Insecurity: Bandits Getting To Their Last Bus Stop As Matawalle Traces The Root
By Suleiman Umaru
Worried by the continued desecration of the Traditional Institution in the north west geopolitical region and other parts of the country, by armed Bandits, President Muhammadu Buhari a retired Army General, appears set to decisively with the criminal elements and their Collaborators.
The recent abduction of oGyet Maude, the 83 year-old Emir of Jabba, a First Class, Traditional Ruler, in Kaduna state, while on his farm, located in Gitata Community of by 200 armed Bandits, from the neighbouring in north central state of Nasarawa, may have encouraged Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during Olusegun Obasanjo Presidency and now governor of the north west state to cry out to the Katsina state born Nigerian President for help to stop the assault. Hassan Adamu, the 85 year-old Emir of Kajuru, was the first to be kidnapped by 200 armed Bandits early this July but later released when the security Operatives were closing in on them.
The abduction of maude, the Emir of Jabba, was Bandit o have occurred less than 24 hours after Adamu, the Emir of Kajuru, regained his freedom but without the 13 members of his family , who are still in the Bandits Custody in their hideout. The attack on the Traditional Institution in Kaduna state in the recent time clearly shows that the Bandits has now targeted the Emirs in the Kaduna state as a way to force, El-Rufai, the state governor, who has vowed never’’ to Negotiate with the Criminals to release those Kidnapped persons, with the payment of ransom to do a rethink. However, they may have gotten it wrong as the governor still stands on his position.
He may have sent a signal to the Bandits that there is no room for Negotiation to facilitate the release of the abducted Emir as he is currently with Abdullahi Sule, an Engineer and his Counterpart in Nasarawa state and the security Chiefs in the two states to rescue the Emir, who is spending his third s day , in the Custody of the Bandits.
The aggrieved Kaduna state governor who is still talking tough has assured the people of the Jabba Chiefdom that the government of the two states ‘’will do everything possible to ensure the speedy rescue of the First Class Traditional Ruler considering his age and fragile health’’.
While the people of Jabba Chiefdom are crying over the abdution of their Emir, another Bandits gang struck along the Skoto-Gusau Highway, described as one of the busiest road in the north and kidnapped 60 travellers and three buses on allegedly belonging to the Sokoto State Transport Authority, SSTA, an indications that they are now fighting the battle of survival as they have reached their last bus stop .
Note that the situation in Kaduna state is not different from what is happening in the north east states of Borno and Yobe where the late Abubakar Shekau, led BokoKaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, Insurgents, who could no longer stand the soldiers in an open confrontation and thei agents have resorted to disguise themselves in the Cities and towns in the two north east states in order to Kidnap soldiers. This is evident with the, kidnap of two soldiers in Maiduguri, Capital of Borno state and some others in Yobe state, on Monday, July 26, 2021.
Bello Matawalle, a former People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governor of Zamfara, state, who has decamped to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, at the Promptings of the Katsina state born Nigerian President, may have given an insight why ’ Banditry and kidnapping was on the escalation in Zamfara and other states in the north west, blaming that it is due to ”the unresolved lingering conflict between herdsmen and farmers by past administrations ’’.
The governor had said that ‘’ the situation was made worse by’’ the failure of some states in the region not to enter into dialogue with the Bandits’’ He may have alluded to El-Rufai, and Aminu Masari, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and governor of Katsina state.
He was said to have also revealed that’’ the killing of a prominent Fulani Leader in Dansadau’’, Maru Local government Area of the state, contributed in no small measure to the escalation of the crisis in the region. Given an insider information he disclosed that ‘’the followers of the slainned Fulani Leader in Zamfara, his home state, Kebbi and Sokoto states, whowere aggrieved,took advantage of it and started attacking the perceived killers of their Leader to avenge his death.
According to him the uncontrolled attacks and killings of their acclaimed Leader led ’to hostilities between the Fulani and Housa Communities, with each group killing one another’’, meaning that Banditry in the north west was a fallout of Conflict between Fulanis and the Housas. Ibrahim Dosara, the Zamfara state Commissioner for Information, may have spoken the mind of the Matawalle, the state governor, when he said that the crisis in the region had lingered on for years due ‘’to the weakening of the Traditional Institution and the Judiciary in resolving the problem or prosecuting offenders’’.
The Commissioner had said that that there are over 100 Camps in the state with over 30,000 Bandits scattered all over the Camps. The most notorious of the Camps, according to informd sources is the Camp in the boundary between Zamfara, described as the home state of the Bandits and Kaduna state. The fallout is the incessant attack and Kidnap incidents in Zamfara and Kaduna, over the last six years.
He may have indicted past and present Comptroller Generals of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, over their inability to mobilise their officers and men to effectively patrol the borders with the neighbouring West African countries of Niger, TChad and the Central African country of Cameroon including Mali and Libya, home country of late President Mummar Quadafi, which was said to have resulted in the proliferation of arms in the region.
The Nigerian President may have alluded to this when he recently remarked that ‘’only God can effective patrol the numerous borders between Nigerian and Nigeria. Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired Army General and a one –time Head of State , had at one time said that there are over six millions in circulation in Nigeria, with most of it in the north west region.
Despite the reasons that had been given by Governor Matawalle to be the root cause of the high level insecurity in the north east and north west, which had spread to other parts of the country, the governors elected on the Platform of the Opposition PDP, would want the retired Army General otreating the armed Bandits and the Insurgents with kid gloves. The PDP governors had said that the only language the Bandits, insurgents and other Criminal gangs in the different parts of the country understands is brute force to crush them.
They were said to have made it clear to the Nigerian Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces that ‘’it is time to bring the activities of the Bandits, kidnappers and terrorists to an end, through increased use of military hardware and use of Special Mission aircrafts for Surveillance’’.
Appealing to the ruling APC, to stop seeing Banditry as a business venture, the PDP , insists that what Buhari needed now to be able to crush the Criminal elements is ‘’the political will to do it’’.
They maintained that ‘’Banditry, Terrorism and Kidnapping was not business ventures as claimed by the ruling APC, Chieftains but heinous state crimes, that is destroying the nation’s economy, educational and social future of the Youths, thus causing significant social upheavals in the society’’.
Aware that the high level of insecurity in the country would be used as a Campaign issue in the February 18, 2023, general elections which just is around the corner may have informed why the Nigerian President and his security Chiefs are working round the clock to restore peace in the country. It is not surmising why he is doing within his powers to ensure provision of more fighting equipment for the Military and improved funding to give the troops Confidence and hope that the government cares for them.
This may have informed why he has presented to the National Assembly the 2021, Supplementary Budget of N895,842,465,917 for approval. In his separate letters to Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives , he had said that the Supplementary Budget would be used ‘’to fund the procurement of military hardware to sustain the tempo of the insurgency war in the north east geo-political region and equally flush out the Bandits operating in the north west states of Zamfara, Kaduna , Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and the north central state of Niger, home sate of retired General Ibrahim BABANGIDA,a Jackboot Military President.
Fears are being expressed in several quarters that the N895,842,465,917, requested by the Nigerian President to fund the procurement of fighting weapons may be abused. This is because of what happened to the $ 1 billion arms Fund, which could not be accounted for till date as the military continue to cry of dearth of modern fighting equipment to fight the insurgents and Bandits who are using sophisticated weapons.
Nigerians may have taken Buhari by his word, going by the procurement of twelve North American Country of the United tates, US, A2-29 super Tucano fighter Jets, which Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had said the government had Paid $406 million as the initial $329 million which the US, Defence Department had Negotiated with the Sierra Nevada, which built the planes.
Until Donald Trump, the former US, President lost the country’s November 2020, Presidential election to Joe Biden, of the Democratic Party, he was said to have told the officials of A-29 superTucano Jet fighters Construction for Nigeria and the Defence Department that awarded the Contract that the cost should not exceed $344 million but that was how far he could go. The Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, may have shoot up the cost of Construction of the Twelve Fighter Jets by the US Company. Already six of the US Super Tucano Jet Fighters have been delivered while the remaining six will be delivered next August.
Even when the US, Fighter Jets have not been deployed for operation, the Military, on the orders of the Nigerian President have intensified efforts to restore sanity in the country ahead of the February 18, 2023, general elections. The recent operation of troops of Operation Hadarin Daji in Zamfara state, which was said to have resulted in the arrest of 19 suspected Collaborators of the Bandits in Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of the state speaks volume. It have sent a message to the Bandits that the end of the road is just around the corner. Some of the arrested suspected Collaborators of the Bandits were said to be logistics suppliers.
Indeed, there have been jubilation in the streets major towns and streets of Gusau, the Zamfara state, Capital and other major towns in the state over the arrest of the suspects who had been described by the people as ‘’well- known to them, ‘quiet, gentle and unassuming in their conduct that security operatives could hardly suspect them of getting involved in such dangerous enterprise’’. Maru Local Goverment Area in Zamfara state has remained one of the hostpot for the Bandits attacks and Kidnapping in the north west state, with’ the instance of the Collaborators for payment of ransom.
Many believe that the arrest of the suspects became possible because of the intensified raid of the Bandits Camp in the state by Isiaka Olayo Amao, an Air Marshall and Chief of Air Staff, CAS, fighter Jets in the last one month and the manhunt for the Civilian Collaborators.