Some of the recovered jewellery
By Ibrahim Shuaibu
When a gang of robbers hatched the plan to raid the Kano home of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, located in Nassarawa Quarters, where some of his family members live, they knew they were onto something big, if they succeeded. It was a high stake operation that demanded utmost planning and attention to details and the robbers were ready to throw in everything they had to ensure a successful operation. They knew they were taking a big risk, given the status of the owners of the house and the fact that the house is within the precinct of the Nassarawa Police Division; but it was a risk worth taking as they expected to make a haul from their outing.
At about 8pm on that fateful day on December 8, 2011, the five-man robbery gang breached the property, located on Bank Road in Nassarawa area, one of the many the late maximum ruler had in Kano. The brick-painted building serves as an alternative to the family house situated on Gidado Road, Kano.
Driving a grey ‘End-of-Discussion’ Honda car, the gang gained entry into the expansive compound and accosted Hajia Zainab Abacha, one of the daughters of the late head of state, to demand money.
Since Zainab had not much money to give them, she was confused about how to handle the situation without endangering her life and those of other inhabitants of the house.
The robbers immediately arrested everybody within sight and seized their handsets to prevent them from calling to seek help.
However, like in most crime situation, they made an error of judgment: not everybody was in their custody.
Unknown to them, one of the late Abacha’s children, Al-Mustapha, was in the kitchen, eating. On discovering what was happening, he surreptitiously telephoned his elder brother, Mohammed, for help.
Although Mohammed was able to rally his bodyguards and the police to rescue his siblings, Al-Mustapha’s effort cost him dearly as he was shot near his stomach.
The police stormed the besieged house on a rescue mission in which they arrested one of the robbers, who was shot in the leg while fleeing along with others. They also seized some guns and the Honda car used for the operation, which were taken to the Bompai headquarters of the Kano State Police Command.
With the evidence in their possession and the suspect in their custody, the police launched investigation into the crime and began the manhunt for the four other members of the gang that escaped.
After nearly a year of being on the trail of the robbers, the police Wednesday celebrated their efforts at a news conference in Kano, where they announced that they had recovered jewellery worth N30 million, which the robbers took away during the December 2011 raid. The jewellery is said to belong to Abacha’s widow, Maryam.
The state Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Idris, told reporters in Kano that after thorough investigation into the case, one Lawan Mohammed was arrested from whom some exhibits were recovered, adding that the remaining four members of the gang had been arrested.
Among the items recovered from the suspects were, 42 pieces of gold ear rings, five pieces of gold rings, five pieces of gold pendants, five sets of gold jewellery and 26 pieces of golden chains, adding that the suspects after investigations would soon appear in court for prosecution.
Idris also said that the police, during a stop-and-search operation, shot two out of the five occupants of a Toyota Corolla car, with registration number NA 947 KJA.
According to him, the driver of the car had ignored the police order to stop for a search; and instead, the occupants of the car opened fire on the police. The policemen at the checkpoint fired back and in the gun duel, two of the armed robbery suspects were gunned down, while three others escaped through a bush path.
He said during a search on the vehicle, the police found one AK 47 rifle with rounds of live ammunition, two locally made revolver pistols, five cartridges and one AK 47 rifle magazine.
Idris also lamented the rising incident of rape in the state, adding that a 55-year-old man, one Ibrahim Tanko, was arrested for raping a four-year-old girl, whom he had lured to a corner and then threatened to inject her if she refused his overtures.
He said the police arrested about nine rape suspects in different parts of the Kano metropolis last month and the suspects would soon be charged to court for prosecution.
The commissioner also explained that during a raid on black spots and criminal hideouts in the metropolis, 256 suspects, who specialised in terrorising inhabitants of the area, were apprehended.
Among items recovered included; nine various types of cars, three AK 47 rifles; one Lar rifle; Makarov pistol, one FN Herstal Belgium SSS rifle; 50 rounds of assorted live ammunition, two pistols magazine and 184 parcels and 340 wraps of Indian Hemp