By Suleiman Umaru
The era of playing hide and sick with the killer gang Bandits operating in the north west states of Zamfara, described home state of the criminal elements, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and the north central state of Niger is home. This is because Ahmad Lawan led Senate, has made it clear to President Muahammadu Buhari, that he must declare the Group a terrorist Organisation, like BokoHaram and the Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP, including the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOD, which had been declared a terrorist Organisation by the Court.
Although Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the Katsina state –born Nigerian President had said that what he had done to the arms-wielding Bandits is worse than being declared as ‘’terrorists’’, the Senators, who are angry with insecurity situation in the country , particular, in the north, would not take it .
Abdullahi Gobir, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Sokoto East, Senatorial district, may have shown the anger in the Hallowed Chamber, when he and eight others moved the earth shaking motion on Wednesday, September, 29, 2021, that the Nigerian President, who is the Commander-In-Chief, C-In-C, of the Nigerian Armed Forces, must declare the Bandits as terrorists despite pressure on him and the other eight Senators to prevent them from moving the motion during the plenary session.
The Lawmaker may have shown his anger he asked the Nigerian President ‘‘to declare all the known leaders of the bandits wanted and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution’’. The Sokoto state born -Lawmaker may have given an insight that the Presidency knows the Leaders and sponsors of the bandits but had failed to do the needful: arrest them for prosecution.
Senator Gobir, has every reason to be angry with the Presidency. This is because Sabon Birni and Isa Local government Areas in his Senatorial district, has become a ‘’safe haven for bandits fleeing from the current onslaught against them by the police and military in Zamfara, coupled with hunger ravaging the various Camps of the Criminal elements in the state.
Ibrahim Dorsara, the state Commissioner of Information, had said that there are over 100 bandits Camps scattered all over the forests in the state with 32,000, arms-wielding followers. The bandits may have found easy to relocate to the other north west states of Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and the north central state of Niger , to resume their operation, as they could Communicate with each other to Coordinate their operation. They may have lost out in Zamfara, because of the shutdown of telecommunication facilities in the state by the service providers at the instance of Bello Matawalle, the state governor, who had paid millions of naira ransom to the bandits to force them to drop their guns and embrace but to no avail.
The killing of 21 security operatives in Dama and Gangara, Communities, on Saturday, September, 24, 2021, during an attack by the fleeing Zamfara bandits to the state and an undisclosed number of civilians who were killed and killed for ransom, speaks volume.
An aggrieved Senator Gobir, who could not hide his feelings had told those that cares to listen, that ‘’the latest attacks and killings in the Caliphate state highlights the magnitude of the problem’’, insisting that the retired army General must declare ‘’total war on banditry’’. He noted that if the bandits could kill 21 trained Nigerian officers at a go and nothing is done to clip their wings, ‘’it will jeopardise the security architecture of the country’’. The Lawmaker may have spoken the mind of other Senators when he said the military operation against the bandits should be holistic and not restrictive as had been the case in the past to produce effective and the desired results’’.Senator Gobir motion was said to have been upheld.
The situation in Sokoto state, may not be different from what is happening in Kaduna, the closest state to Zamfara , forcing Nar El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to follow the footsteps of Bello Matawalle, his counterpart in Zamfara, to seek Presidential approval ,to get the telecommunications Companies to shut down their operation in the flashpoint Local government Areas to cut the means of Communication by the bandits with each other to Coordinate their attacks in the state.
Given an insider information of what encouraged the state governor to take the bold initiative,Samuel Aruwan, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, disclosed that he was prompted to take the decision after a meeting with the relevant security agencies in the state who had recommended ‘’ the shutting down of telecommunication facilities in the state ahead of the commencement of military onslaught against the bandits to flush them out in their identified hideouts’’.
The Kaduna governor who may have lost his patience with the bandits and ready to use force to flush them out from the state as Matawalle, his Counterpart in Zamfara has succeeded in dong, has placed a ban on Commercial and private motor cycles for a period of three months across the state as well as the regulation of the schedule for Commercial tricycle operators from 6:am to 7:pm , daily, in Birni Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi, Kachia, Igarko and Kajuru Local government Areas` of the state as obtained in Zamfara state.
The Commissioner may have spoken the mind if El-Rufai, the state governor, when he noted that ‘’ these small group of arms-wielding wicked people cannot continue to hold the state to ransom and force the people to live in perpetual war’’. This may have informed why he said the measures have been adopted by the state government in the interest of the Collective Safety and security people and to a larger extent aid the police and the military in their fight against these mindless criminals’’. Hear him: many lives have been lost and too many families have been shattered.
Many would want Aminu Tambuwal, a former Speake,of House of Representatives and now governor of Sokoto state, and his Counterpart in the neighbouring Kebbi , Abubakar Atiku Bagudu including Abubakar Sani Bello, governor of Niger home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired army General and former military President, to duplicate the Matawalle formula in their respective states as El-Rufai has already done in Kaduna state, to put an end to Banditry in the north western geopolitical region and the north Central state and save the country in general from the strong hold of the Bandits and the Collaborators, both within and outside the country.
While there are pressures on the governors of Kebbi , Sokoto and Niger, to take a cue from Matawalle and El-Rufai, governors of Zamfara and Kaduna states respectively to take punitive measures to deal decisively with the Bandits, Matawalle, the Zamfara governor, appears to have made a u-turn. He was said to have directed the restoration of telecommunication services in Gusau, the state Capital and its environs, which may affect the thinking of the other governors in the region.
Zailani Bappa, the Special Adviser to the governor on Public Enlightenment and Media, had said that , the directive for restoration of the service providers network, in Gusau, the state capital , became necessary ,following the success that had been recorded in the fight against the bandits in the state. He noted that the governor may have taken advantage of the country’s 61st Independence Anniversary Celebration to review the ban on telecommunication services in the state in order to ease the hardship faced by both the private and public sectors in the state.