North West Still Groaning Under Terrorism

<strong>North West Still Groaning Under Terrorism</strong>

Nigeria’s North West, including Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto states has over some years remained a theatre of the absurd as uncountable lives, several million worth of properties and economic life stay have been wasted in an unending orgy of violence. Initially, it earned an unenviable tag of banditry before it graduated to terrorism via the fiat of the courts, which deciphered that it was difficult to differentiate between the two.

It is preposterous that in spite of the assurances from the respective state governments in the region that they were tackling the menace, they are yet wallowing in the shackles of terrorism. It appears they are unable to be firm on their promise to fight the excesses of the terrorists who have made their once serene domains desecrated.

 It is a familiar terrain recently when the Zamfara State Government said it has secured the release of over 3,000 kidnapped victims from 2019 to date. This is remarkable enough but there are more questions begging for answers in the recurring banditry in the state and indeed the North West.

Ibrahim Dosara, the commissioner for information, was upbeat in Gusau the state capital while reviewing the progress of security operations in the state, when he was boisterous in announcing on government’s efforts in tackling terrorism.

He said the victims regained their freedom through the peace, reconciliation and dialogue programme initiated by the administration of Bello Matawalle, governor of the state.

The Commissioner described the feat as one of the remarkable achievements recorded by Matawalle’s administration.

“Before Matawalle’s administration, the state faced serious security challenges, especially attacks on our communities and kidnapping”, he said.

“After taking over as governor of the state, Matawalle initiated peace, reconciliation and dialogue with bandits.

“The dialogue yielded positive results because the state is recording relative peace”.

According to Dosara, banditry activities have reduced to a minimal level across the state.

He said the state witnessed nine months without recording bandits’ attacks at the initial stage of the dialogue.

He said the government successfully rescued different groups of kidnapped victims, comprising males, females and children, and that some of them hailed from Katsina and Sokoto states.

While Zamfara could be thumbing its chest as having achieved a feat against the bandits, can that be safely said of other states?  This suggests they were only jolted to action but not on their watch, otherwise, it would not have been healthy to be given to any public announcement on the matter.

Dosara said a number of repented bandits had surrendered to the authorities while many of their camps have been destroyed since the beginning of the peace dialogue programme.

It was also announced that many roads closed due to banditry have been opened for public transportation, adding that the 14 LGAs are accessible by roads.

The people of the state were admonished to cooperate with government and security agencies to end banditry and security challenges bedeviling the state.

We are perturbed by this weak disposition of the state government which appeared as if it was on a charity drive by providing them security which is of necessity their right. Why should the people applaud the government for providing what necessarily is their right? It has become anti-populist the posture to dangle a move against bandits as an achievement when they indeed deserve such as a right enshrined in our statutes.

The report from across most of the North West which hitherto provided thousands of tonnes in grains and other staples for the consumption of Nigerians suggests that we have unmitigated food crises on our hands, given the unrelenting onslaught of the terrorists in the region. It is worrisome that there is a systematic encroachment of the terrorists in other parts of the north which were not initially infiltrated by them, a situation that would further jeopardize food security in the country.

Several analysts have averred that if the state governors in the region who are chief security officers of their respective were decisive in curbing the menace of banditry which has graduated to ‘terrorism’, the situation would have long been nipped in the bud.

We quickly ask: What do the governors do with the humongous security vote often allocated to them? Why do they keep mum when several heinous attacks take place even when they could make some measure of response? Where the various intelligence reports are often generated which could serve as a basis to track bandits?

AljazirahNigeria puts the governors to task on the growing spate of insecurity in their states by going outside the borders of established and unworkable tactics.

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