BANDITRY IN NIGERIA: Time to Go Gruesome!!!
I watched with delight, a chat with Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the indefatigable governor of Kaduna state, on a BBC Hausa TV programme, A Fada A Cika, where-in he proffered superb suggestions that could be deployed in dastardly defeating the bandits.
I’ve heard similar suggestions from experts on guerilla warfare, but no one was as explicit as Mallam Nasir, who was unequivocal, in his recommendations of how best to annihilate the terrorists. In simple terms, Mallam said, those who deprive others of life and property, have no justification to enjoy same. I can’t agree more. If you choose to disrespect the law, the law should be chosen to chase you. Yes, those who live by the sword must die by the sword.
Since 2009, when Boko Haram started, no fewer than one million people have lost their lives, as estimates put those displaced from their homes in excess of 3 million, a situation that is threatening to trigger a regional food crisis and famine.
Then came the additional catastrophe of banditry, kidnapping and unexplained violence, that are visited on the people of Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina states, all in the north-western part of Nigeria. Death, dirt and degradation are fast becoming the destiny of the people of northern Nigeria, due to the dastard activities of criminals.
Initially, banditry began as a farmer/herder conflict sometimes around 2011 and as a build up to the general elections in 2015, when pressure was building against the regime of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, cattle rustling, kidnapping for ransom, sexual violence and killings were added to the shopping list of the transgressors.
Sources mentioned that more than 20 million people living in these areas have been exposed to insecurity from the activities of criminals.
The discovery of solid minerals, mainly gold, and the activities of illegal miners competing for the control of these reserves, have combined to further compound the atrocities of armed bandits terrorizing the north west region.
Sources said by March 2020, more than 200, 000 people have been internally displaced, while the violence has affected about 35 out of 92 local government areas in the four states under siege.
The latest is the attack in Kankara, Katsina State, where on the eve of the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari, for a private visit to his home town of Daura, more than 800 schoolboys were abducted from a secondary school in Kankara, a town that is in the same region with the President’s home town.
The abductors, who stormed the Government Science School on motorbikes late on Friday, engaged security guards in a fierce gun battle, forcing hundreds of students to flee and hide in the surrounding bushes.
Up till now, it’s a tell of different tales, from different sources. While the government is saying they have knowledge of where the abducted children are, and that the abductors, Boko Haram, have made contact with them for a ransom demand, Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader is giving a counter claim.
In all, the trauma of the public, particularly the parents, is only getting terrifying. The Kankara incidence is the biggest abduction ever carried out by the Boko haram, where more than 400 boys, mostly muslims, are yet to be accounted for. The first attack on school children was on the night of 14–15 April 2014, when 276, mostly Christian female students were kidnapped from a Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State.
In the BBC Hausa chat, Governor El-Rufai said they have made suggestions for the Government to be ruthless and merciless, on a people that are always pitiless.
He maintained that if the military can combine air and ground powers, through a sustained bombardment of the enemy enclaves, and a collective and coordinated combing by the army and the police on ground, the criminals can be killed in their dens with bombs, while those who managed to escape the air sorties, can be killed easily by the bullets of the ground forces that encircled them.
I don’t know why the Government is reluctant in taking such gruesome approach. Since the government said it has the greatest interest in preventing such atrocities, it should use the strongest and harshest method of flushing out those behind the atrocities.
These harsh approaches should also be supported by harsh punishments to those that are aiding the criminals. To deter those in aid, death penalty should be visited on connivers, particularly those that are using their knowledge of the law, to help in subverting, scamming or traumatizing the public.
Governor El-Rufai’s suggestion has come at a time when the CJN, Mr. Tanko Mohammad, on Monday the 14th of December, 2020, at the marking of the 2020/2021 legal calendar, and the swearing in of 72 newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria, one of whom is Mr Nureini Jimoh, warned that lawyers who engaged in unprofessional conduct would be severely sanctioned.
If kidnappers are sentenced or killed in their dens or publicly executed, those aiding the crime, who are nothing but potential murderers, would think twice before conniving with any criminal.
Yes, I subscribe totally to the gruesome approach of Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, in tackling banditry and kidnapping in Nigeria.
Mr Ibrahim writes from Abuja