By Suleiman Umaru
With the increased Killings in different parts of the country, particular, the north west states of Kaduna, Sokoto, Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, home state and the north central states of Niger and Plateau, including the north east states of Borno and Yobe, Most Rev. Timothy Yahaya, the Anglican Bishop of Kaduna Diocese, fears that Nigeria is on verge of collapse.
Reverend Yahaya, who could not hide his feelings last Sunday, while giving a sermon in the Church, had said that the country stands ‘’the risk of being overtaken by the Bandits Group and the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic state of West African Province, ISWP. The Anglican Bishop has every reason to worry because it appears the north east states of Borno based Terrorists Organisation have collapsed into the Bandits Group in in the north west to make the region ungovernable and put fear in the mind of the people with the increased killings and abductions.
He had said that ‘’Nigeria is in a state of war ‘’ as ‘‘the citizens and even security operatives are being killed on a daily basis in different parts of the country’’.
The recent attack of the Abuja-Kaduna scheduled passenger train by the Bandits speaks volume. The Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, had said that 21 passengers of the ill-fated train are missing from the March 28, 2022, train attack. The Corporation is right as the Bandits have continued to release video of the abducted passengers from their forest hideout, stressing that the government know what to do to facilitate the release of the 21 passengers.
An aggrieved Reverend Yahaya major concern was that more than 20 days after the Bandits train attack, nobody have heard from the Katsina state born Nigerian President. The Cleric noted that no other spokesman of the Nigerian President have spoken on the matter, describing the situation as very worrisome. This confirms what Nasiru ERufai, a former minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during the Administration of Olusegun Obasanjo and now governor of the north west state had said that ‘’Banditry has become a big business in the north’’.
He noted that lack of enough ground troops to confront the the Bandits and terrorists across the country has been largely responsible for the inability of the military to win the war against Banditry in the north west and the central states of Niger, Plateau and terrorism in Borno and Yobe states.
This may have informed why he has called for the establishment of more military depots across the country that will be responsible for the immediate recruitment of more young people into the Armed Forces and train them. He believes that if the retired Army General could take the proactive measure, ‘’the military will free the citizens of this country who are in the hands of terrors’’.
Bishop Matthew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, who had been a strong critic of the Buhari Administration over his inability to tackle the country insecurity challenges may have hit the nail on the head when he said the retired Army should be blamed over what is happening in the country today.
Giving his Easter message to the Congregation during last Sunday service, the Cleric had said that ‘’Nigerians have never experienced a greater level of division than now’’. He had said that the greatest challenge is not even the 2023 general elections or conduct of the April 2023, population census, which many had seen as diversionary but the prospects for the reconciliation of the various religious and ethnic groups’’.
According to him: Years of friendships, cultural exchange, and collaboration built over time have now come under serious pressure from stereotyping. He noted ‘’this carefully choreographed agenda has made Nigerians has made Nigerians vulnerable and ignited to the most divisive form of identity consciousness’’.
He had alluded to the fact that the Buhari Administration is incapable of protecting Nigerians, and therefore have ‘’lost the moral right of being there in the first place ’’. Last week, Jamaatu Nasril Islam, JNI, which had been silent over the happenings in the country had issued a Statement that ‘’it appears that the continuous callous acts of mayhem, killings and arson happening almost on a daily, weekly bases around us , either within communities or on the roads ha automatically reset people mindset’’. One person was said to have been killed following an attack in Kefena Village, Wusasa, by the trigger hungry bandits in Sabon Gari, Local Government of Kaduna state recently.
This is just one of the several bandits in Communities in the state. The attack is worse in, Zamfara and the north central state of Niger, where Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, personnel have virtually been taken off the road by the Bandits, thus making smuggling of Contraband including arms a free for all affairs. There are indications that Hameed Ali, a retired Army General, may have halted deployment of officers to these states for want of job to do due to the activities of the Bandits.
Many believe that the Bandits, who have the support of the north east states of Borno based terrorists, may have intensified the attacks on communities in the two state to scare the security agencies , particular, the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, and NCS, anti-smuggling officers from do their job to ensure that Contraband from the neighbouring E West African country of Benin Republic do not enter the country or Jerry cans of 25 litres each of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, poplar , petrol, smuggled into the Benin market through unapproved routes or the Creeks and beeches.
The Islamic Group had said that Nigerians have accepted such dastardly acts as part of their lives, to the extent that they no longer feel it and which must be stopped. JNI was emphatic that, ‘’any government that is incapable of protecting the lives of the citizenry has lost the moral justification of being there in the first place’’
Recall that the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, and the House of Representatives under the close watch of Femi Gbajabiamila, had asked him to voluntarily resign since it is clear that he cannot protect the citizens he had sworn to protect on assumption of office but that was how far they could go.
Already, Bisho Kuka, has cautioned religious Leaders against falling ‘’prey to the antics of the politicians by monetary inducements’’, he urging them to leave up to their religious callings by deploying their moral authority ’’.