With the specter of violence sweeping across the North,it will be an understatement to say the region is now under siege. In many communities,gunmen have continued to have a field day. Agricultural and livestock productions have been badly affected because the peasants involved in such vocation are have been disorganized by banditry and insurgency.
The security agents appear to be overwhelmed as the bandits and terrorists seem so daring,unstoppable and destructive. It is against this background that some indigens of Katsina are appealing to President Buhari to champion the law that will allow ordinary citizens to carry arms to defend themselves. Some governors, from Kaduna to Katsina,have already apologized as chief security officers of their respective states for the carnage being experienced and also calling for help from the Federal Government.
Insecurity of life and property is of serious concern to them. Daily,it has become a recurring decimal,especially in rural parts of their regions,to count losses in human lives and property. It was either through attacks and invasion by terrorist groups code named Ansaru in the Northwest ,or by the seemingly unorganized guerrilla fighters of the Boko Haram sect in the Northeast.
Contemporary war analysts say the groups now unleash mayhem on this part of Nigeria under the aegis of the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, an offshoot of international terrorist organizations with overt sources of funding and undisclosed origin of sophisticated armoury and ammunition. The Ansaru bandits and Boko Haram insurgents,have threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria in their actions and utterances.
Till date,they have continued to disrupt the peace previously enjoyed in the guise of enforcing their violent and unacceptable Islamic beliefs on some parts of the country. In the Northwest,the Ansaru militants,said to have taken advantage of the porosity of Nigeria’s borders with Niger and Benin Republics,have infiltrated and turned some neglected forest into their territories.
Nigeria,with her landmass,due to alleged outright neglect and,or,complacency by successive governments ,has been described as a country with huge ungoverned spaces. The submission,wailing and cries of the wife of a local monarch killed by bandits in the ‘Yantumaki community of Kaduna state,summed up the hopelessness and despair,in many rural folks. “ They came in numbers, wielding dangerous weapons.
I heard my late husband reciting prayers from the Qur’an. They shot and killed him….in our presence. Oh Allah!!!! Where is the government? Who will take care of our numerous children? Is this how the government will allow these bandits to be killing us? Oh Allah where is the Government? Where….! “ she screamed amidst sobs in a VOA Hausa report.
That was the situation across the North. Some were reported,others only discussed in groups by the affected , often without any attendant reaction as security operatives appeared to lack the capacity and wherewithal to be everywhere. Many still remember how the Bakale and other neighboring communities in Chikun and Giwa Local Government areas of Kaduna state,were turned into a temporary theater of war. At a point, an attack virtually neutralized, an entire community.
In the most gory manner ,the daredevil bandits, heartless and determined to inflict a high sense of fear ,had locked up a number of individuals in one room,and set them ablaze. Gory. Just in March 2020, Governor Nasiru Ahmad El Rufa’i of Kaduna state had visited locals whose communities were invaded by bandits. He rendered apologies to the affected and said there won’t be any negotiation with the terrorists.
He was firm. The Governor was told by the locals who lost their loved ones in the attack on Giwa and Igabi Local Government Areas of Kaduna state,that casualty figure was over 50. A visibly disturbed El-Rufa’i had said that the casualties could have been more but for the intervention of security personnel on land and in the air. “It could have been worse,” he said. The lawmaker representing the troubled communities in the House of Reps, Hon.Alhaji Ibrahim,has sought the intervention of the Federal Government.
He told the BBC Hausa service that the area and other parts of the state were in a state of emergency ,because bandits often killed indiscriminately in the area.”Buhari should come to our rescue, we need Federal Government’s intervention,” he had said. Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina state ,was engage the bandits in talks that did not take long to fail. Oblivious of the fact that hardly could terrorist groups with no central leadership keep to agreements ,the rural state was enmeshed in renewed wave of killings. The governor,like his counterpart, had to apologize and admitted inability to protect the locals. As the attacks on Kaduna rural communities heightened, locals in Giwa Local Government might have decided to take their destiny in own hands.
Those in Karaukarau village had confronted the bandits who stormed the locality during a wedding ceremony. Ten women who were being abducted were rescued by the villagers. The bandits could have turned them into sex slaves in the thick forests. But three women were not lucky. They were taken by the bandits
. The villagers appealed to the authorities to help secure the release of the three nursing mothers. A community leader ,Muhammadu Sani Bakale, told journalists that the gunmen targeted a wedding ceremony in the village,stormed the community on bikes and abducted 13 women including nursing mothers.
Speaking in Hausa,he said “ because of the curfew imposed on the state, the bandits were looking for soft targets in villages to get food. They came on Tuesday afternoon and unleashed violence while our people ,mostly women were celebrating a wedding that took place.” “ But when the locals came out in numbers and took arms against the bandits,10 women were rescued.
Sadly,they ran away with three nursing mothers,” he said. From Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna,farming communities have become the major targets. In collaboration with local informants,villages in these states were sacked and many were murdered in cold blood principally by the Ansaru wing of ISWAP who still lurch in bushes and caves.