By Suleiman Umaru
After ten days of undisclosed reasons of travelling to the United Kingdom, UK, President Mugammadu Buhari, returned to the country amidst tight security at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Sunday , May 5, 2019 to face the deteriorating security challenges of the country.
The Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had
Unknown to the PDP and other critics, the President while away from the country was in constant touch with Yemi Osibanjo, the Vice President, the Service Chiefs and the Heads of other security Agencies including Abubakar Adamu, acting Inspector General of Police, who were giving him daily reports on the security situation of the country and steps been taken to curb the excesses of the Bandits.
This may have given the president the confidence to believe that the security agencies are doing their work, as it ought to be done. Many believe that even if he was in the country between April 25, 2019 and May 5, 2019, there was no much he could do as he would not go to the war front with the fighting troops as their Commander In-Chief.
Until he travelled to UK, Prime minister Theresa May’s home country , he was said to have held closed door meeting with the Service Chiefs where he empowered them to go all out after the Bandits and crush them. The pressure on the Bandits may have been much that they cashed in on the relaxed security situation in Katsina state to strike at Daura, by kidnapping the Daura Monarch . Note that the abducted Magajin Garin, was a retired Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Services, who had headed the Service Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, where he gave smugglers sleepless night. The bandits may have struck in Daura , to further embarrass the President and indeed, Nigerians.
Security sources informed The Value News that the kidnapers of the Daura District Head, have refused to make calls to make their demands in exchange for the relese of the Monarch for fear that they might be trailed. Thek idnapping of the Daura Monarch , may have informed the reason why the Heads the various security agencies have vowed that they would no longer sit by and watch the Bandits make the country ungovernable as Abubakar Sadiq, an Air Marshal and Chief of Air Staff has mobilised his men into action to prove a point that Bandits have no lever to confront the military in the battle front.
Indeed, the step taken by Sadiq, the Air Force Chief, to restore peace along the Abuja -Kaduna road which had been a nightmare to travellers over the last couple of months speaks volume. Recall some prominent individuals have been kidnapped and others killed by Bandits . Last April along the road. There was a recent report that 30 people were killed by the Bandits along the road which was, however, denied by the Kaduna state government. There was also reports that 37 people were kidnapped by the Bandits along the road and last April many several other cases of kidnapping in the area.
The President may have laid the foundation for the restoration of peace along the notorious Abuja-Kaduna road, by giving approval for the establishment of the 271 Air Force detachment in Birnin Gwari local government Area of Kauna state to be able to carry out their reconnaissance around the area to forestall the activities of the Bandits in the state.
Note that the President may have given the order to the Military High Command to do so before embarking on his private trip to UK. Note that Air Force personnel on the special duty have been alive to their duties. Their continuous bombing of the area to smoke out the Bandits in their hideouts appears to have been felt in all nooks and crannies of the state that Nasir El-Rufai, the state governor has cried out, urging Sadiq, the Air Force Chief to end the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna Highway to give a breather to the people who live in fear.
In the alernative, he was said to have pleaded with the Air Force Chief, to approve the deployment of the Ai Force Special Forces to join the Army , Police Puff Adder, launched recently, by Adamu, acting , IGP, and other security agencies , to help in policing the road .
El-Rufai, also wants the Air Force Chieftain to consider participating in the new joint security operations in the area as well as establish another Air Force detachment in the Kajuru area, where a Briton , a Nigerian were killed and three others kidnapped by unidentified gunmen recently .
Appealing to Sadiq, to deploy more of its personnel on the Abuja-Kaduna road and in Kajuru local government Area, the governor disclosed that it is only way to curtail the menace of kidnapping activities by the Bandits and other security challenges in the area.
The impact of the Air Force attacks in the Birnin Gwari area in the last few days of operations may have convinced the Kaduna state governor that the Air Force alone is capable of ridding the nation of the criminal elements in collaboration with Tukur Baratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, ground troops and Adamu’s Puff Adder team.
Sadiq, the AirForce Chief may not have caved in to the demands of the Kaduna state governor to order his officers to stop the bombing along the Abuja-Kaduna road road but was said to have told him that the establishment of the Air Force Forward Base in Birnin Gwari , was in line with the military’s mandate to protect the territorial integrity of the nation as well as providing internal security of lives and property of the citizens. This is may have dampened the enthusiasm of El-Rufai to further push for an end to the Air Force bombing of the Abuja-Kaduna road axis by the Air Force .
He has one option to take up the matter with the President who has just returned to the country from UK back to continue from where stopped in proffering solution to the security challenges of the country.
The Army may have taken advantage of the President’s return to the country on Sunday, May 5, 2019, to ban the use of motorcycles in the forest areas of the seven north-western states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa.
Sargir Musa, an Army Colonel and acting Director of Army Public Relations while giving out the reason for the ban noted that the armed bandits, criminals and kidnappers hibernate all around where troops are conducting operations alongside other security agencies. This is an indication that the motor-cycle operators may have been acting as informants to the bandits in their hideout , thus prolonging the banditry in the region.
it is not surprising why the Army Colonel has made it clear that ”anyone caught using motorcycles within the armed areas will be taken for an armed bandit, criminal and kidnapper with dire consequences”. He is optimistic the military directive will ”stop the dastardly activities of the bandits from operating across the states in the north west geo-political region”.
This is bad news for motorcycle operators in the region who may have been good money from the bandits by allegedly give out information about the Army to them to prepare in advance to confront them or find an easy escape route if in danger.
Security experts believe that the end of the end of the road have come for the bandits in the country with the ban on the use of motorcycles within forest areas of the seven north western states.