It is about time such a seminar is held. And there might be no better place than one very close to, arguably, the heartland of banditry in contemporary Nigeria – Zamfara State.
An Historian is stepping forward to do exactly that, an academic ritual to which the Usmanu Dan Fodio University in Sokoto in Northwestern Nigeria is, however, inviting the entire country to participate.
It is possible that, with recent military exploits in the state, the university feels nothing about supplying the zoom details. Those details have, however, been removed from the announcement in this posting, leaving the basic invite as follows:
“This is to invite the General public to a University Seminar Series to be presented by Dr. M.A. Rufai scheduled via Zoom meeting.
Topic: I am a Bandit: A Decade of Research in Zamfara Bandit’s Den
Time: Sep 9, 2021, 03:45 PM West Central Africa”
It is not clear if students of political violence have found a universally accepted definition for the concept of banditry. That of terrorism still has no definition that is universally accepted. Different centres of power use their own definition. Although the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews in Scotland might have, by now, come out with such an acceptable definition, it will not be surprising if they still have not. Terrorism is difficult to define.
What banditry is might be even more trickily? Has it got a meaning beyond the common sense imagination of it? This seminar might have a conceptual value added!