Insecurity:Niger State, Home Of Armed Bandit Kidnappers,As Matawalle, Says All Hands Must Be On Deck To Tackle Banditry And BokoHaram Insurgency In The North

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By Stephen Ubanna

Bello Matawallle, governor of Zamfara state, elected on the platform, of the Opposition People’s Democratic, PDP, who may have broken into the rank of the Bandits in the state to be getting an insider information on the kidnap activities in the north had called for’’ all hands must be on deck to deal with the twin problems of Banditry and BokoHaram Insurgency in the north’’.

Based on the  information, he may have   pieced together from his own findings about the kidnapped 42  persons, made up of 27 students, three teachers and 12 members of their families, in the Government Science  Secondary  School, Kagara, a school, with a population of  about 1000 students, in Niger, home state of former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, on Wdnesday, February,10, 2021,  had said that the abductees, are no more  within the borders of the north central  state of Niger but  had relocated  to  somewhere around  Birnin Gwari area  in Kaduna state, north west Nigeria.

 Many believe that they may have relocated to the north west state, preparatory to cross over to  the neighbouring  West African country of Niger  Republic through the forest and make their  financial demands for the release of the students and teachers alive or risk being killed. Aware of the plan of the Bandits may have informed why security has been tightened  up in Niger, Kaduna and Katsina states to forestall the  kidnappers from going out  outside the country  with the students and teachers to harass the Authorities for ransom.

Matawalle: Governor of Zamfara state

Appearing on Channels Television, Sunday Politics Platform,   the Zamfara governor who have been having a running battle with the Bandits in his home state and who was said to be instrumental for the release of the 433 kidnapped students of Government Science Secondary School , Kankara,  Katsina, home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, had  given his words  that ‘’the kidnapped students and teachers would be back home’’.

The Zamfara state governor, who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’the key  to unlock success in the country’s fight against  criminality, particular, in the north  is from the people and the security operatives’’.  He pointed  out that  that the leaders , no matter the persuasion  must come to terms with the security  challenges at hand  in different parts of the country and’’ speak with one voice’’.  

 Past and present Administrations may not have  had a leeway in dealing with the Bandits in the north west and insurgency in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe , as the political leaders from the both the ruling All Progressive Congress and the PDP, and other stakeholders have been speaking in different voices on how to tackle the security challenges of  the country.

The attack and kidnap  of 42 students, teachers and their family members in the Government secondary  school Kagara, may have exposed the realities on ground that a lot still need to be done to solve the country’s security  challenges as Canada bans its Citizens from travelling to Nigeria to avoid falling into the hands of the kidnappers.

There had been rumour making the rounds that the Authorities are Negotiating with the Criminals  to pay the alleged N800 million ransom demanded by them to facilitate the release of the students and teachers. The rumour became pronounced because of the contact that was said to have been made on Friday, February 19, 2021, between the   government Representatives at both the state and the Federal levels   with the armed Bandits holding  the Kagara, Science Secondary School students and teachers.

The alleged contact  with the government officials and the  armed  to reach a Compromise for the release of the kidnapped students and  teachers, may have informed why  John Onayekan, a Cardinal and former Arch Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory,         FCT,  had cautioned the  Authorities of ‘’sitting down  with the gunmen to discuss  on ransom to be paid’’ , noting that  that’’ it amounts to giving legitimacy  to the  Bandits methods  of operation’’.

 But Lai Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture, had told  those that cares to listen that ‘’the government  would never  pay any ransom money to the Bandits holding the Kagara students and teachers to secure  their release’’. Appearing on Arise Television recently, he had said that  the government  would ‘’employ kinetic  and non-kinetic  measures to secure  the release  of the Kagara  kidnapped  students and teachers’’.

He had described all the talks   about the alleged  N800 million  ransom  that had been  paid to the armed Bandits  as part of the Conspiracy theories   of those  who would never see anything  god in the  presentBuhari Administration ,  insisting that ‘’the government  would never  tolerate  any form of Criminality in the country’’.

He has assured Nigerians   that there was no cause for alarm as the  government would stop at nothing to  to secure the release of the abductees . Giving an insider information  of the government’s plan , he  disclosed that the security Operatives  are  on top of the Kagara Government Science Secondary School in Niger state, situation,  but would  still keep it ‘’a closely guided secret’’ . The minister had said that the country did not get this level of insecurity overnight , noting that ‘’we can’t  get out of it in one day’’.

Belo: Governor of Niger State Under Severe Pressure Over Kidnapped Students and Teachers

Despite the  ministerial  assurance that the government is working assiduously to address the twin problem of Banditry and Insurgency, in the north to stop  the frequent ,  kidnapping in the region and other pats of the country, the Youths in Niger state who could no longer take any excuses from the government  for  no taking  action to facilitate the release of   the 42  students  of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, still beheld by the armed Bandits in their Camp had on Saturday, Thursday, February 18, 2021,   issued a 48 hour ultimatum  to Abubakar Sani Bello, the APC, governor of Niger state ,  to rescue the 42  persons   kidnapped by  the armed Bandits in the Kagara Science Secondary School, along the Minna-Zungeru road without further delay.

The aggrieved Youths who had cried out o about the high level of insecurity in the state had accused the state  governor of doing little or nothing to tackle  the security Challenge as other governors in the other northern states  are doing . The Youths may have broken a pitiable story about the security Challenge in a   state that  had  produced scores of retied military Generals and other top military officers, and which had produced  two retired army Generals that  had ruled  the country that   ‘’not less than 10 local government areas are either facing  kidnapping or banditry of various forms’’, describing it as becoming   unbearable and unacceptable’’.

Appealing to the governments, both at state and Federal levels, to face squarely the business of securing the release of the students’’,  the Youths whose 48 hours, ultimatum to the Authorities  had expired  with  no sign of the Kagara  kidnapped students and teachers  likely going to be released anytime soon,  fueling speculations that they may  be forced to resort to plan  B, which is to mobilise the people for protest in the streets of Minna to draw the attention of the International  Community  to their plight in the state.   The state government may have known  the implications of going  on  protest as it may force the students in the other Boarding schools in Minna and its environs to join that that  it had closed down all  the Boarding schools in the state to avoid total  breakdown of law and order.  

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