathered both human and technical resources to carry out intelligence-led operations to deal with the menace. He said 67 suspects have recently been arrested from the various criminal syndicates as a result.

The Commissioner of Police partly credited the feat to their collaboration with handset marketers in identifying thugs who specialised in selling stolen phones. He additionally urged marketers against buying phones suspected to have been stolen.

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