When I first read the story on DAILY NIGERIAN website about nine Kano kids rescued by Operation Puff Adder of the Nigeria Police Force who were abducted from Kano, trafficked and converted to Christianity in Onitsha, I was bemused.
Had this happened in the southern part of the country, the southern press would take a month or more hyping and twisting the narrative to set agenda for their region and religion.
But it’s not surprising when one reflects back at the operation of the Nigerian press and how they were under reporting a section of the country that differs with their faith and culture despite Nigeria being one.
The case of Yunusa Yellow has hit the cover of a number of southern print media. The Sun newspapers had to follow the story up to the house of the Orurus and interviewed her on how Yunusa Yellow took her to Kano.
Yunusa Yellow was said to have converted Ese, a native of Bayelsa State, to Islam and married her, in early 2016. The story went like a wildfire for days, portraying Muslims, Islam and Northerns as paedophiles, savages and whatnot?
The North and Muslims are yet to wake up and know the importance of establishing media houses to protect the interest of their people as media hype has changed societies for good or bad.
I was puzzled to come to terms with how the media concentrated in the south under reported the case of Kano 9 children, even though it was Kano state police command that arrested the suspects and paraded them before journalists. It’s not a kangaroo security agency that apprehended the suspects.
If it is their kith and kin, and it happens to be the opposite, yesterday’s and today’s headlines will look this way: Bayelsa 9: Kano government to be taken to court; Bayelsa 9: Islamisation agenda or; Christian kids forced to accept Islam.
While the Ese Oruru ‘abduction’ saga raged, the southern media both print and electronic inclusive went agog with headlines that scared the reader. Even objective readers have to bow down to the fictitious part of the stories they peddled till Yunusa Yellow was taken to a court in Bayelsa State.
For years there was outcry from different parts of Kano on the reported cases of missing children, areas that have become notorious with regards to the problem was Hotoro and other settlements like Yankaba, Sauna Kawaji and Dakata all in Kano metropolis.
Even last month or so, an Igbo man was caught at Sabon Gari luxurious Bus station which is owned by Igbos with a boy that was missing and was about to be taken to the South East for the same mission.
We must say kudos to the Nigeria Police Force under Operation Puff Adder for tracking the criminals and parading them at Kano Police Command headquarters.
The police have done their own part by tracking and arresting them.
Daily Nigerian broke the real happenings about the selling of Muslims kids while papers who have been looking for headlines critical of Muslims and the North reluctantly carried the story with benign headlines that concealed the fact of the matter.
Kano government should sit up to protect its citizens by devising ways of securing the neighbourhoods and bus terminals.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has to tell us the measures they are taking to forestall future recurrence.
Muslims Rights Concern, Jama’atu Nasir Islam JNI, and other Muslim bodies must speak out or issue strong-worded statements against this calamity. Your silence is not golden!
Mr Yusuf can be reached through [email protected]