By - Adedoyin Shittu
At least 154 people were killed in different attacks across Nigeria just last week. Another nine people were kidnapped in separate incidents last week, according to Newspaper reports.
Nigeria in her vastness is within the firm grip of kidnappers, armed robbers, herdsmen, bandits and insurgents.
Breakdown of Attacks reported by News Dailies last week in Nigeria
On Sunday, June 9, the presidency announced the attack by armed bandits on “scores of people” in three communities in Rabah Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State.
The bandits who were in large numbers engaged in indiscriminate shooting from around 5 p.m. on Saturday till early Sunday morning in Kalhu, Tsage and Geeri villages near Gandi, after which they carted away hundreds of cows, sheep and other valuables.
The Governor of the state, Aminu Tambuwal, attended the funeral of 25 persons killed in the attack by bandits.
Also on Sunday, some students of Plateau State University were attacked by suspected herdsmen, killing one undergraduate and raping another female.
In a separate incident, a woman, Olawumi Adeleye, and her stepson, Destiny Paul, were abducted on the Airport Road, in Osi town in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State on their way from church on Sunday evening.
According to a family member, suspected herdsmen blocked the road with cows, forcing the victims, who were in a Lexus car, to stop. They were thereafter abducted and taken to an unknown destination by the bandits.
According to a source from the family, the kidnappers contacted the woman’s husband and demanded N10 million ransom after some hours
Going to the South East, the Ebonyi State Police Command confirmed the killing of two children in the Umuogoakpu-Ngbo community, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, by yet-to-be-identified persons.
The assailants were said to have butchered seven-year-old son, Chinonso, and his other four-year-old son, Chukwudi, in the presence of their mother on Sunday.
On Tuesday, June 11, the Ondo State Police Command arrested a herdsman, who was said to be among a team of kidnappers who attempted to abduct the monarch of Osi in Akure North Local Government Area of the state, David Olajide.
On the same day, gunmen stormed Rigasa Community of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State and abducted four women including a nursing mother. According to the police, the four women were later rescued with the exception of the nursing mother.
Also on Tuesday, the village head of Garin Labo in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State was abducted at about 1 p.m. on his farm.
Wednesday, June 12, did not go without any action of its own; gunmen attacked travellers on the Ife-Ibadan Expressway at Ikire and shot dead an employee of the Atakumosa West Local Government Area of Osun State, Samson Adenipekun.
The police in Ekiti State also confirmed the beheading of a lady by a herder believed to be the deceased’s husband in Ilasa Ekiti, Ekiti East Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday. Investigations into the incident had commenced and the suspect had been arrested.
On the same day, a Nigerian Army lieutenant colonel and at least 20 other soldiers were killed in action after Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military formation in Borno State. Islamic State’s West African branch (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack
On Thursday, June 13, more than 70 people were confirmed killed by bandits in an attack that involved eight communities in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
Gunmen also kidnapped the wife of the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Abigail Gambo.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Taraba State also David confirmed the abduction of the Chief Executive Officer of Our Nation Bread company, from his house at Magami area of Jalingo
On Friday, June 14, suspected bandits attacked three villages in Shinkafi local government of Zamfara State killing at least 34 people.
The security state of the country is worrisome and Nigeria was recently ranked to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and more unsafe than war-torn Libya.
The security state in Nigeria is neglected by the public, the media and the politicians and if nothing is done about it soon, it will engulf the whole nation.
Attacks in Nigeria goes by many names and “armed bandit” is the recent name attackers are called joining a long and still growing list for insecurity in Nigeria, a list that includes that Boko Haram, cultists, herdsmen, kidnappers and militants.
No longer are these attackers limited to the villages but they have advanced further in their scheme by kidnapping prominent men and women for huge ransom.
Crime used to be initially pinpointed on unemployment and poverty of the youth but recent attacks in the country goes beyond
Bandits and killer herdsmen on the rampage
No day goes by that action of these two is not reported and it has become a common occurrence that Nigerians are no longer moved by their action. Kidnapping is also carried out by these people and the ransom paid to them strengthen them to get more ammunition.
Last year, it was herdsmen that filled our airwaves as they caused mayhem in states in Nigeria especially in the middle belt states where they concentrated their attacks.
Many voiced their concern that these killer herdsmen were not foreigners but men from neighbouring countries who entered into Nigeria illegally to cause mayhem. This year it is the bandits that are on patrol, though the herdsmen are still in action of causing troubles especially in local communities.
In fact just between January to March, it was recorded that 288 lives were lost in bandits attack just in Zamfara state alone – the state worse hit by the bandit action in the country. North West states are the states mostly hit by the actions of the bandits though they are in operation in almost all the states in the country.
The herdsmen also have been able to infiltrate every area of the country as a result of their profession. Though their action is not full blown like last year, nevertheless they are still engaging in illicit activities and also gaining territories.
It was reported on yesterday, June 16, by PUNCH newspaper that residents of towns and villages along the Opara Forest Reserve in Oyo State and Imeko Forest Reserve in Ogun State are living in fear following the invasion of the two reserves by herdsmen from African countries like Burkina Faso, Mali among others.
Residents said the Imeko forest reserve is twice the size of Ibadan and the Opara forest reserve is three times the size of the Imeko forest reserve and the government is doing absolutely nothing about the foreigners invasion.
Who are these Attackers?
As said earlier, these attackers are not Nigerians but from neighbouring countries. Speaking concerning the issue of insecurity, Olusegun Obasanjo revealed that Boko Haram and herdsmen acts of violence have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalized with ISIS in control.
According to him, “It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as, it is now West African fulanization, African Islamization and global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change”.
The government should not sit with folded arms and claim that poverty or unemployment of the youth is fuelling these attacks, it is not so.
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Metropolitan See, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie in a statement titled: “Nigeria is under attack”, also threw his weight behind former President Olusegun Obasanjo who spoke of “Fulanisation and Islamisation”. Okogie on Tuesday, June 11, said the ex president was ‘pointing to an open secret, and that is: there is a synergy between Boko Haram, herdsmen and ISIS. This synergy, leading to a gradual implementation of the Islamisation agenda of ISIS, is what is being referred to as “Fulanisation and Islamisation”. It is about’ the imposition by ISIS of its own version of Islam. Whoever opposes it, be that person Christian or Muslim or Fulani, is eliminated.
The identity of these attackers, be it bandits or herdsmen, they are suspected to be foreigners.
The government response to the issue of insecurity in the country
Last year when the herdsmen were ravaging the middle belt, retired Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma raised an alarm of an ethnic cleansing in the middle belt and called on the people of the region to take responsibility for their own security having lost confidence in the government. What was the response of the government? Insults and name calling. He was also accused of inciting Christians with falsehood, he was also accused of killing more Christians when in power than other administrations.
In what has become the presidential aides fashion, they accused the former statesman, Olusegun Obasanjo, also of trying to incite a religion war because he gave his speech in a church.
The government is not ready to take responsibility for the lives of the people that elected them into position but instead they point fingers on the past dispensations on issues that is presently destabilising the whole nation.
Even the claim by the government that Boko Haram has been technically defeated continue to sound hollow as a break out faction from the set have continued to attack both civilians and security officers with impunity. Yet what we get every time is assurance that the government is set to tackle the issue of insecurity. For how long will it take the government to start tackling it?
Then we have the issue of the herdsmen and bandits which are treated with kid gloves by the government and none is brought to book. Imagine the Zamfara State new Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Usman Nagogo, saying that he would deploy dialogue, as against fire power, to tackle the unrest in the state. He said the government has also opened channels of communication to recover 13 to 15 different calibres of arms, including a rocket launcher and there is some level of trust between the government and the bandits.
It is time the government stop the labelling of criminals; Bandits, armsmen or herdsmen as it were should be called what they really are “TERRORIST” and they should be treated as such. No negotiating or rehabilitation should be done with them and they should be treated as the criminals they are. Also a state of emergency should be called on the security level in the country.
I believe the first step the government can take is by acting on our porous borders and the issue of corruption by customs and immigration officers.
Nigeria borders is free for all especially borders bordering the northern state. Half of the population in Zamfara and Borno – both are border states – are foreigners who enter Nigeria illegally. Herdsmen also come all the way from Mali for pasture. It is high time we take charge of our 4 borders.
Also the issue of corruption should be tackled at the border, custom officials look the other way when bribed as arms and ammunition is smuggled into the country. This should also be penalised with the highest level of State punishment.
Nigeria is under siege and the country is at war with some riffraff but the government does know it yet. Everyday, more than two persons is killed in a terrorist attack but the government choose to call it by another name. It is time the Nigerian government take the lives of the people who voted them into power serious before the war consumes us all.
Follow us on Twitter @aprecon
Follow on Instagram @_aprecon
Like our Page on FB @aprecon
Copyright © The African Progressive Economist 2019. All Rights Reserved.