B y Suleiman Umaru
In spite of the initial boldness put up by the Bandits operating in Zamfara, described as the home state of the Bandits, after the shutdown of the telecom facilities by the service providers at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, to attack some Communities and still kidnap people, it has downed on them that the game is up.
Note that given the high level of insecurity in the north west state, The Nigerian Telecommunication Commission, NCC, which had secured the Presidential Approval to get all the all the telecommunication facilities in Zamfara sate shut down to forestall the Bandits from Coordinating their attacks, the Commission had supervised the service Operators to shut down over 240 Communication sites between September 3, 2021 and now.
Ibrahim Dosara the state Commissioner for Information who had said that there are over 1000 Comps in the state with over 32,000, followers, had said that the decision by the NCC, with the backing of the Katsina state born Nigerian President to encourage the GSM providers to shut down their facilities in the state has adversely affected the Bandits operations in the state in the recent time as they could no longer Coordinate their attacks.
Security experts believe that what is happening in the north east state of Borno, where the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, are surrendering in their hundreds to the Operation Hadin Kai troops, may soon begin to happen in the north west states of Zamfara and Kaduna, described as the home of the Bandits.
The optimism became more pronounced in the recent time, going by the statement by Dosara, the Zamfara state, Commissioner o f Information that ‘’the military onslaught against the Bandits, who had embarrassed the nation, with the recent attack of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, killing one officer and abducted another, whose body was later founded dumped in the forest near the Academy, have begun to yield tremendous success, showing that the Bandits can longer bite.
The Commissioner who believes that Bello Matawalle, the state governor, knew that the only way to bring the Bandits to their knees would be to shut down the telecom facilities had made the request to the Nigerian President, who in turn was said to have directed to Isa Ibrahim Pantami, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy to ensure that the GSM providers shut down their operations in Zmfara state in the first instance for two weeks.
The minister was said to have reached out to Umar Garba Dambata ,a Professor and Vice Chairman of NCC/Chief Executive officer,CEO, of the NCC, who was said to have taken up the issue with MTN and other service providers in the state on the need to shut down their facilities in the state as a way to cut Communications among the Bandits.. The shutdown of the GSM service providers facilities in the north west state may have caught the Bandits unaware as they have no answer to it.
An elated Dosara who could not hide his feelings had told Journalists in Gusau, the state Capital, that ‘’the shutdown of the GSM providers facilities in the state have been very effective’’ . Hear him: the security agencies personnel, particular, the military, are now finding it easy to deal with the Bandits in their enclaves in the forests, meaning that if the shutdown lasts beyond the initial two weeks , expected of it, Banditry in the state and other parts of the north west geo-political region will become history.
He may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he disclosed that some identified Camps were destroyed by the Air Force while the army are on ground to neutralize those who were able to escape through the footpaths.
He noted that some other measures are been taken by the Matawalle government based on credible information and intelligence and the closure of the flowing areas suspected to be harbouring the Bandits and their Collaborators. Given an insider information, he revealed that such places include illegal motor parks and road side markets at Kauran Namoda Jibia road, Lambar Bakura junction, Mayanchi- Anka junction, Garejin Mai Lena , Filin Jirgi rice and Vegetables market in Gusau, Metropolitan.
The impact of the shutdown of the GSM service providers facilities Zamfara state,may have strengthened the military and other security agencies pearsonnel, to deal with the Bandits with ease forcing the retired army General to have directed the service Chiefs to device new tactics ‘’to solve the insecurity challenges facing the country, particular, in the north west and the north central geo-political regions’’.
He may have taken advantage of the security meting with service Chiefs on Tuesday, September, 7 2021, to speak out his mind. He described ‘’the Bandits as becoming nuisance,with their continuous killing and making of reckless pronouncements to solicit attention’’.
Bashir Magashi, a retired army Major General and minister of Defence, had said that the government has reviewed the country’s security situation and has come to the conclusion that ‘’it can resolve the security challenges, particular, that of ZAamfara state and the north central.
The minister may have assured Nigerians that the military are now ready for the Insurgents, Bandits and Criminal elements across of the country as the government takes delivery of the last batch of the six of the over $400 million, A-29 Super Tucano fighter Jets that would arrive the country next week from the North American country of the United States, US. The first batch of the A29 SuperTucano fighter Jets that had arrived the country last August are still parked at Kano are being test run to ensure their Combat readiness.
Indeed, the positive effect of the GSM providers shutdown of its 24o sites in Zamfara state may have informed why people are flying kite that the NCC, may extend the same policy to Kaduna state, in order to bring the Bandits , in the two states finally on the knees .
But Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and now, governor of Kaduna state had said the state government has no plans of seeking Presidential Approval for the shutdown of the telecom Companies facilities in the state to cage the Bandits.
Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication has told those cares to listen that ‘’the government has not made such a decision, neither has it announced any such plans in the recent time’’. The news making the rounds that the GSM providers are going to shut down their facilities as obtained in Zamfara state is a still ‘’a rumour’’,he had said.
Many had expected that with the security challenges in the state, local and foreign investors will turn their back on Kaduna state. But this not to be. Umma Aboki, Executive Secretary of the state Investment Promotion Agency, KADIPA, noted that the state had attracted $2.6 billion investment between 2016 and now , thus promoting the industrialization of the state compared to Zamfara state where the Bandits have driven away the investors leaving the illegal miners of gold and other mineral resources resources in the state.