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Insecurity: Nigeria Sitting On A Keg Of Gunpowder As Bandits Kidnap Students And Teachers In Niger State

By Lateef Lawal

The 19 northern states governors may have known that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun powder  that  may explode an time soon if  nothing urgent is done to resolve the crisis between the farmers and herdsmen in the south west which had resulted in the destruction of the  famous shasha market in the ancient town of  Ibadan, Capital of Oyo state.

Although the Nigerian Governors Forum, GF, under the leadership of Kayode  Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti state, has promised to rebuild the market  which was burnt down in the wake of the crisis, but that may  not  help to calm the tension in the state  which had spilled over to Ogun and  Osun states, as the people  insists that the  Fulani herdsmen  must leave their states.

 Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, governor of Kebbi state, who had  led the northern governors  delegation to Oyo state had  made the promise of the NGF,  of going to support in rebuilding the market known to the people on Tuesday, February 15, 2021, during a peace mission to the state. 

Sunday Egboho, the 49 year-old, was said to have  raised the people’s consciousness about the threats posed  by the herdsmen  living in the south west states forest and destroying the peoples farmlands and therefore, the need to flush them out .  But the leadership of    Miyetti Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, who could not take the harassment of the herdsmen any longer  had  called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare Egboho a terrorist and threat to society. But that was how far they could go.

Matawalle, Governor of Zamfara State

   The Northern Governors, who are not ready to watch the country  disintegrate , may have taken a bold initiative de to send as an emissary to the Oyo state, Abdullahi Gnaduje of Kano state,  Abubaka Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi,  Bello Matawalle, Zamfara and Abubakar Sani of Niger, home state of former military President Ibrahim Babangida, a retired army General whose state  is under the severe threat of Bandits, to Oyo state to dialogue with Seyi Makinde, the Oyo state governor on how to resolve the crisis before it gets out of hand.

The four northern states governors who were at Ibadan, on Tuesday, had taken opportunity of the visit to assess the destruction  at the Shasha arket, the scene of the clash between the Yoruba and Hausa Communities. They  were said to have been accompanied  by armed security Operatives to the Shasha market. The worry of many  was that those who carried out the counter attack against the Yorubas  at the market may not be real herdsmen but BokoHaram members masquerading as  herdsmen  who had been deployed  to different parts of the country   by their Commanders with one objective : to distabilise Nigeria. 

 This may have informed  why security experts would want the northern states governors who are onvinced that there is trouble in the south west  based on what they have seen on ground at Shasha, Ibadan, to look beyond the herdsmen. the governors may have had a  closed  door meeting with  Haruna Maiyasin, the Serriki, of Shasha and the Baale of Shasha on the need to call their people to order but that is not enough. The number of Okada riders from the north  that had entered Shasha Community  since after the clash between  the Farmers and herdsmen  speaks volume, an indication that herdsmen are still poised for exchange of bullet with the Yoruba farmers. This is  where the seriki and the Baale of Shasha  have  a big task at hand to cue into the governors advice ‘’to stop the hostilities  and forge a  more formidable bond  for peaceful coexistence’’. The northern governors had were  said to have held talks with Mainde , the Oyo state governor after a tour of the troubled spot .

Bab Munguno: NSA , Holds Security Meeting With North West Governors In Kaduna

Worried by the high level of insecurity in the country, Babagana Munguno , a retired army Major General  and the National security Adviser, NSA, at the instance of the Katsina state born Nigerian President had initiated plans to lead a delegation  of Heads of the various security agencies to the six geo-political zones in the country  to hold town hall meetings  with the state governors , traditional rullers, religious leaders and the lawmakers, Non- Governmental Organisations ,Youth and Women Organisations. The meetings  are expected to provide  direct assessment  of the security situation in their various regions in order to generate feedback  and recommendations  on how to deal with the problem that had defiled all known  efforts to solve it.

The NSA and the Service Chiefs, were said to have the first meeting in Kaduna , with the seven north west   states governors of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina , Kano and Kuduna, in Kaduna. The governors may have identified open grazing as the  root cause of the  prevailing tension between  farmers and herdsmen in different parts of the country.  The  northern  governors may have hit the nail on the head.

Recall that last Monday, the NSA,and the Heads of the other security agencies had sought for more time to develop ranches in their various  states. The governors believe that the ranches are only panacea  to solve the incessant farmers and herdsmen clash in the country. The NSA, and the security Chiefs were said to  have proposed another meeting with the north west governors  to draw up a road map to better security in the region.

The Katsina state born  Nigerian President may have  known that that the open grazing  is the major problem between the Farmers and herdsmen that he had mooted the idea of the Rugan programme , which had been on the drawing board of the  then Civilian Administration in the ‘60s but could  not be implemented  because of the strong Opposition to it.

 The Nigerian President   may have suspended  it due to the public outcry  against as a plot  to Islamise the country.Dave Omahi, the Eboyi state governor, had said that the  Federal ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Programme, was  not consistent with the National Executive Council, NEC, and the government  approved  National Livestock  Transformation Plan, NLTP, resulting  from the crisis and also development  of ranches  in any willing state of the Federation.

Ruga was said to have been  conceived by the Buhari  Administration  to enable willing states  to contribute  large  areas of land  to the government for Construction of animal husbandry.

Notwithstanding the tension in the country, the Nigerian President who appear unshaken had said that ‘’the stability  of the stability of the country is paramount to him’’, stressing that he will continue’’ to work towards it’’. He spoke his mind when some Elders from Yobe state  paid him a Courtesy call on Tuesday .  Buhari who could not hide his feelings   had said that the upheavals  in some parts of the country  were caused by some few people  with resources and influences  to serve  their pecuniary interest.   

He may have assured Nigerians that there was no cause  for alarm as the people’’ will be identified and dealt with in due course’’.  This is a clear message to the likes of Egboho, in Oyo state, watch it, as security Operatives may be closing in on him. But the worry of many  is that if the Muhammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police , should  arrest him, there might be total  breakdown of  Law and  order in the south  west and as the people as their own Liberator as the Political leaders and traditional rulers  have failed them. This is where the security Operatives may have to thread  with caution and follow the approach that had  been initiated by the NSA, and the service Chiefs to calm the tension in the country  by meeting with the people to get their opinion on how  to douse the tension and ensure that people of  all ethnic groups live  in peace in their respective states.

While Munguno,  the NSA and the service Chiefs are out to draw a roadmap  to ensure adequate security of lives and property in the seven north west states, Bandits , appear to have intensified their operation in  north Central state of Niger, in the recent time. This is evident with the recent kidnap of students  and  teachers of Government  Science Colleg,e in Rafi  local government  Area of Niger state for alleged ransom.

Bello: Goverrnor of Niger State

The NSA, who was said to have recently led the service Chiefs to hold a meeting with the north west governors on the security situation in the country, and Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector of Police , whose tenure was extended by three months to terminate in May, 2021, by the Nigerian president  were said  to have gone to Minna to reassure Abubakar Sani Bello, the  state governor, , who was said to have wept, and the people of the state   that efforts are being made to  rescue the abducted students and teachers of the Government Science College, Kagara.

The  Nigerian President  was said to have also dispatched  to Minna,  the Niger state ,Capital, a delegation of the security Chiefs to Coordinate  the rescue operations and to meet with state  government officials, Community Leaders as well as parents and staff of the College.  The Bandits, turned kidnappers  , who were said to have attacked the school  on Wednesday, February 17, 2021,   according to an eyewitness account wore military uniforms and were shooting sporadically into the air to draw out the students and Teachers.  

Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic  Party who is  no longer  finding it funny about the payment of ransom to these Criminals has raised his voice, urging ’’the government  to stop  rewarding  Criminality’’. He noted that ‘’doing so  will result  in more crimes being perpetrated in the society’’. Comparing the security situation in the country now to when he he was in government, he ‘’lamented that it has deteriorated bbadly, describing  ‘’the menace as alarming’’.

The former PDP ,Presidential Candidate, however, advised the government’’ to enforce the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against abductions and kidnappings, by apprehending the Criminals , prosecuting them, and making an example of those  convicted, to serve as a deterrent  to others’’.

Stephen Ubanna

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