By Suleiman Umaru
Aminu Masari, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina, home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, appears to have key into the North American country of the United states, US, of the Constitutional right of the people ‘’to keep and bear arms ’’to defend themselves and which must not be’ ‘ infringed’’ by any government in power.
Masari may have been forced to speak out his mind because of the way and manner the Bandits and terrorists are killing innocent Nigerians in different parts of the country, particular, the north western states of Zamfara, described as home state of the Bandits Group, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto , Kebbi and the north central state of Niger as well as Borno and Yobe states in the north eastern region. Note that there have also been pockets of the Banditry in Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi and Plateau, by those masquerading as herdsmen.
The Katsina governor who is aggrieved over the recent Bandits attack of a Passenger bus in the Caliphate state of Sokoto, which was said to claimed the lives of 23 travellers in an emotional outburst had said the Bandits are frustrating the efforts of the military and the Force to do their job.
He has questioned ‘’the rationale for’’ the government not allowing Nigerians to carry arms while the Bandits are everywhere bearing arms’’. The message is clear to the National Assembly to amend the 199 Constitution that would give Nigerians the Authority ’’to bear arms to defend themselves from the Criminal elements across the country’’. As the US Lawmaker did in the sixth amendment of the country’s Contribution, towards making it possible for people to keep and bear arms.
Aminu Tambuwal, another former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now governor of Sokoto state may not have toed a radical view of his Counterpart in Katsina state calling on Nigerians to unite to fight the Bandits but would the Katsina state born Nigerian President to thinker with the option of ‘’creating special forces to tackle Banditry and terrorism activities across the country’’.
The governor who could not hide his feelings had said that the Buhari led All Progressive Congress, APC, government may not worry about the recruitment of the personnel into the Special Forces as it should comprise mostly of the Locals of the affected Communities in the Bandits –infested states because they have’’ the rich knowledge of the areas and could effectively confront the Bandits if properly armed’’. Hear him: ‘’I highly recommended to Mr. President and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, that we recruit immediately from Communities affected by Banditry for the sole purpose of addressing these challenges’’.
The governor was said to have also suggested that the recruited Locals should be licensed to bear arms and trained on weapon handling to face to confront the criminal elements, stressing that ‘’it is within the Law’’. Whether the retired Army General would bow to pressure to establish the Special Force remain or send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for an amendment of the Constitution to give Nigerians the right to keep and bear arms as obtained in the US, remain to be seen because of because of the frequent street killings in the North American country with little or no provocation.
Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, home state of Late Aminu Kano, the revered Kano Politician, may have differed from governors Masari and Tambuwal, on how to deal decisively with the Bandits and terrorists who have taking over the country’s forests reserves. The Kano governor who may have read the situation had advise the government’’ to explore the technology in reclaiming the nation’s forests from the Bandits and terrorists in order to be able monitor their activities and those training them on weapons handling and the suppliers of arms and ammunitions to them and to know their International sponsors.
Ibrahim Dosara, the Commissioner for Information, Zamfara state, had said that there are 100 Bandits Group Camps with over 32,ooo armed followers scattered all over the state forest reserves. The situation is the same in Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto and Niger states. Only recently, Darius Ishaku, governor of Taraba state may had shocked Nigerians when he raised alarm of plot by BokoHaram and ISWAP, to establish camps in the state, threatening ‘’to dethrone any Traditional Ruler caught aiding and abetting the Criminal elements’’.
Not many are surprised at the turn of events in the country. Mohammed Bazoun, President of the neighbouring West African country of Republic of Niger, had told Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara state at a recent meeting in Nuamey, the country’s Capital on how to find a lasting solution to the Banditry in the state and the Niger, that ‘’the problem of armed Banditry across Niger is coming from Madawa and Bayan Dutsi but escalated to the north west and north central geopolitical regions of Nigeria through the Maradi region of the country’’.
This is a clear indications that the Bandits are aliens from Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso,Mauritania, Libya and other countries of the Sahel region, including Chad. This may have informed why Bazoun, the Nigerien President had requested the regional governors ‘’to implement the total ban on the importation of motorcycles into Nigeria’’, which serves as a means of transportation for the Bandits to crisscross the regions and the Nigerian states to carry out their regular attacks.
Babagana , Munguno, a retired Major General, and National Security Adviser, NSA, had exposed Jamaat Naral –Islam Wal Muslimin, JIM, the Islamic and Muslim Support Group, GSIM, and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara, ISGS, as the three major Islamic groups ‘’supporting Banditry and terrorists Organisations in the Sahel region’’.
The NSA had said that the violent activities by the militant Islamist groups in the region, particular, the Islamic Fundamental Groups, BokoHaram the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP and other Bandits Group in the region, have primarily been driven by the ISGS, which operates in Mali, and extends to Niger and Burkina Faso.
Many believe that the Nigerian President and his security Chiefs and Intelligentsia, may have risen up to the challenge to get to crush the Criminal elements because of the revelation made by Recep Erdogan, the Turkish President, during a two- day visit to Nigeria last October. The Turkish President had said that the country based notorious terrorist Organisations which the government had been battling over the years such as the KKK, PYD, DASH, which are working closely with the FETO Group, , which members have relocated to Nigeria may be causing the havoc in the country and needed to be stopped.
The Turkish terrorists who had relocated to Nigeria may have been involved in training the Nigerian Bandits Group followers in the forests on weapons handlings while the three Islamic groups that had been named by the NSA, as supporting terrorism in the Sahel region provide the funds and pay for the supply weapons to sustain the terrorism and Banditry activities in the Sahel region.
The fallout was the frequent killings in region, particular, in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Borno and Yobe states in the recent time. The recent killings of nine persons in four Local Government Areas of Kaduna state, described as killing too many may have forced Samuel Aruwan, the state Commissioner for Internal Affairs to call for improved security in Chikun, Igabi, Zaria and Zagon Kataf, which had remained the target of the Bandits in Kaduna state.
T indeed, the Nigerian President may have seen reason to deal decisively with the terrorists and Bandits groups without treating them with the kids glove as he has given his words in Istanbul, Capital of Turkey during the 3rd Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit while on Friday, December 18, 2021, that Nigeria will partner with the European country of Turkey in ‘’dealing with the current security challenges facing the Nigeria’’.
He had said that Nigeria have lots to benefit from the countrt because of its past experience in ‘’dealing with the security challenges of various kinds under the Leadership of Erdogan. The retired Army General was emphatic on this that ‘’Turkey has gotten the practical experience dealing with terrorisms and Banditry over the years and Nigeria stands to gain from that’’.
The retired Army General may have left Istanbul, the Turkish Capital a happy person as Erdogan, his new political ally, has given words ‘’to offer assistance to the Nigerian government in dealing with security challenges facing the country. ‘’Turkey understands the challenges facing Nigeria and its needs and ever ready to assist it to meet those needs especially in the area of defence’’, Erdogan had said.
The 79 year-old retired Army General was said to have assured his Turkish Counterpart, that he await the reports of officials and the ministers as they hold their meetings promising ‘’ to endorse all their positive recommendations on how to tackle the security challenges facing the country’’.