By Ali Sabo
The recent rise of insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the North-Western 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 uprising of the security 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 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 the 28th of August, 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 has resulted to a temporary halting of attacks in the state which has now become 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 force 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 have been deserted for long and many people are being forced into IDP camps in their own states which is 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 of people’s movements including inter-states travels. One might be tempted to ask “is the lockdown only for the peaceful citizens”
Between 24th -27th of May this year alone, more than 70 people were killed in Sabon Birni Local Government in Sokoto state. In Katsina state also many communities have become 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 demanded ransom. 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 the authorities to act and deal decisively with bandits but it’s always going into the deaf ears of those at the helm of our affairs. Last week, the honorable member, representing Gwiwa, Kazaure, Roni and Yankashi federal constituency has raised the issue in the Green chamber describing the recent attacks as insensitive and as 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 lack of seriousness from the presidency and 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 is the Communication Officer of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD). He can be reached either on his email address: email@example.com or his twitter handle: @a_sabo12