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Insecurity: Negotiating With Armed Bandits Is A Mark Of Authority Failure – Bantex, Former Deputy Governor Of Kaduna State

By Suleiman Umaru

Bello Matawalle, governor of the north west state  of Zamfara, which had been declared a no –fly zone by President Muhammadu Buhari, retired army General and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces,  C-In-C, and Ahmad Abubakar, Gumi, an Islamic Cleric, appear to have drawn the ire of Bala Bantex, a former deputy governor of Kaduna state.

The duo, at different times , had repeatedly called on the Katsina state born Nigerian President and the governors of Kaduna, Katsina, the home state of the President , grant amnesty to Bandits in different parts of the country. It is instructive to note that the activities of the Bandits are more pronounced in the north western states of Zamfara, Katsina, Buhari state and Kaduna.  Thousands of people were said to have been killed by the Bandits in these state over the last six years.

Bandits that Stormed three Villages In Kaduna Recently

Only recently, some armed Bandits were said to have stormed the villages  Kerawa, Zareyawa and Minda, in Kaduna state.There  are indications that over 50 people were killed  in the multiple attacks carried out  by the Bandits who were armed to the teeth. The Bandits were said to have stormed the three Kaduna villages for providing  information about their hideouts  to the military., which gave them the ammunition to  attack and kill several of them in the forest.

 This is just of one of the attacks by the armed Bandits who are involved in Cattle rustling and kidnapping in Kaduna state. Many believe that the armed Crminal  gangs  are  exploiting  a lack of security  across the south west to attack the villagers in order  to force them to recognise their Authority  and provide information on soldiers movement  in the area.  They may have failed  in their mission as the people were not ready to work with them.      

 Matawalle, according to informed sources,had concluded arrangement last year to grant amnesty to these Bandits  that had been terrorising the state over the years .He may have been slowed down because ,Nasiru El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state and Bllo Massari, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina state were not ready  to play along with him to avoid playing into the hands of the Nigerian President.

 Gumi, the Islamic Cleric , may have known that the military may not be able to secure the country before the rainy season  as targeted by the Nigerian President that he had muted the idea of granting amnesty to the Bandits in the operating in the north western states and the country in general.

Bntex, a one-time Kaduna state deputy governor could not agree to the cleric suggestions.  Appearing on Channels Television, Sunday Politics, show,  he had described the Statements credited Sheikh Gumi, a non-state actor calling for Negotiation with the Bandits as  to resolve  to resolve the rising insecurity in the country’’ as a mark of failure on the part of the Authority both at the state and Federal levels.

Bantex , who is not happy with the Cleric for urging  the states and the Federal government to enter into Negotiations with a the Bandits , as a prelude to granting them amnesty that would force them to drop their guns wondered, noted that it never worked in the north east geo-political region when it was tried in 2017 as it became the country’s nemesis. 

Instead of the Nigerian military fighting one common  enemy, BokoHaram Insurgents, a splinter group emerged from Old BokoHaram , that called its ISWAP, thus making the counter terrorism war in the region very difficult.

An aggrieved Bantex, who do  not  want  hear anything about the Bandits  noted that these people  who have  destroyed  thousands of people source of income: farming,  and the country’s economy in general, who had made life very unbearable for Nigerians and who are still doing so. ‘’It is not ideal’’, he had said.

The Kaduna state former deputy  governor, who could not hide his feelings believes that  ‘’there are people  sitting  out there  who are benefiting from the rising crisis in the country  and who would not let it go in a hurry as they are determined to sabotage the government’s efforts.

 He would want the new service Chiefs to take the Presidential directive serious  in order not to make the same mistake of the previous service Chief chiefs who  had given the Commander In-Chief, the wrong impression that  Insurgency in the north east had become a thing of the past in order to remain  in his good book and still be retained in office whereas the Insurgents were getting stronger by the day by aprocuring more sophisticated weapons  that could  encourage  them to attack military Barracks and cart away wapons.He was said to have supported  the suggestions made by El-rufai, the incumbent governor of  Kaduna state , for the creation of a state police to tackle the  myriads of security challenges in the country.     

Gen. Irabor: CDS hAS a Big Task At Hand To Secure The Country

The Nigerian President who is not ready to take any excuse for an answer from the new service Chiefs for non –performance  this time around,  had given  Leo Irabor, now , an army General and Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, and the other Service Chiefs a few weeks to secure the country to the level that farmers who had fled their  farms due to the activities of the Bandits and Insurgents could return to the fiels befor the rainy  season this year.

 The Presidential directives appear to have put Ibahim Attahiru, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, Isiaka Amoo, an Air Marshall, and Chief of Air Staff and Awwal Zubairu Gambo, a Vice Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff, CNS,  on a high jump.

The Nigerian President who has his reason for giving the service Chiefs only a few weeks  to secure the country particular, the BokoHaram and ISWAP, besieged  north eastern states of Adamawa,Borno, Yobe  and the north west states of Zamfara, Katsina , Kaduna  including  the north Central states of Niger, home state of former military President Ibrahim Babangida, a retired army General and Nassarawa.

General Irabor and the other service Chiefs may have known that they cannot afford to fail  as the rainy is fast approaching that they were said to have gone back to the drawing board to restrategise on how to deal decisively with the Bandits  operating in the north west and the Insurgents in the three  north eastern states .

  Security experts fear that the Service Chiefs have every reason to move fast  to avoid playing into the General’s hand who will not hesitate to  sack them to achieve his goal of securing the country to avoid throwing the country into food scarcity.

Stephen Ubanna

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