By Stephen Ubanna
President Muhammadu Buhari , of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, has never been so worried about the security situation in the country than now. ”There is no issue that dominates my mind every 24 hours like security because protecting the citizens of my country is one of the primary functions of my Administration”, he had said.
He appears to have followed it up with the frequent meetings with the Heads of the various security Agencies in the country. ”Almost every week , I summon my security chiefs to get an update on the strategies being devised to defeat these mass murderers’ he had said”.
The security chiefs always at the meeting with him at the Presidential villa include Babagana Munguno, a Major General,rtd, and National Security Adviser, NSA. Tukur Buratai, chief of Army Staff, CAS, Abubabakar Sadiq,, Chief of Air Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, , the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel , and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Magaji Binchi, Director General, Department of State Security , Hameed Ali, Comptroller General, a retired Army Colonel and comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS and Mohammad Badende, Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS.
An aggrieved Buhari had revealed he constantly ” listen to the security chiefs in order to understand their problems and needs”, noting that he has never hesitated to attend to those their needs in terms of motivating and equipping them to respond effectively to the country’s security challenges. Recall that only recently over 9,000 police officers were promoted.
Perhaps, what may have touched the heart of the Katsina state born Nigerian President that something urgent needed to be done was the banditry in Zamfara state similar to the Islamic Fundamentalist, Boko Haram killings, in the north east, particular Borno state.
Abdullahi Shikanffi, Secretary to the state government who is getting worried by the day said the banditry in the state has claimed over 3,000 lives and destruction of 2000 homes, burning of over 500 vehicles including exotic ones and kidnapping of over 500 people in the last few years. In tackling the problem within the limited resources of the state he disclosed that the government has spent over N17 billion in the last seven years.
Abdulaziz Yari, the state governor and Chairman, Nigerian Governor’s Forum, NGF, who has been carrying the burden over the last seven years, said Buhari and his security chiefs should take the decisive action against the bandits and kidnappers operating in the state before” it get out of hand”.
Worried by the continous killing and kidnapping of people by these bandits, indigenes of the state resident in Abuja , the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had matched out on the streets in protest to draw the attention of Buhari, the Commander -In-Chief of the Armed Forces to intervene and stop the killings and kidnappings currently going onin the state.
The protesters had cried out that the ”insecurity situation in the state has resulted in ”apprehension , displacements of communities and loss of lives” which could only be handled by the Presidency and the security chiefs.
Security experts believe that the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno state may have penetrated the ranks of the bandits in Zamfara state as they are getting bolder day by day in their operations with little or no resistance by the Army and the police to arrest the situation.
In apparent moves to stop the killing and kidnapping in the state, an unhappy Buhari, according Garba Shehu, a senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a Statement , has ”ordered deployment of troops to all the areas currently under attack from the bandits.
Appealing to the indigenes of the communities to support and cooperate with the security agencies operatives , Shehu , the Media and Publicity senior Special Assistant quoted the President as having reassured the people that the” government is determined to tackle this security challenge ferociously until this heartless killers are crushed and utterly defeated”.
Adamu, the acting IGP, ON Friday, April, 5, 2019, launched” Operation Puff Adder” along the Abuja- Kauna highway. According to him, Operation Puff Adder was a well a thought out decision by the police aimed at ” re-dominating and reclaiming the public space from the heinous criminal elements that are bent on threatening the nation’s internal security order”.
Note that the President may have provided an insight to the police boss on how to deal with the bandits and kidnappers when he lamented that ”it was regrettable that the bandits have informants within the communities ”.
There are fears in both official and unoffical quarters that many of these Zamfara communities , may have signed protection deals with the bandits at the expense of other communities ,going by the ease at which they enter the Communities to operate and get out without any security resistance. It is not surprising why security analysts believes that most of the Zamfara communities are the ones complicating and frustrating government interventionist measures, .
They are optimistic that the current police boss would make a head way in dealing with the notorious bandits if he could succeed in getting the communities to report suspicious movements of the criminals into their areas for police quick intervention.
Recall that the President has made it clear to the heads of the various security agencies that ”intelligence gathering is critical to protecting , frustrating , neutralising and defeating the criminals”. The police Chief may have taken the advice into consideration as he penetrate the communities to be getting the necessary information that would guide their operations of neutralising the bandits.
Those who has worked closely with the acting IGP, describes him as an officer who if he gives himself a target pursues it to its logical concllusion. They believe that with the strategies put in place to deal with the Zamfara bandits and their sponsors , they would soon discover that there would be no hiding place for them to unleash mayhem on the people any longer with the launching of Operation Puff Adder, an indication that banditry would soon be a thing of the past in Zamfara state.