Bandits Group, Now A Terrorist Organisation As Nigerians Await Buhari’s Proscriptions Order

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 By Suleimman Umaru

The Nigerian government had be reluctant  to declare total war on  YanBindiga and Yan Ta adda, bandits group, operating in the north western states of Zamfara, Kaduna and Kasina, home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army general, over the last six years years .  Note that the bandits group have occasionally extended their operation to Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau. The recent bandits attack of a Correctional facility in Jos, Capital of Plateau state, speaks volume.

. The Katsina state born Nigerian President had been under pressure from different quarters, including the National Assembly Lawmakers to declare members of the Bandits group as  a Terrorists organisation, in order  to give the military powers to deal  decisively with them without incurring the sanction of the international Community but that was how far they could go .

 Even  Nasir el-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during  former President Olusegun Obasanjo Administration, and now governor of Kaduna , one of  the north westerns  states was said to have  sent several secret Letters , to the Katsina state born Nigerian President, informing him that  the group have a’’ destructive agenda for the country’’ and therefore, should be declared as a terrorists Organisation and proscribed, to make their activities in the country illegal.

 The governor   had said that if ‘’the armed bandits group could be declared a terrorists organization by the Nigerian government, it will give room to Lt. General Farouk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, CAS, and Olayinka Oladayo Amao, an Air Marshall and Chief of Nigerian Air Force , NAF, powers, to mobilise their men   ‘’to decimate the group  without fear of being sanctioned by the international Community’’ over Human Rights abuse.

Attorney General And Minister Of Justice

 The pressure appears to have become so pronounced that Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria , SAN, and Attorney General and minister of Justice, had sought the approval of the Nigerian President to approach the Court on the issue.  At the instance of the retired army General, the minister has headed to a Federal High  Court, in Abuja, to get the bandits group declared  as a Terrorists organisation  in order  to proscribe it.

  In the Affidavit , filed by the office of the Attorney General and minister of Justice at the Court  to support  its motion why the Bandist Group , should be declared as a Terrorist Organisation, the minister had said that  ‘’the Group  had master –minded  the several killings , abductions,  rapes and other related acts  of criminality  in the north west and north central geo-political regions’’.

 The Federal High Court  in Abuja, presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, may have given the military the Legal powers to go ahead and crush the bandits by applying the approved international standard of the Rule of Engagement that will not attract sanctions from the international  community, in to shelling  the camps and other secret hideouts of the terrorists  in the forest . The Court had declared  the  Bandits Group, as a Terrorist Oraganisation and ordered t for their proscription.

Killer Bandits In Kaduna State

 In delivering the Landmark Judgment, on Friday, November 26, 2021, Justice Taiwo, ad said   that’’ the activities of the group in different parts of the country constitutes acts of terrorism’’

Security experts  had repeatedly said  that there is no difference between the activities of the Bandits group and the north eastern states of Borno and Yobe, based , Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP. The  two Terrorists Groups , were said to  be equally  responsible for’’ the growing cases of Banditry, incessant kidnappings for ransom , kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of school children  and other citizens,  cattle rustling, enslavement, attacks and killing in Communities, forced prostitution in the north east  geo-political region. .

  Recall that it was also through the Court process that the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB,  a Separatist Group, operating, in the south east geopolitical region , founded by Nnamdi Kanu, now in  the Custody of the Department of State Security S, DSS, was declared a terrorist organisation and proscribed by the government, thus giving the military powers to take the battle to IPOBcamp, in the region.

 Many believe that Recep Tayyip Erdigan,  the Trukish President, Statement during a visit to the retired army                 General, last October that members of  the notorious  Fetullah terrorists  organistaion, FETO, in Turkey,  who are working closely  with such other groups as  the KKK,  PYDDASH, that are currently in Nigeria, and may be working with the bandits group, that may have  forced the retired General to  do  rethink on the matter and do the needful: initiate the process to  proscribe the Bandits groups. Ibrahim Dorsara, Commissioner for Information, Zamfara, described as home state of the bandits group, had said that   there are over 100 bandits group in the state with 32,000 armed followers, in the state.  

Given that the terrorist activities of the north west and north central bandits group have been exposed going by the Court judgment  may have  forced them to  come out in their true colour of operations : kill indiscriminately and plot to attack military bases in their areas of operation  like their ISWAP, counterparts are doing in  Borno and Yobe states.

 Officials of the Department of State Services, DSS, may have gotten intelligence report about their plot, with their declaration as a terrorist organisation by a Federal High Court and subsequent order, that it should be proscribed by the government because their activities are illegal may have informed the plot to attack military bases in border Communities across the country, clearly showing that the bandits group are not Nigerians but indigenes of other member countries of the SAHEL region.

Informed security sources told The Value News that the DSS Authorities have already sent signals to   all the Commanders of all the military bases in the border Communities across the country and the Customs Authorities and Area Controllers at the Land border stations, about plans by the bandits with the support of the ISWAP  insurgents  and Separatist groups, to  attack on military bases, in order to be on the alert and combat ready .

The minister may have told those that care to listen that the Court declaration of the bandits group as a terrorist Organisation is a clear indication that the Buhari Administration is out’’ to crush the group’’,,ahead of the 2023, general elections.  That the  army and other security agencies have  step up their operations in Zmfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger states and other border states, across the country ,’’ bear eloquent testimony of the present government determination  to crush the bandits’’, the minister had said.  

ISWAP Insurgents Helps Bandits Group To Build Terrorist Camp In Niger State

The declaration of the Bandits group as a terrorist organization, through the Court process may have informed why  some of  the BokoHaram and ISWAP, insurgents, in  north east states of Borno and Yobe, have relocated to  Niger, to help the group  set up a terrorists camp in the forest to enhance its attacks in the north central geopolitical region. 

 This is evident with the escalated  rate of attacks on Communities  by the bandits group  in the recent weeks in the state. Ahmed Matane, the Secretary to the Niger state government had confirmed that the terrorists have carried out  attacks  that have killed thousands  of people in the state in the recent time.

 The north east based insurgents were said to have helped the newest terrorist group  in the north to  establish  camps  in two local government Areas of the state and which are likely to spread to other local government Areas, in the state soon, at the rate at which they are going. The Niger state Secretary to the government fears that the terrorists would make a mockery of  Abubakar Sani, led All Progressive Congress, APC, governor of the state efforts to tackle the security challeneges of the state . The state government was said  to have spent overt N5 billion  to combat  the security challenges  and still spending.

With the same  strategy adopted by the late Abubakar Shekau , led BokoHaram and Al-Barnawi, his counterpart in SWAP,   to win followers, by insisting that western education is bad,  they  were said’’ to have started  indoctrinating  the residents  in Shiroro LGA, that have been con conquered  ‘’to imbibe  strict  Islamic Ideology and ban  women  from going to schools’’.

  Matane,  the Niger state Secretary to the government  may have shocked  Nigerians  when he listed some of the Communities  that have been visited by the group  and their BokoHaram and IWAP,  Collaborators, to include  Koki, Madaka, Kurebe and Chukuba, where residents  were said to have bben  assured   of their protection  but asked them ‘’ to embark  on civil disobedience and reject western education’’.

  While officials  of the Niger state government  are worried that the  bandits group , turned  terrorists, and their BokoHaram and ISWAP,  Collaborators, are out to establish  terrorist  camps in the state, the joint security operatives in Kaduna state, are getting tougher on the bandits group.

,Only recently, one Yellow Magaji,  a notorious bandits , who had led several operations in the state, particular, in  Chikun Local Government Area of the state,  was wounded , in a gun dual with the joint  security operatives but died on the way to Hospital  for medical treatment.Items that were said to have been recovered from him by the security operatives include one AK 47, rifle, loaded  with 23 rounds  of 7.62  x39mm live ammunition, 14 extended shells  of  the 7.62 x39mm  live ammunition, and a Boxer Motorcycle.

   More so, he was also said to be among a syndicate  terrorising motorists along the Kaduna and Abuja Highway that hav resulted in  the kidnapping of hundreds of people, and death of a prominent member of the ruling APC,  in the ate.  The insecurity situation on the road have become bad that the government ordered the immediate deployment of   four armoured personnel carriers, APC, and more troops on the highway  to forestall  further   attack on motorists by the bandits group.

The good news was that the Joint security operatives who had launched  attack on the on syndicate terrorising the Chikun LGA, which had resulted in the death  of Magaji, one of the bandit groups Commanders, arrested the owner of the property used used by Ba group   to carry out their attacks in the Kaduna state. 

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