Banditry And  Terrorism Attacks Too many, Zulum Reopens Popular Borno Highway For Motorists

By Suleiman Umaru

In spite of the Presidential declaration that there would be peace in the restive Communities across the country  in the coming months,  the Bandits Group, operating in the north west geo-political region’s state of Zamfara, described as home of the Bandits, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and the north central state of Niger, have  continued unleash mayhem on the people.

 This is evident with the  recent attack in two Communities in Zamfara state , killing 27 people, thus making mockery of the various startegies put in place by the military and the state government to restore peace in the state.

Security reports has it that the killer gang Bandits had attacked Nasarawar Mai Fara  in Tsafe Local government area and Yr Katsina, in  Bungudu, LGA, of the state, throwing the Communities and its environs into fear as people run for their safety. Mohammed Shehu, a Superintendent of Police and Zamfara state Police Command  spokesperson who is never tired tired of issuing Statements  about the Bandits  turned terrorsits Group  killings in the north west state had said that  that seven persons were killed in Nasarawar ommunity alone while 10 were in Yar Kastina Community.

Given the close working relationship between Matawalle Bello, the Zamfara state governor and Hussaini, the state Commissioner of Police to ensure peace in nooks and cranieso f the state, may have informed  why the Police Commissioner  visited  the villages on Saturday, February, 5, 2022,  to assess the existing the security  arrangement   and to reassure the people that there was cause for alarm as the situation was under control. The visit of the top level security official in the state to two attacked by the Bandits may have restored the ‘’Confidence of the locals on the government to protect life and property in the state’’.

Unconformed report has it that the Bandits attack   On Nasarawar Mai Fara  Communty in Tsafe LGA,  may not be unconnected to the failure of the residents to pay the  N40 million   levy imposed  by the illegal Criminal elements government  in the area. But the state police Command had said that they were not aware of such levies.

Bandits Attack Of A Zamfara Community

Recall that that the Bandits Camp which are scattered all over the Zamfara state forests,  were said to have sent  letters  to nine Communities  in the north west state  to start paying levy that runs into millions of naira to them ‘’to avoid  being attacked’’. The Letters were said to have sent to Wawan Icce Salihu, Wawan Icce Ibrahim,  Gangara, Gande, Tungae Gebe, Nan Narki, Ruwan Kura and Yar Galma and several other undisclosed  Communities in other LGAs, in the state.

 in Bukkuyun local government Area of the state. The Bandi had boldly claimed to be in-charge of the rural Communities  and there residents must pay tax to them . This is the sad situation in rural Zamfara   Communities  where the rampaging  Bandits  appear to reign supreme as they could  turn their guns on the natives at any times if their financial demands are not met.  It is not surprising why the attacks which seems to have died down some few months a ago have suddenly become more pronounced in the recent time.

Bello: Governor of Zamfara State

 Recall that Rabiu, the state Commissioner of Police had said that with the tight security mounted in the state, 80 of the Bandits, operating in the state , had relocated to Sokoto ,late President Shehuu Shagari, home state  and other parts of the northwest state and Niger state while 20 are still operating in the state. Ibrahim Dosara, the  state Commissioner For Information  had revealed that that there are  over 100 Bandits Camps, operating the forest in different Local government  areas in the state , with 32  armed followers that are causing trouble in the rural Communities, meaning that there is no end in sight in sight to the Bandits attack in the state for now.

The situation in Zamfara rural  Communities may not different from what is happening  I Katsina, the Nigeria President home state.  Although, there have not been established case of the Bandits imposing levy on the villages to buy their safety,  but they have not stopped attacking the people.  Only recently, the Bandits had attacked and allegedly  killed  16 people  in Katoge  and Yanturaku Communities  in Batari local government Area, one of the most attacked  in the state  by the maruding Criminal elements. The attackers were said to have also njured 13 other persons with varying degrees  of injuries as survivours in the Communities scamper for safety.

The Bandits who are never tired of turning the guns on the defenseless Nigerians in the north west tates of Zamfara, Katsina  and  Sokot in the recent time were said to  have killed seven persons in Kaduna state Communities during their recent attack. The victims were said to be Commuters along the Ungwan Rimi- Afana road  in Zangon Kataf LGA. The armed Bandits were said to have also attacked Communite in Sabon Garin Ungwar  Dalha  Igabi LGA,  in the state with loss of lives.

May are worried  that that the Bandits are becoming too many despite the intensified  surveillance  operations  in the areas regularly exposed attacks because of lack of  presence of  presence  of security Operatives in such areas.  

While the Locals  in Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna are no longer finding it funny  staying in their homes  for fear of attack by Bandits, the situation is  more worrisome in Niger, Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former military President home state. With the repeated attack , killings  and kidnappings  ravaging the Niger state Communities  that had forced Abubakar Bello, the state governor to cry out to Lt. General Farouk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, may have encouraged him to pay an Operational  visit to Army bases the state.  

Lt. Gen. Yahaya: COAS

Angered by what he saw on ground may have forced him to read the riot Act to the Operational Commanders  ‘’to rise up  to the Challenges  and take bold steps  to tackle  the menace of Banditry, terrorism and kidnapping in the state’’.

Onyema Nwachuku, a Brigadier General and Director of Army Public Relations, had said that ‘’the tour was a continuation of  ongoing  evaluation  and review of troops’ Operations in the fight against Banditry, terrorism and  other sundry crimes  in the country’’.

   The COAS, who is under pressure from the retired Army General , to deliver on his mandate to mobilise his soldiers to crush the  Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram , the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, operating in the north east states of Borno, Yobe  and the Bandits Group in the the north west  region  including the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, operating in the south  geo-politiccal region and other Criminal elements across the country appears to be a hurry to do so ahead of the 2023, general elections.  He will not want any Operational Commander to play a spoiler’s role to his efforts in this trying times that the country is passing through a phase  which demands much from him with the Confidence reposed on him by the retired Army General.

Although , Tukur Buratai, a retired LG.General and former COAS,  and now Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic , could not do much when he occupied the office but he is optimistic that the present crop of service Chiefs are’’ equal to the task of crushing Banditry and terrorism and kidnapping activities across the country’’.

The reopening of  the 13Km, Maiduguri – Dikwa- Gamboru Ngala, road  for motorists after several years of Closure in Borno state, by Babaga Zulum, a Prfessor and the governor,  alongside the military, confirms what  Buratai, the former COAS, had said about the service Chiefs that they will deliver on their mandate of restoring peace in the restive states.

Prof. Zulum: Borno State Governor

Appreciative of the military an vigilantes , for securing the region, the has urged the road users ‘’to be  law-abiding and Cooperate  with the security agencies personnel for full return of economic activities in the area’’. Note that  that the Maiduguri-Dikwa-Gamboru Ngala, Highway  is one of  the busiest and most popular  Commercial road   linking the north eat  subregion  to the neighbouring West African countries of Niger , Chad  and the Central African country of Cameroon.

The Highway had been closed  as a result  of the several attacks  on Dikwa, Mafa and Gamboru Ngala by Insurgents crisis –crossing the Lake Chad region, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria, thus crippling economic activities I the area. The closure of the road for motorists  may have reduced the terrorists attack on Army Operational bases in Dikwa, Mafa and Gamboru-Ngala. Let u hope that the Operation Hadi –Kai, troops would be alive to their responsibility  instaed of relaxing that may give room to the BokoHaram and ISWAP, to beat their security to penetrate these Borno towns  again to launch  attack, kill and return to the forest to restrateegise and prepare for another attack. The Army Commanders in the region may have known that COAS, would not take any excuse for resumed  attack in the affected towns if they fail to checkmate the terrorists and movement on the reopened Maiduguri-Dikwa-Gamboru-Ngala road.  Many see the reopening of the busy Borno Highway as a victory for Buhari, for keeping to his promise of going to restore peace in the north east state in the coming months.   

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