Matawalle Seeks The Support Of President Bazoun Of Niger To End Banditry,NSA Speaks Out

By Lateef Adegbite

Bello Matawalle, governor of the north western geo-political region of Zamfara state appears to have realised that the military and the Force alone, may not successfully crush the Bandits Group operating in the state, which Ibrahim Dosara, the Commissioner of Information had said have 100 Camps scattered all over the state with 32,000 armed followers without the support of the government of Niger.

This is because  the security Challenges in the Maradi region of the neighbouring West African country, particular, kidnapping, cattle rustling, armed banditry, have become the lot of parts of north west geopolitical region states of  Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina, President Mohammadu Buhari, a retired Army General , home state.  The armed banditry in the Maradi region of Niger is so bad that it has escalated  to Kaduna and Kebbi, two other states in the region and Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former military President.

This may have informed why Matawalle has taken the bold initiative to meet with Bazoun, the Nigerien President, on Monday, December 13, 2021, to rub minds, on how to deal with security challenge in the Maradi region which is giving Nigeria too much trouble. The duo were said to have discussed the issues of the high level of insecurity in the Maradi region of the West African country and the north western states in Nigeria. They were said ‘’to have resolved to explore more areas of support and cooperation between the Sahel country and Zamafara state, in order to end the crisis, in no distant time.

Matawalle: Governor Of Zamfara State

Perhaps, to get President Bazoun,  the country’s service Chiefs  and Inspector General of Police , IGP, to  support the Zamfara state government efforts to solve the security challenges in the region,  Matawalle, who was said to have been accompanied to then meeting with the Niger Republic  President and security Chiefs by Sahabi Yau Daura, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Representing Zamfara  North, Suleiman Abubakar, an Engineer and member of the House, Representing  Gummi/Bukuyum Federal Constituency, Mahmoud Gummi and Umar Maradun, had made  a firm promise ‘’to support the country in the fight against the Bandits  in order to stop extending their  operations to Nigeri’’. 

 The Zamfara state governor was said to have promised to donate five brand new Hilux vehicles to the government of Niger Republic to provide special border Patrol at the Maradi region and other parts of the country which share border with Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto states. Matawalle, may have pleaded with the Nigerien President that the new vehicles when delivered should be handed over to the governor of Maradi region, who many believed is financially handicapped to procure enough patrol vehicles for the security operatives in the region to do their job.

Although,  Matawalle and other northern states governors believe that the banditry  activities in their respective states emanated from the Maradi region, Bazoun, the Niger President may have put the matter to rest at the Niamey meeting.  He had said that ‘’the problem of armed Banditry across Niger is coming from  Madawa and Bayan Dutsi but got escalated  to Nigeria  through the  Maradi region of the country.

The question on the lips of most people was that since the Nigerien government knows about this: what step has it taken  to ensure the Criminal elements from Mali, ,auritania, Burkina Faso,  Loibya and other Sahel region member countries , did not use their country as a base to distabilise Nigeria?

 Many believe that past and present President of Niger of Niger, may not have acted to stem the activities of the Bandits Group because they were looking up to for President Muammadu Buhari, to support the country with funds to get the needed weapons and Patrol vehicles for the Security agencies personnel to confront the Bandits who were armed to the tooth.  The Niger President may have spoken his mind at the meeting with the Zamfara state governor and his entourage when he declared that   with ‘’the support provided to the Nigerien government by the Zamfara state governor, the issue will be a thing of the past’’.

As a prelude to ensuring that the members of the Bandits Group are checkmated in Niger, the Bazoun was said to have requested  the governors in the regional governors   ‘’to implement  a total ban  on the importation of motorcycles into Nigeri’’a. Note that virtually all the transit motorcycles meant for Niger, imported through the  Autonomous port of Benin, Cotonou and Bollore port, for the land-locked country , develop wings on the road as it ended up in the Nigerian market  and ultimately  in the hands of the Bandits.

The Zamfara state governor may have taken advantage of the Niamey meeting with President Bazoun and his security Chiefs, to open up   on the peace initiates and re-conciliatory process that had been undertaken by his government. These includes providing intelligence to security agents on how best ‘’to trace those who provide information to the armed Bandits and their Collaborators’’.

Nigerian Troops In Zamfara State, Giving The Bandits Tougher Time As Many Relocate To Maradi region In Niger Republic

He may have gladdened the heart of the Nigerien President and his service Chiefs and the IGP, when he disclosed   that the state  government  had mounted  Close Circuit Television, CCTV,  Cameras at strategic Locations in Gusau , the Capital, that will monitor  the activities  and movements of people  with the aim of tracking  and tracing  the criminal hideouts and their nefarious activities.

Given the importance attached to the meeting, may have informed why the Nigerien President had requested the Zamfara governor to make a case for a regular security meeting between Bashir Salihi Magashi, a retired Major General  and the Nigerien service Chiefs, IGP, governors  of Maradi . The Nigerien President had suggested that governors of Zamfara, Sokoto , and Katsina, should also be part of the meeting  in a bid  ‘’to end  the lingering  security challenges facing the two countries ’’.The good news was that President Bazoun, who has given his word’’to support  Zamfara sate government in the fight against insecurity’’.

While Governor Matawalle, is looking beyond Nigeria, to resolve the security Challenges in his home state ,Zamfara,  Usman Alkali Baba, Nigeria IGP,  had described 2021,  as a very challenging  owing ‘’to threats  to internal security  by the activities  of the Bandits Group  in the north west states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina , Kduna and the north central state of Niger.

 The IGP , may  have  alluded also to the threats of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, whose Leader , Nnamdi Kanu , is still in the Department of State Service, DSS, Custody and other secessionist groups ,  and Criminal elements and kidnapping syndicates ,across the country.

Already, the IGP, has concluded arrangements for the Launch of brand new Operational vehicles  in 2022 to boost  the Force performance  ‘’to tackle the challenge  of insecurity  while recruitment  of 10,000 police Constables is being worked on’’.

Maj.Gen. Munguno ,rtd: NSA Exposes Three Islamic Groups Of Supporting Terrorism And Banditry In The Sahel Region

In a related development  Babagana Munguno, a retired Army Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA, has exposed Jamaat Naral-Islam Wal Muslimin, JNIM, the Islamic and Muslim Support Group, GSIM, and Islamic State In Greater Sahara, ISGS, as the three groups supporting terrorists  Organisations in the Sahel region.

The NSA, made the disclosure on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at the 14 Workshop of the League of Ulamas, Preachers and Imams of Sahel countries at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. He had said that ‘’ terrorism and the rapid escalation   of the violent activities  by the militant Islamist groups  in the region  since 2016 have been primarily  driven  by the  ISGS which mainly  operates in  Mali and extends to the Niger Republic and Burkina Faso’’.

According to him, the terrorist groups activities in the Sahel region are further bolstered by JNIM and GSIM, stressing that the groups have continued ‘’to pose an imminent threat to the stability of the regon’’.  The retired Army Major General further said that the possibility of the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, one of the terrorist groups operating in the north east part of the Nigeria creating an established Caliphate to rival the Lake Chad Basin Commission LCBC,   countries, which includes Nigeria, has been checkmated by series of concerted and reinvigorated efforts of the member countries of the Sahel region.

Given an insider information on how the terrorist groups was were checkmated,   he asserted that’’ the use of both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches by the LCBC countries to stem the conflict had played a major  role. Appealing to the Ulamas, Preachers and community Leaders to support  the  efforts of the military and other security agencies personnel in the  fight agaainst the terrorists in different parts of the country, he reiterated that ‘’it is the only way  to end the menace in the region’’.

He noted that ‘’just as collaborations between  governments  are boosting  the advance  of the military and the Force  in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and other parts of the Sahel region, ,’’ alliance  and group efforts  like OPIS should be the backbone  to rebuilding the terrorism – infested Communities in the north east and north west geo-political regions’’

. He stated that ‘’there is no gun more powerful than enlightenment and education at the grassroots level’’. The Ulamas, Preachers and Community Leaders, may have taken the message home that they were said to have started the enlightenment and education of the people in their service immediately to withdraw support for the Islamic Fundamentalist Group ,BokoHaram and ISWAP, including the Bandits Groups.

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