How Banditry Returned To Zamfara State In Full Force After Six Months Of Under Cover Operations

By Suleiman Umaru

 When Bello Matawalle, governor of the north western state geo-political region of Zamfara state reuested Isah Ibrahim Patami, minister of Communication and Digital Economy and Umar Isah Dmbata, Chairman, National Communication Commission, NCC, to order the Teleecommunication Companies to withdraw their services in 14 Local government Areas in the state described as home of the Bandits and it was granted, many have expected to stand by it. Matawalle may have allowed himself to be convinced by Political Associates to reconsider the restoration of the telecommunication services in the state last September.

It was not surprising that on November 27, 2021, the governor ordered the restoration of the telecommunication networks, for a start in Gusau, the state Capital, preparatory to extending the services to the remaining 13 Local government Areas still without telephone facilities ostensibly meant to weaken the Bandits Group in the Areas.

Matawalle: Governor, Zamfara State

 True to his promise, the governor had restored the telecommunication facilities in Gusau, in October 1, 2021, forcing the Bandits to restrategise on how to carry out their operations in the state without fear of the security operatives that they might be killed effortless .The restoration of the telephone Communication facilities in Gusau, described as a home for everybody in the state, including the Bandits, who live under cover, appears to have opened a new Chapter for the Bandits Group, which Ibrahim Dossara, the state Commissioner for Information  had said have 100 Camps scattered all over the forests in the state with over 32,000 armed followers . 

Mohammed Bazoum, President of Niger, had said the Bandits  that the Bandits  had entered into the country    from Madawa and Bayan Dutsi regions  of the country  forests but escalated  to Zamfara and other  parts of the north western region  through the forests  in Maradi and Gao  regions.

 The restoration of the Telecommunication  facilitities in Gusau, even when it has not been extended to Bungudu and other hot spots Local Government Areas in the state, have exposed the state to the Bandits for attacks  as they could easily communicate in the forests to plan and execute their ataacks.  The recent attack  on Gada  in Bungudu, LGA, of the state,  where the armed men had killed  Umara Bawan –Allah, the Community District Head  and his two sons, speaks volume.

Bandits Attack In Gada, Community Of Zamfara State, A Major Tragedy As The District Head And His Two Sons Were Killed And Several Other People Abducted

Dosara, the Commissioner for Information had said that apart from the killings in the Gada Community which was very devastating,  they also razed down  the house  of the District Head, sending a message to the people that they have returned in full force to the state to do what they knw best: attack, kidnap and kill.   The fear being expressed in different quarters in the state is  the Bandits who have have their informants scattered  all over the state would take advantage of the restoration of the telephone facilities in Gusau to give out information to the Criminal elements on how to plan their ayttacks. Note that Gada Community is just about seven Kilometers from the Bungudu town, the Headquarters of the Bungudu LGA, meaning that could come under attack of the Bandits Group, at any time.

The Bandits Group fighters had some Communities in Gusau LGA, ON Sunday, December 26, 2021. The Communities attacked by the Bandits, according to informed security sources included Geba, Tsakuwa, Gidan Kada, Gidan Kaura, among other villages. They were said to have invaded the villages on motorcycles. This may have informed why president Bazoum of Niger, had requested the regional governors to implement the total ban on the importation of motorcycles into Nigeria. It is instructive to note that virtually all the transit cargoes including motorcycles , meant for the land locked country , imported through the  Autonomous port of Benin Republic and Bollore port, end up in Katsina, Daura, Kano, Sokoto and other major towns in the north western geopolitical region.

The Bandits  may have heaved a sigh of relief  when information filtered out about plan by Matawalle, the state governor to  restore of telecommunication  services in Gusau , the Zamfara state Capital as they have sent signal to the security operatives in the state to be ready for them  as they had attacked  some Communities in Shinkafi, another hot spot, LGA, for Banditry in the state killing 20 people.  Many had expected the Zamfara state governor not to be a hurry to made do his words of restoring telecommunication f services in the state but still watch the security situation.

Although, he may have  been encouraged to go ahead with the restoration of the telecommunication services  with the arrest ofno fewer than than 2,000 suspected Bandit informants in the state.  Dosara, the state Commissioner for Information had said that that those who could not bear the heat from the security operatives in the state had fled to other states and Niger Republic.  He noted that those who could not escape from their hideout in the forests  or move freely for fear of playing into the hands of the Force or the military  are being starved  or forced to feed on raw 1food following the government’s sanction.

 Security sources believe that the Bandits that the Bandits Group fighters could not have the opportunity of regrouping to Launch attacks in the state in the recent time  with impunity both not for the decision of the Zamfara  state government to restore telecommunication facilities in Gusau, the state Capital and its environs.

 Recall that Abdullahi Gandunje, the governor of Kano, home state of Late Aminu Kano, had said that the only  way for the  Force and the military to effectively contain the activities of the Bandits Group, terrorists and other Criminal elements across the country is for the Federal government to take over the nation’s forests, and set up an Institution to manage it   to prevent cross-border movements.   The Katsina born Nigerian President may be thinking along the same line going by his advice to the security Chiefs.

Nigerian Military Drones, Rtd Col. Labo Said Should Be Deployed To Fight Bandits, Terrorists And Other Criminal Elements Across The Country

But Hassan Stan –Labo,  a retired Army Colonel and former Intelligence Officer  has advised the government  to deploy the country drones  in the fight  against the Bandits, terorrists and other criminal elements across the country. Appearing on Channels Television sunrise daily programme ,  recently,    the Army colonel lamented that the Nigeria government is not taking advantage of its superior technology to that of  the Criminal elements  killing  effortlessly in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Borno and Yobe  to decisively with them  once and for all. He maintaind that technology  is not playing  the needed role in the north west and north east geopolitical regions to crush the  Bandits Group and the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP in their forests hide out.  

He had said that if the drones currently in use by the Nigerian AirForce. NAF, are not good enough  to carry out surveillance because of several years of  being outof use,   he noted that there are still  ‘’fantastic drone  in the  market  that will still carry out such surveillance capabilities’’ to help the ground troops and the Force  do their job.

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