OPINION: The Rebirth of Shilla Boys in Adamawa State

By Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol

Shilla boys are youths of 15 to 25 years old who engage in street larceny and have been terrorising the residents of Yola, the Adamawa state capital for years. The bad boys who specialised in snatching of items such as phones, computers, handbags, purses, money among others, usually disguised as commercial tricycle operators within the city.

The gang started its dastardly acts during the administration of former Governor, Muhammad Umar Jibrilla Bindow. The crime being committed by the Shilla boys is not only limited to snatching of properties, they also injure and/or kill their victims with the use of cutlasses, machetes, and knives.

This has posed a great threat to the freedom of movement of citizens, making it difficult for them to go about their normal businesses without the fear of being attacked by the bad boys.

Shilla criminal activities rose to its peak towards the 2019 general elections. Reports then showed that phones and other valuable items of politicians and party loyalists were snatched during campaigns. The immoral act of the criminals continued even after the inauguration of Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri in May, last year.

It could be recalled that the Governor while speaking shortly after being sworn in, promised that under his watch, security of lives and property of the citizens would be the top priority of his administration. He also gave the Shilla gangs two weeks to repent from the criminality or government would take proactive measure against them. Thus, a couple of months later, the Shilla boys suspended their vicious operations and embraced peace.

Those among the criminal gangs who thought it was an empty threat that would not stop them from terrorising the citizenry were dealt with by the law. The escaped and never to repent silently went into hibernation by hypocritically integrating into the society they derived pleasure lynching.

Consequently, Yola enjoyed what could be considered as Shilla free fresh air of peace. Little was known that the curve of free of Shilla atrocity would not to remain flattened.

After the Shilla temporary sheath of atrocity, ushered another satanic translated transformational anathema to peace; kidnappings, abductions for handsome, beyond handful ransom to reclaim freedom.

Cases of kidnappings were recorded more particularly in Yola North, Yola South and Girei Local Government Areas, in addition to Fufore and Maiha local government areas. The incidents in the three mentioned LGAs could be directly or indirectly linked to the upgraded activities of Shilla boys, as they could be capable of restrategising mode of operations.

After enjoying peace in the state capital for some months after the swearing in of the new government that exhibited its toughness on the life threatening activities of the youth without attitude for several months, the Shilla boys, decided to aggressively reboot their atrocities, hitherto in hibernation.

The experience in this month of May was aimed at embarrassing the government and the security by mounting road blocks of oppression and exploitation in the face of lockdown and never before broad daylight operations.

Reports indicated that the youth without attitude gangsters have recently launched series of serious attacks at various areas and locations such as Bauchi Street, Nassarawo near Specialist Hospital, Jimeta Modern Market axis, and Bank road all in Yola North, and Wuro Chekke, Sabon Pegi as well as GRA in Yola South among other places.

Police reports indicated that the attack that happened at Nassarawo community on Saturday, 9th May, 2020, at about 900pm, where the boys snatched phones and other valuables from an innocent citizen was said to be the most disastrous.

According to Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Suleiman Yahya Nguroje, “the Shilla boys who used to go out in a group of three or four to attack citizens were not so lucky on Saturday night. They took advantage of someone whom they followed, injured, and took away his handset. Eventually, eyewitnesses and people within the environ who saw what happened ran after the Shila boys and lynched them.”

In my opinion, the increasing number of crimes in Adamawa state such as that of the Shilla gangs, theft, kidnapping, robbery, and drug abuse, is in one way or the other related to the high rate of unemployment, hence poverty, hunger and squalor befitting for a satanic web, especially with the unequal distribution of public resources, in Marxist terms, between the haves and the exploited, the oppressed and near pseudo enslaved have nots; “an idle mind is said to be devil’s workshop, by the conclusion of Sir Edmund Burke.

Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol writes from Bayero University, Kano.

bilyaminugambokonkol­20 @ gmail. co

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