By Lateef Adegbite
When President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Amy General, gave a matching order to Lucky Irabo, a Lt. General and Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, and the service Chiefs, to restore normalcy in the BokoHaram and The Islamic states of West African Province, ISWA P, ravaged north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and crush the Bandits and Criminal elements activities in other parts of the country, not many people took him serious.
This is because during his first term in office as Nigerian President in 2015, he had promised to crush the Criminal elements activities across the country within six months which had remained an unfulfilled dream till date.
The Katsina born Nigerian President may have known that Nigerians will hold responsible for leaving the country worse than he had met it by the time relinquishes power in 2023, that he had continued to hold regular security meeting with members of the Nigerian security Council, NSC, comprising of Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, Ibrahim Gambari, a Professor and Chief of Staff to the President, Defence minister, National Security Adviser, NSA, service and Intelligence Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, IGP, to restrategise on how to deal with the north east Insurgents and the Bandits Groups with Camps scattered all over the north west forests of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto and Niger state.
The fallout was the huge investments on military hard wares to deal decisively with the terrorists and Bandits without looking back. With the provision of arms and ammunition for the military to do their job may have informed why Farouk Yahaya, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, COAS, had said that the army will ‘’talk to the terrorists, Bandits and other Criminal elements across the country in the Language they will understand’’.
Only recently the Ngerian Air Force, NAF, aircraft under Operation Hadarin Daji, had bombarded the Bandits enclave at Gusami forest and Tsamire village, in Birni Magaji local government area of Zamfara, described as home state of the Bandits, killing two notorious Bandit Leaders, Alhaji Auta and Kachala Sani Ruga.
Residents of Communities around Birni Magaji LGA, believe that if the multiple of airstrikes by the NAF, fighter Jets, could be sustained, other hot- spot LGAs in the state and the entire north west geopolitical region would be saved from the continuous attack of the Bandits. Ibrahim Dosara, the Zamfarastate Commissioner for Information had said that there are 100 Bandits Camps scattered all over the forests in the state with 32,000 armed followers
Alhahi Auta and Ruga, who were killed in the NAF air strikes may have known that their end is imminent with the arrest of the 20-year old Sani Mati, popular, Mai Yamatama, in Bandits circles because of his skills in handling guns by the Zamfara state police Command Tactical Operatives deployed along the Zurmi LAG, under the control of the 20-year old Bandit.
While Alhaji Auta and Ruga , operates from the Gusami Camp, Mai Yatama, described as very deadly in Zurmi LGA, belong to the turji Camp under the guidance of one Kachalla Sani , who was said to have trained many young people around the Zurmi axis from his Shinkafi LGA, forest , his to follow his footsteps of kidnap, Negotiate for ramsom , kill and run into the forest and hide for Safety.
Until , Auta and Ruga, and other Leaders of the Bandits Group killed at different times by the military through air raids and by the ground troops , they believe that After that very successful Launch of attack on any Community or kidnap of a victim, and the Bandit escapes to the forest, he is ssafe and secure. Perhaps, this may have informed why Abdullahi Gandunje, governor of Kano state had urged Buhari, that the only way to effectively deal with the Islamic Fundamental Group, BokoHaram and the ISWAP, occupying the SAMBISA forest and Malan Fatori forest in the Lake Chad region, bordering Nigeria and Chad, as well as the forests in the north west states of Zamfara, Ktsina, Kduna and Sokoto is to completely takeover the forests.
The governor believes that the effective takeover of the nation’s forests would make it very difficult for the terrorists and Bandits, from the other countries of the Sahel region: Mali, Libya, Mauritania, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, to join forces with their Nigerian Collaborators to launch attack on Nigerian Communities and return to the forest with ease to plan for the next operation.
Mohammed Bazoun, President of Niger Republic, had revealed that the Bandits operating in his home country had escalated to Zamfara state and other parts of Nigeria from Madawa, Bayan Dutsi, Maradi and Gao regions.
With the continous air raids of the Zamfara arrests, arrest of Bandits and their Colaborators in different parts of the state, Elkana, the state Commissioner of Police had confirmed that 80 % of the Bandits operating in the state had relocated to Sokoto state while the 20% still operating in the state now live in fears as they stand the risk of being killed or arrested at any time.
This may have informed why the intensified attacks and killings Sokoto state Communities by the Bandits in the recent time as the pressure was no longer on Zamfara because of the improved security. Nyensom Wike, governor of Rivers state and a close political ally of Aminu Tambuwal, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and governor of the Late President Shehu Shagari home state, had paid a visit to the state to Commiserate with him, Muhammad Sa’a Abubakar, a retired Brigadier General and Sultan of Sokoto, and the people of the state over the ‘’unwarranted killing of innocent citizens by the Bandits’’.
The Rivers state governor’s Statement that ‘’the dastardly activities of the marauding Bandits in the state is barbaric’’, speaks volume. The governor may have surprised many when he said that ‘’it takes somebody with the passion and undying love for the country to play the role the Sultan has been playing to ensure the stability and unity of the nation’’.
Although the Sultan of Sokoto, according Governor Wike has been having sleepless nights talking to the Christian and Muslim Groups, north and south political leaders, to ensure that there is peace in the country, Lt.Gen.Yahaya, the COAS, may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he said that ’’the army will ‘’sustain the offensives against insecurities by terrorists and Bandits Group , across the country’’. Note that he had directed the troops to continue ‘’to kill the Criminal elements to the point of surrendering’’.
With the matching order giving to the Operation Hadin Kai and Hadarin Daji troops operating in the north east and north –west geopolitical regions respectively, to deal ruthlessly with the criminal elements to force them to surrender, the terrorists and Bandits would never forget 2021 in a hurry as thousands of them had surrendered and laid’ down their arms.
Sani Usman, a retired Brigadier General, and one-time Army spokesperson had said that ‘’the procurement of more arms for the military was a big wing in the fight against insecurity in 2021’’. He had corroborated the Nigerian President views that ‘’the net results of the huge investment on military weapons have been the number of insurgents and Bandits who have willingly surrendered to the country security Forces and have continued to surrender through various channels and the safe Corridor created for that purpose’’.
According to him with the synergy among the Armed Forces and other security Agencies,’’ over 23,000 terrorists, alone, surrendered in 2021’’, stressing that more are still surrendering as they could no longer stand the superior fire power of the military
Given the recorded achievements by the new service Chiefs in the fight against Insurgency and Banditry , across the country, over the last nine months, Yusuf Buratai, a retired Army Lt. General and former COAS, had said that the new service Chiefs who took over from them are in a very ‘’good state to continue from where they had stopped’’ , stating that despite the initial challenges that had cropped up immediately that they left office, the new service Chiefs were able ’’to find their bearing with the right synergy required to take the country out of the insecurity level we have been facing over the years’’. He believes they could achieve that much because ‘’they are not strangers to the country insecurity situation and off, course, the Armed Forces’’,