Gov Bagudu and the burden of security in Kebbi
By Habibu Bawa
There’s no point denying what is obvious, the once peaceful and conducive state is becoming a den for kidnappers, country home for bandits, and epicenter of senseless killings with villages razed, cattles rustled and farmers and farmlands maimed by bandits in boundary Local Governments of Sakaba, Danko-wasagu and Fakai. A situation made worse by the near absence of community vigilante and poor policing mechanisms at the hinterlands.
These herders cum bandits who before now solely rely on sticks and rarely machetes for their cattle now move on Boxer motorbikes carrying AK47 and other dangerous rifles in broad daylight attacking villagers and destroying their properties and for several times, overpowering the few security agents around.
Even as we usually see in neighbouring states, governors do manage to personally visit the scenes in heavy security to speak grammar in the name of condemnation, sympathize to attract headlines while pretending to be inspecting damages, in Kebbi, it’s always the deputy governor left hapless with the responsibility.
While governor Bagudu could perchance be hailed for prompt payment of salaries and humanly policies, the atrocities committed by bandits can be said to have not attracted the Governor’s sympathy on victims as none of the recent triggered his presence nor any decisive action by the state.
An average Kebbi indigene will rush to point at the rice pyramids, fishes and conducive nature of the state whenever asked the pride of his state which is to our knowledge that, until there’s peace or let me say it directly, these bandits are defeated, nor agricultural, economic, social, political and even religious progress is possible.
At an international security conference in Kaduna in 2014, it was reported that President Jonathan ably represented by his deputy, Namadi Sambo was quoted saying “Terrorists and criminal elements now masquerade as herdsmen to inflict maximum damage on the peace, stability and security of the country”. This is believable in the types of atrocities they commit and the weapons they carry as against the simple, stick-holding Fulani cattle breeders.
These bandits are more dangerous, murderous and vicious than COVID, cancer and Malaria put together in one place. They attack mercilessly, kill senselessly and kidnap for ransom.
Last Sunday, they kill many including the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Sakaba Division, displaced dozens and rustle several cattles in Sakaba, Makuku and Janbinni by Kebbi/Niger boundaries, two weeks before they were in the same places though successfully halted, prior to that they’re in Unashi, Tadurga, Bena, Ayu along Kebbi/Zamfara boundaries several times leaving casualties. It was in the news that they killed a Muslim cleric recently in the state capital.
It’s said several times and it’s obvious that, Federal security agencies alone can’t uproot them, southern states are setting security agencies, some neighbouring states have Road Traffic Agencies to reduce the burden on Police yet Kebbi is sleeping with shells on fire.
There’s need for the State Government to do more by having a Community Vigilante to work hand and gloves with the Security Agencies for new synergy and information gathering from the grassroots. The situation in villages along state boundaries requires urgent attention and decisive actions.
Habibu Bawa writes from Zuru