Still on Banditry in the North
By Sani Danaudi Mohammed
The banditry activities have led to general and complex social violence and insecurity in the North Western and Central States of Nigeria for almost a decade. It has led to the destruction of lives and properties, displacement of thousands from their communities and a growing numbers of widows, widowers and orphan children with many now residing in camps as IDPs following armed bandits’ continued attacks on both farming and pastoral communities in some part of Northern Nigeria.
Kidnapping is a major problem in Nigeria in the early 21st century. Kidnapping by bandits and insurgents is among the biggest organised or gang crime in Nigeria and is a national security challenge and has become a source of great concerns to the Government and the Governed.
The Fiscal Federalism in Nigeria has failed in its core mandates in Uniting the nation and uplifting its status in the eyes of the world as the giant of Africa on more practical phases.The 36 States of the Federation solidly depends on Abuja monthly allocation for survival to feeds its subordinates.
Hoever, Political corruption and incompetent leadership can be found at all tiers of government. This, among other things, has led to feelings of economic and political marginalisation, real or perceived, among various parts of the population and many have been left to their own devices.
Consequently as the nation continued to bleeds ,to the suprised of the world both ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the opposition People Democratic party (PDP) has continue to pay lip service to the ongoing carnage against Nigerians.Though,President Muhammadu Buhari has campaigned on three key issues ,Corruption,Economy and above all the Insecurity.
Fulanis race has been fingered as the foot soldiers while the masterminds may be from other ethnic groups.They are known to be cattle rearers for decades and today their only source of income has been wipe out due the cattle rustling and farmers/herders conflicts. Some of the herders recruited into the banditry who’s cattle being rustled and the fights with farmers have found a more lucrative revenue-generating operation.They have turned a Kidnapping for ransom and trading terror for community payoffs.
The bandits also include the opportunistic so criminally minded men, who may or may not be supported by some members of the Nigerian security force who, in a gradually collapsing economy, also find this a lucrative way of exploiting Nigerians.There is also the possibility that some are remnants of the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram in the northeast, who have been dislodged by the group’s other faction, now aligned to ISIL as ISWAP
Since the launching of the Kaduna ,Abuja train route,The bitter truth is that top ranking politicians became accustomed to standing in the coaches whenever they were congested, rather than taking the highways in their luxury cars with security convoys.Even though the axis of tragedy cuts across parts of the south, it is central and especially northwest Nigeria that continue to suffer the most.In some villages, they have even become the law, taxing locals on a regular basis.
For nearly a century, small bands of cattle rustlers have been invading villages in the north for cows and food. That has often led them into direct conflict with farmers and other locals in these areas. These unresolved confrontations are some of key factors that gave birth to the current spite of killings and kidnapping for Ransom in Nigeria.
To end banditry in the North for a sustainable Peace and development,Government must start building trust with local communities vulnerable to attacks by bandits. The Federal and the States Government should set up early warning and response systems, working with vigilantes and community leaders.
They should begin to address the structural inequalities that drive people to violence, like poverty,Free and compulsory education,create opportunity for all and stop government citizenry mistreatment by ensuing that protection of lives and property form theirprimary responsibility beyond statements read on the pages of Newspapers.
The military in particular should redirect its attention to controlling the trafficking in small arms and light weapons, specifically by patrolling porous national borders. Banditry is not a problem that will be solved through the barrel of a gun but it will be history if appropriate steps are adopted.
In the end ,The Masses must be Security cautious while resorting to Prayers especially this period of Ramadan and Easter because the bandits are not ghost but are humans dinning in our midst.
Danaudi,National President of Arewa Youths advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative.
Writes from Bauchi via [email protected]