By Ali Sabo
The renewed rise in insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the Northwestern part of the country, has become the most disturbing and trending issue these days with no sign of ending soon. In my article of May 5th, 2019 “Insecurity: Is APC failing on its Major Campaign Promise” I raised some thought-provoking questions on whether the ruling party has finally abandoned its campaign promises and started chasing shadows and who is really to blame for the recent rising insecurity challenges in the hitherto most peaceful region of the country. The Executive Governor of Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammad Buhari has on several occasions cried and complained about how bandits are terrorizing the state and roaming the streets freely. Of recent, in what looks like a child’s play, the governor publicly announced in a bitter voice how the bandits reneged from the peace accord they signed with the state government last year.
To refresh the minds of the readers, on August 28th, 2019 the state governor, Aminu Bello Masari, signed a ceasefire agreement (Peace Accord) with the leaders of the bandits in the state and granted amnesty (which many analysts faulted) to many of them which then resulted in a temporary halting of attacks in the state. But the attacks are back and the ceasefire has now turned into a mirage.
The continued attacks, looting, kidnapping, raping and killing of the people in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states have cast fear in the minds of many people in the states and forced a significant number of residents to abandon their communities. Even before the lockdown, many of the villages in the states have become no go areas, some villages having been deserted for long and many people are being forced into IDP camps in their own states, posing great humanitarians crisis in the region. The most baffling part of the attacks is how the bandits are finding their ways to these villages despite the restrictions on people’s movements including inter-states travels. One might be tempted to ask “is the lockdown only for the peaceful citizens”
Between May 24th – 27th, 2020 alone, more than 70 people were killed in Sabon Birni Local Government in Sokoto State. In Katsina State also, many communities have come under partial control by the bandits who imposed their new constitution on the residents. The bandits have become the alpha and omega in those areas, dictating how people in those communities live, they decide who dies and who lives, who marries and who doesn’t. They abduct residents in broad daylight and demand ransom from their families and kill victims whose families failed to pay the ransom demanded. Many voices, including state and federal representatives from these areas displayed their disappointment on how the issue is being handled, they have on many occasions called the attention of the authorities about how the situation is getting out of hands and demanding that the authorities act and deal decisively with bandits. It has been a dialogue with the deaf, the deaf being those at the helm of our affairs.
Last week, the Honorable member representing Gwiwa, Kazaure, Roni and Yankashi Federal constituency raised the issue in the Green Chamber, describing the recent attacks as insensitive as and worse than the current Covid19 pandemic we are fighting. Not only him, many members of Katsina State House of Assembly have also raised similar voices in the past, but their cries all went into the thin air.
Recent attacks and obvious lack of either what to do or of seriousness from the presidency in terms of positioning the security agencies to perform one of their primary responsibilities of protecting lives and properties left one with no choice than to believe that the lives, dignity and properties of the poor people in the country only matter when it comes to voting.
Ali Sabo, the author and the Communication Officer of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) can be reached either on his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or his twitter handle: @a_sabo12