Few hours after the Nigerian Senate called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists, the daredevil gunmen attacked a community in Niger State, killing 30 people and abducting many others.
The Senate had earlier called on Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, declare bandits as terrorists and wage a total war against them, urging the president to give orders to the military to eliminate them by bombing their hideouts.
The Senate also asked President Buhari to immediately declare all known leadership of the bandits wanted, and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution.
These formed part of resolutions reached yesterday after the chamber considered a motion on banditry in Sokoto during plenary.
The motion was sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East).
Presenting his motion, the lawmaker lamented that Sokoto East Senatorial District has now become a safe haven for bandits, following a crackdown on them by the military in neighbouring Zamfara.
He expressed worry that on Saturday, September 25, this year, 21 security personnel were killed in Dama and Gangara villages by rampaging bandits.
The lawmaker disclosed that those murdered included 15 soldiers, three mobile policemen and three members of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, in addition to yet-to-be-ascertained number of civilians from the sorrounding villages.
“This has gone to portray the seriousness of the problem which require concerted and urgent action by the declaration of total war on banditry,” he said.
According to Gobir, “Losing such numbers of trained security personnel will further deplete the numerical strength of the security personnel we have in the country, therefore jeopardising the security architecture of the country.”
He added that most of the bandits have now relocated to Sabon Bimini and Isa local governments due to the sustained military operation at the Zamfara axis.
The lawmaker observed that while the crackdown on the bandits was taking place in Zamfara state, no concc rete measures have so far been taken in Sokoto State, leaving it totally exposed to the activities of bandits.
He further expressed worry that the present military onslaught on the bandits is not well coordinated because it is only being orchestrated in Zamfara State, instead of all the front line states ravaged by bandits.
Gobir, therefore, called on the military to carry out a holistic operation on frontline states such as Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna in order to produce an effective result.
The Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, commended the efforts of the Armed Forces in the sustained fight against insecurity in the country.
While calling for increased funding for the military, the Senate President asked relevant Committees of the National Assembly to ensure that funds appropriated to the armed forces are judiciously applied for the purpose for which they are budgeted.
“Distinguished colleagues, I think the issue of insecurity is one issue we will never get tired of debating here, and we must commend our Armed Forces and other security agencies.
“They give their lives in trying to secure this country, and that is the ultimate sacrifice anybody could pay.
“I believe that they are doing their best, but we also need to do our best as a government by giving them the kind of resources that they need.
“I believe we have done that in the supplementary budget as pointed out, but we also need to improve the annual appropriation for them.
“If we could pass over N800 billion in the supplementary budget, I don’t see why we cannot improve the resources up to N1 trillion and then hold our security agencies accountable.
“And I believe that we need to monitor the procurement processes when we give such kinds of resources to our Armed Forces.
“The security related committees, particularly the armed forces-related committees – Defence, Army, Navy and Airforce Committees – need to work very closely on the procurement processes by these Services.
“We must ensure that funds appropriated are not put in the wrong areas, and ensure that this fight is taken to its logical conclusion,” Lawan said.
The Senate, accordingly, in its resolutions, urged the President and Commander in Chief to declare the bandits as terrorists and wage total war against them, including bombing all their locations to annihilate and eliminate them.
It also urged President Buhari to declare all known leadership of the bandits wanted and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution.
The upper chamber also directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant Federal Government agencies to, as a matter of urgency, give all the necessary support to the victims of the menace of bandits in Sokoto and other parts of the country.
It also observed a minute silence in honor of the fallen heroes and civilians who lost their lives in the unwholesome activities of the bandits.
Meanwhile, bandits yesterday sack Kachiwe in Munya local government area of Niger State, killing 30 and abducting many of the villagers.
Kachiwe has many adjoining villages near Sarkin Pawa, the headquarters of the local government, sharing boundaries with Kaduna State
It was learnt that the bandits on motorcycles invaded the village in the evening and shot randomly at the villagers, and at press time no fewer than 30 dead bodies were counted.
The secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, who confirmed the incident, described it as unfortunate, adding that the actual figure of of deaths and abductors is not yet clear.
According to him, the state government will not be deterred in its effort to rid the state of crime and criminality.
He, however, appealed to the people to provide security agencies with credible information in order to take proactive measures in the fight against banditry.
Similarly, the commissioner of police in charge of the state command, Mr Monday Bala Kuryas, confirmed the attack, He said efforts are on to track down the perpetrators as a policemen have been despatch to the area to safeguard lives and properties of the people
Meanwhile, the commissioner confirmed that three people were killed in the attack on the Emir of Kalgara’s palace on Tuesday evening.
Why FG Lacks The Gut To check Bandits, Farooq Kperogi Exposes Malami
Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t.
On July 18, 2021, so-called bandits shot down an Alpha Jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force on the boundary between Zamfara and Kaduna states. Then on October 7, 2021, the Wall Street Journal, whose news section is adjudged one of America’s most credible, got a scoop that the Nigerian Air Force paid N20 million to bandits to buy back “an antiaircraft gun” that the bandits had seized from the Nigerian military in a clash.
The antiaircraft gun, the paper said, “posed a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been planning to fly to his hometown….”
On October 20, 2021, the bandits, whom the Wall Street Journal says have “collaborators inside the army” and who are “better equipped with larger-capacity advanced weaponry than national security agencies,” detonated explosives on the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks and caused the indefinite suspension of rail transportation between Abuja and Kaduna.
What has become transparently apparent in the last few months is that the plague of so-called Fulani herdsmen banditry is way deeper and more complex than we have persuaded ourselves to believe. The menace we self-deceptively and simplistically attenuate as mere “banditry” is nothing short of well-oiled, deep-rooted, well-practiced, and well-organised mercenary terrorism whose tentacles have spread to unthought-of social territories of the Nigerian society.
Early this month, I had a lengthy conversation with a well-placed Nigerian government official on a whole host of issues, including the escalating, never-ending scourge of mass abductions for ransom in vast swathes of the country. In the course of our conversation, he casually shared with me a disturbing story that, for me, strikes at the core of why terroristic banditry won’t go away anytime soon.
He was involved in negotiations for the release of abductees some months back. The multi-million-naira ransom paid to the “abductors,” he said, went through a tortuous chain of command that finally ended up with some armed, well-nourished, out-of-state individuals. In other words, although the kidnappers were bucolic Fulani, the people who finally received the ransom weren’t.
In any case, as most people know, most of the cattle that the Fulani herders rear don’t belong to them; they belong to wealthy city dwellers (and some prosperous rural folks) from all over Nigeria.
Well, the anecdote that the government official shared with me recalls a viral video of a “bandit” in one of the northwestern states swearing in Hausa that “bandits” aren’t independent actors, that they are armed and financed by well-placed people in the society who take advantage of their poverty and disaffiliation from mainstream society to recruit them.
To be clear, I am not by any means absolving Fulani herders from responsibility for kidnapping. I just want to transcend the surface on which we have dwelled for far too long.
I also connected the dots between what the government official told me and a message that trended in Nigerian social media circles in May 2019 about a woman who was threatened with abduction but given the option to pay N5 million into a bank account to avert her kidnap.
A portion of the narration is worth reproducing without authorial intervention: “She took it up. Went to the bank with some assistance from influential friends. They asked that the account be flagged…. Bank did checks. Bank said the account cannot be flagged else they will lose influential clients How so? The names attached to the account are powerful names. That the kidnap ring pays some top persons percentage from the ransome [sic] paid. She was advised to jejely goan [sic] pay her POTENTIAL KIDNAPPERS. I was speechless for over 5 minutes.”
If you think this is a made-up story, read Daily Trust’s July 28, 2021 story titled “Kidnappers in FCT Begin Collection Of Ransom Through Banks.” When a Mrs. Aminat Adewuyi was kidnapped in Niger State, the kidnappers threatened to slaughter her if her relatives didn’t deposit N5 million naira into an Access Bank account.
The amount was later scaled back. “The ransom payment slip, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Trust showed that Adewuyi’s husband paid N500,000 into an Access Bank account with number 1403762272 and the name Badawi Abba Enterprise,” the paper reported.
Also recall that late last month even the National Youth Service Corps advised youth corps members posted to abduction-prone roads like “Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, or Aba-Port Harcourt” to let “family members, friends and colleagues to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded” in the event of their abduction. This piece of advice was frozen in a handbook distributed to corps members.
It’s easy to explain away the NYSC advice as merely an organisation being pragmatic and making peace with the ever-present reality of mass abductions in the country. But the listless capitulation to mercenary terroristic bandits by almost all segments of the Nigerian government, including security outfits, points to high-profile complicity, in my opinion.
The Daily Nigerian reported on October 21 that security agencies had intercepted communication between “a notorious bandit” and his “associate.” “The report, dated October 19, 2021 and entitled ‘PLANNED ATTACK ON TRAIN AROUND RIJANA, KADUNA STATE,’ said the terrorists were heard discussing about the planned attack by Darul Salam terrorists in concert with two bandit kingpins, Danlami and Lawan (not real names),” the news site reported.
It quoted the security report to have said, “Baffa informed Bala that members of Darussalam (Boko Haram) in collaboration with bandits led by Danlami and Lawan are currently on their way to plant a bomb at a bridge on the railway in Rijana to hijack a moving train and kidnap the passengers. Baffa said he decided not to participate in the operation because it is risky but believed that DANLAMI and LAWAN will blow up the bridge.”
Why was the report, which the paper said was “circulated across security agencies,” ignored? Was this complicity, incompetence, or indifference? I am inclined to think it’s complicity, especially in light of the Wall Street Journal’s not-surprising revelation that mercenary terrorist bandits have “collaborators inside the army.”
Here are my own extrapolations based on the facts I’ve encountered these past few months. While uneducated, pastoral, semi-nomadic Fulani herders are the public face of mass abductions for ransom in the country, they are just branches of a tree whose roots are buried deep beneath the surface. The herders are mere expendable foot soldiers of people who have privileged connections to the government and the private sector.
Peasant, seminomadic Fulani herders who have lost their cattle have historically served as an inexhaustible pool of lumpen proletariat to conscript into all kinds of conflicts. In the early 1800s, for instance, they constituted a huge percentage of Afonja’s army in his fight against the Alaafin of Oyo. In “A Little New Light: Selected Historical Writings of Professor Abdullahi Smith,” the late Abdullahi Smith wrote that Fulani pastoralists who lost their cattle to tsetse fly bites in Yoruba land and “had nothing to lose” became Afonja’s mercenaries.
The domination of abduction for ransom by Fulani pastoralists who have lost their cattle seems to me like the recrudescence of what happened in the 1800s—and at other historical epochs. Killing the abductors will do nothing to stop the problem because they are merely the branches of a tree. You don’t kill a tree by cutting off its branches because new branches will sprout in time.
You kill a tree by uprooting it. That means identifying the funders and real beneficiaries of mass abductions in the country. From the information I am privy to, they are elites who are not necessarily Fulani. They are a pan-Nigerian gang of ruthless buccaneers who are united by rapaciousness and vileness.
But instead of confronting this grave existential threat to Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, is obsessed with blabbering about who the “sponsors” of Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu are.
This is the same guy who refused to name and identify people who have been exposed by the United Arab Emirates as sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists because, according to him, “Naming and shaming of suspects is not embarked upon as a policy by the federal Government out of sheer respect [for] the constitutional rights of Nigerians relating to presumption of innocence.”
Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t. That is all you need to know for why mercenary terroristic banditry will endure for as long as incompetent hypocrites like Malami hold and control the levers of government.
Anambra Guber: IPOB Declares Sit-At-Home On Election Day
Anambra state governorship election may suffer serious setback as the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has declared total lockdown in all states in south East from November 5 to November 10, to compel the federal government to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has fixed the Anambra gubernatorial election for November 6, 2021.
But in a statement issued by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB said, “Following the adjournment of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court case to 10th of November 2021, by the Federal High Court Abuja, it demanded all lovers of Biafra and Biafrans to sit at home from 5 to 10 November to ensure that their leader is released.
“We the great movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), wish to inform Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that IPOB will lock down Biafra land from 5th of November to 10th of November except Sunday, November 7th, a day our people worship the Almighty God, if the Nigeria Government fails to release our leader unconditionally before 4th of November 2021” he stated.
IPOB said its leader Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally on or before November 4, 2021 “because he has not committed any offense known to any law.
According to the group, “failure to release Nnamdi KANU on or before November 4, 2021 there will be one week Sit-At-Home beginning on November 5, 2021 till November 10.”
Kanu was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja on treasonable felony and terrorism charges.
The fresh seven-count charges against Kanu followed his arrest and extradition from Kenya after he jumped bail.
Kanu, however, pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
Ghana Nollywood Boss, Others, Mobilise Nigerians against Black Queens In Accra Sunday World Cup Tie
There is serious mobilisation of Nigerians living in Ghana to support the Super Falcons in their match against the Black Queens of Ghana today.
The supporters have agreed to troop out in numbers to the Accra Sports Stadium to support the Super Falcons in a World Cup qualifier encounter.
The mobilisation of Nigerians is spearheaded, among many others calling for massive turn out of Nigerians for the match is Mr. Destiny Omoh, Chairman of Nollywood Ghana Chapter, Chief Bayo Asaolu, former Acting President of All Nigerian Community in Ghana who is also the current 2nd Vice President of of the same Association.
Chief Asaolu disclosed that the match is a do or die for the Black Queen as they need outstanding win to qualify to the female World Football fiesta.
It would be recalled that at various occasions, Nigerians in Ghana have always come out to support the national teams.
Ghana will need to beat Nigeria by 2 goals to qualify. The Super Falcon beat their rival by two goals at the first leg in Nigeria.
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