Chilly details of how son killed SSS director, mum & siblings

2010-09-19
THE SUN Newspaper- Desmond Mgboh

Last Monday morning, an unprecedented act of horror shook the ancient city of Kano to its foundation. While they slept in the night, several members of one family resident at 173 Federal Government Housing Estate, Gandu, Zoo Road in Kano were slaughtered to death with knives and machetes.

At dawn, it was discovered that a Sokoto-based Assistant Director of the State Security Service (SSS), Alhaji Garba Bello Hadejia, was one of the victims alongside his wife, Hajia Habiba Bello, and his three children - Khalifa (17), Hafsat (19) and Murijatu (six).

The chilly tragedy instantly brought to a tragic end the Sallah celebrations, which held the previous weekend. The streets of Kano suddenly became deserted as the heavy traffic of persons simply disappeared. In its place, a fear of the unknown enveloped the state within a few minutes of the sad news.
Early callers at their home met the slaughtered corpses of the deceased. Each of them had several deep cuts on parts of their bodies. The compound itself was soaked with their blood, which was splashed on different parts of the rooms.

Neighbors and other nearby Islamic brothers who had woken up to pray that morning were the first to encounter the bizarre spectacle. And because Alhaji Hadejia usually prayed with them in the same mosque, they were inconsolable as some of them cried like babies while others were speechless.
The police made a speedy arrival, but their briskness was of no use as the evil was already done. They too met an horror of unspeakable magnitude, and they quickly called the attention of the state headquarters of the command. Soon too, the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police was put on notice.
As a first step, the police took charge of the survivors and rushed them to the hospital for immediate medical attention. Baba, the older of the two, was soon discharged, but Farouk, the younger one, was admitted because he had knife cuts. And the tragic drama continued.

For the deceased, their last moments could not have been anything but funny. They must have died through a nightmare.
The deceased’s elder sister, Hajia Jumai Danjani, captured the horror when she spoke to Sunday Sun. She said the deceased phoned her about 1.40pm, screaming that they were being killed.
“But I was trying to ask her who? who? And suddenly I didn’t hear anything again. I was only hearing commotion from where she was and she (her sister) was saying, ‘That is enough, that is enough.’ But she was obviously not talking to me. And then, maybe, they snatched the phone or some thing because the line went dead. I tried her phone twice but she did not pick.”

She explained that they were not allowed to see the mutilated bodies and shook her head in tears, saying, “it was an experience one cannot share with anyone. This is a very, very bad experience.”

THE THEORIES
But what could be the motive of the crime? Some, at first, felt it was a case of robbery that resulted into an orgy. But when the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Gana, visited the scene, he immediately concluded that it was not a robbery case. He simply stated that it was assassination.
His words: “This is a clear case of assassination. We have checked the whole house and nothing was removed there. Preliminary investigation indicated that it was not a robbery case.”

But the puzzle of that night remained unresolved. The situation was not helped by the fact that neighbors had little to offer in terms of how such a huge operation could have happened without so much noise. Many of them said so little to the detectives. Some of them, who volunteered to speak, maintained that they did not hear much noise.
Another puzzle was that by some stroke of luck, two of the deceased’s children -Farouk Bello and Baba Isa Bello Garba -escaped the onslaught, although the younger of the two was believed to have suffered more harm.
The speculating arising therefrom was that some of the victims might have made attempts to raise alarm while their father was being killed or, perhaps, some members of the gang perceived that they had been recognized by their unlucky host.

But, perhaps, the most difficult question to answer was the motive of the crime. Neighbors held that the deceased was neither a politician nor a wealthy man. “He was just an ordinary folk and a sick man. It makes no sense to attack and kill such a man,” they stressed.
It could be that as a staff of the SSS, he may have stepped on dangerous interests in the course of his duty. But here too his colleagues noted that he was not an operational staff but rather was in the Medical Department.
But of all the permutations, the fear that it may have been another round of the Boko Haram revolution rocking the North held on for a while. This was reinforced by the fact that a few days ago, the killer sect attacked the Bauchi prison and released several inmates including their members.

WHAT THE POLICE DID
The police in Kano as well as their counterpart in the SSS raised a joint panel of detectives to investigate the circumstances surrounding the murder.
The SSS was to provide investigators a conducive atmosphere for the assignment without the interference of the public, whose curiosity had risen to the heights since the outbreak of the tragedy.

In the light of this, a few detectives from the Bompai headquarters of the police command led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police joined their SSS counterparts at their Giginyu headquarters to unravel the mystery behind the bizarre murder.
Several persons have been interviewed including some close relatives. The detectives also undertook several visits to the scene of the crime, exploring several options including interviewing the survivors, especially as they were the only witnesses to the horror.

THE KILLER’S CONFESSION
In the view of many, this was one masked murder case that was going to task the intelligence of the police and probably defy their investigating skill and competence. But the case turned out to be the exact opposite as it was resolved in barely 48 hours. Or so it seems.
Sources said that in no time, the puzzles began to fall into place as indications pointed to the eldest son of the family. By the next day, an Assistant Commissioner of Police and head of the Criminal Investigation Department in the state command, Zanna Mohammed Ibrahim, not only ordered his arrest, but personally led the operation. The suspect first made his confession at the SSS office in passable English.

Later that Wednesday, the police paraded the suspect. In the office of the Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Gana, 21-year-old Bello, who was born in Kano on July 29, 1989, told journalists that he decided to kill the others after discovering his father had died.
The suspect, who described the death of his father as unbearable to him, noted that it automatically transferred the burden of catering for the entire family on him.
He insisted that he alone and no other person committed the act, disclosing that his weapons were the two knives he took from their family kitchen.
He could remember whether his clothes were stained with blood or not on that night, but admitted that he left the family compound after he committed the act.

He said the first person he stabbed was his brother, Khalifa, and then his sister, who he stabbed next.
The younger Bello went on: “Then my mother ran to the room and phoned somebody (that) I attacked my father. My two sisters heard the scream and came out (and) I attacked them too. But I struggled with Hafsat”.
“When I was about to stab myself, I heard Farouk crying in the toilet. Whatever took over my mind subsided at the time. I ran to the stairs calling for help.”
After the act was done, he moved to Farouk and ordered him to tell no one what had happened.
The first person he called, according to him, was their former houseboy, Ishaya, who he said pleaded that he couldn’t come out because his doors were jammed.
Subsequently, he crossed over to the other gate, where he called a neighbor called Garzali, adding that he told them that they were people inside their compound who tried to kill all of them.
He said that the neighbor and his family held him on in their compound until past five in the morning when the bodies were discovered.

CROSSFIRE
While the police may be celebrating the cracking of the puzzle within record time, the affected family appears be unimpressed. Spokesmen of the bereaved family, Alhaji Umar Danjani Hadejia, disagreed with the findings of the police, especially its claim that the suspect alone murdered the entire members of his family.
Alhaji Hadejia, who spoke to journalists on Wednesday, insisted it was not possible for one person to carry out the dastardly act all alone and supported their position with the account of the other surviving son.

They said that the young boy recalled sighting somebody named “Aminu” who wore a white singlet and a short inside their house while the killings lasted just as Hadejia complemented his claim with the views of neighbors, who said they heard noise of whistles outside the compound during the attack.
The family insisted that the police and SSS carry out investigation and not accept the suspect’s claim that he did alone.
By Thursday, the family was singing a different tune, claiming that the investigators forced the suspect to confess to the killing. According to their spokesman, the boy told a family member, who had a one-hour session with him, that he made the confession under duress in order to get the security to stop mishandling him.

REACTIONS
The affected family hailed from in Hadejia, Jigawa State but had been resident in Kano long before the father was posted to Sokoto State. It was equally revealed that the head of the family had been ill and was, in fact, referred to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano for medical attention.
Mrs Bello’s elder sister, Hajia Jumai Danjani, told Sunday Sun: “My sister Habiba was a special person. Anybody you ask about Habiba will tell you she was very friendly, very jovial and indeed a wonderful sister. We will surely miss her.”

Speaking on her deceased in-law, she said: “The man was sick, that is why they came from Sokoto. They came to see the doctor. And the man, if you ask the SSS people he worked with, every one of them is saying how good he was. Everyone knows he was very religious.”
In his reaction, President General, Igbo Community Association in Kano, Comrade Leonard Nwosu said: “Honestly, this is a very sad news in the sense that a child could slay his own parents and siblings without an evident reason. It is sad news that somebody created by God will take away the life he did not create. We the Igbos in state condemn this incident in very strong terms and we are urging parents to train their children in the proper way. If you allow your child to take actions that are not in order, to move around with the wrong crowd, doing things that are not in order, then somebody is bound to pay for it.

“We heard the boy is into drugs and he woke up one day and cleared his parents; it is so bad. I am tasking the NDLEA to get up and do its job. Since Kano has been pointed as a drug point, it should not hesitate to take the bull by the horns. The effect of drugs is very dangerous.”
Alhaji Salisu Barau, a lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Kano, described the incident as “something unspeakable, so disastrous and painful. It is something very unfortunate and something that could imagine or come across only in a nightmare”
“One cannot say what may be responsible for the action but I think the boy might have some psychiatric instability.

Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, however said “the callous and most atrocious murder of an SSS officer along with four members of his family raises question about staff welfare and the issue of security by the government. A sick officer of the rank of an Assistant Director of SSS should not have been abandoned at home. The authorities ought to have taken him to hospital for treatment.
That apart, an officer of the rank of an Assistant Director is supposed to have personal staff, including an orderly, and the orderly is supposed to attend to the officer even on his sick bed. An Assistant Director is entitled to a guard. By this neglect, the SSS facilitated his gruesome murder.”



 

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