The federal government of Nigeria this week announced the suspension of mining activities in Zamfara state to check the activities of bandits and criminals who have made the state a by word for impudent criminality. The action of the federal government, which was conveyed by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is seen
The federal government of Nigeria this week announced the suspension of mining activities in Zamfara state to check the activities of bandits and criminals who have made the state a by word for impudent criminality.
The action of the federal government, which was conveyed by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is seen by many critics as a knee jerk response to the escalating insecurity and killings in the state and other north western states of Katsina and part of Kaduna, for several months.
In announcing the decision, the Acting Inspector General said it was taken because “intelligence report has clearly established a strong and glaring nexus between the activities of armed bandits and illicit miners — with both mutually re-enforcing each other.”
“The operation is aimed at reclaiming every public space under the control of the bandits, arrest and bring to book all perpetrators of violence in the area and their collaborators, achieve a total destruction of all criminal camps and hideouts, mop up all illicit weapons fueling the violence and attain a full restoration of law and order in the affected communities.
“Our commitment at protecting the sanctity of life and property is irrevocable, and we will not scale-down the pressure on the armed bandits until they are totally flushed-out,” he said.
While the long suffering people of Zamfara, who have suffered years of killings, rape and kidnappings seem to have welcomed government renewed, albeit belated, attempt at stamping its authority and stopping the years of brigandage, many see the move as a kind of window dressing that will, like other efforts before it wither away soon.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Operation Harbin Kunama in July, 2016 to combat banditry and kidnapping in the state. Although the ceremony attracted a high profile military presence, the security situation in the state continued to deteriorate and as some critics say, worsen with time.
Although the attention for the moment seems to be concentrated in Zamfara state, the situation is symptomatic of the worsening security situation in the north western states of Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and part of Kaduna which borders Zamfara state.
In Katsina for instance, the governor, Bello Masari told the Acting Inspector General of police who visited the state on Wednesday this week that the insecurity situation was so dire that some eight local governments out of the state’s 34 local governments had been taken over by bandits.
He said “in other parts of the state, we also have kidnappers who not only take people on the road but in the comfort of their homes,” he added, citing the “unfortunate incidence of the governor’s in-law who was taken in the comfort of her home”
The eight local governments that have been taken over by bandits in the state are Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Dan-Musa, Faskari, Sabuwa, Dandume and Kankara.
In Kaduna state, apart from the security challenge in the southern part where the local communities and Fulani herdsmen are locked in an internecine conflict, indigenes of Birnin Gwari local government which borders Zamfara state have been enduring relentless attacks and killings from the armed bandits who even give advance notices before moving into villages to kill and maim and kill. In fact, in Birnin Gwari twelve soldiers and a number of policemen who were sent to protect the people from the armed bandits became victims themselves as they were brutally murdered.
Sokoto state is not spared from the bloodletting that seems to be gradually but steadily taking over the north western states mentioned above. In the most recent attacks, 16 persons were brutally murdered by bandits in Rabah local government area of the state in February. This is in addition to the 26 persons that were killed in three districts of Warwana, Tabkin Kwasa and Dutsi in same Rabah local government in January.