LAST week, Katsina State governor, Honourable Aminu Bello Masari, vowed that he would no longer negotiate with bandits in the state. His grouse was that they had reneged on an agreement reached with the state government. According to him, they promised to repent and leave the North-West, but “they did not honor the agreement; they betrayed us.” Speaking to BBC Hausa in a live Instagram interview, Masari said: “We choose to sign a peace agreement with the bandits so as to avoid loss of lives and properties but it didn’t yield a positive result. This time around, we will hand things over to the security personnel. In our effort to honour the agreement between us, we abolished all vigilantes and volunteer groups and we allowed them (bandits) to continue with their normal activities in the state.”
Governor Masari’s qualms are understandable, but there is no evidence to suggest that he will have a reprieve anytime soon. The felons are having themselves a ball: they have discovered that the Nigerian state is fickle and tenuous, and are exploiting the situation to criminal advantage. In November 2019, the Masari administration released six bandits detained by security agencies in exchange for some abducted persons. At the time, Dandume, Sabuwa, Faskari, Kankara, Safana, Danmusa, Batsari and Jibiya local government areas in the state had come under intense attacks. Actually, Masari is not alone in his dilemma: in Zamfara State, the felons saw the amnesty granted them by the state government as a compromise reached by two parties of equal weight at the negotiating table, with some latitude on both sides. This was of course not the outcome expected by a government that had bent over and backwards, allowing criminals to go scot-free just to achieve peace. In January, scoffing at the amnesty granted them, the bandits unleashed terror on the state, killing 31 persons in cold blood. In Kaduna State, an exasperated Governor Nasir el-Rufai has also just threatened to deal with the bandits terrorising the state.
Across the states of the North, particularly the North-West, the bandits have increasingly grown in daring and ferocity, constantly subjecting communities to the most painful barbarities. In spite of the interventions by the Nigerian state to checkmate the situation, mindless killings, displacement of thousands and destruction of property remain the order of the day. The bandits recently abducted the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Nasarawa State, Bishop Joseph Masin, letting him go only after receiving a ransom. According to reports, three vehicles were sold to raise the ransom. This week, fresh attacks in Taraba State reportedly raised the death toll to 17. The bandits attacked Maigoge ,Maihula, Ananum and Akate communities in the state, taking lives at will. Penultimate week, bandits killed 18 persons in Faskari and Batsari local government areas of Katsina State.
On its part, the Federal Government seems quite upbeat about its spurious tactics. On Sunday, June 7, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to intensify his administration’s response to banditry. Last week, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, said that more than 300 armed bandits were killed and their camps destroyed in a military operation in Katsina State. He warned bandits to surrender their arms or face justice, urging soldiers not to spare any of them in an effort to allow farmers to return to their livelihoods. And on Tuesday, the Defence Headquarters indicated that the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji had destroyed another camp of bandits and killed many of them at Kwayanbana Forest in Zamfara. According to the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche, the air strike was carried out on June 7 in continuation of the air operations being conducted under Operation Accord. The feat, Enenche said, was achieved after intelligence reports and series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions established that some makeshift structures were hidden under the dense forest vegetation.
As we noted in previous editorials, the Buhari-led Federal Government, intent on preserving the iniquitous status quo, has consistently opposed the clamour for the restructuring of the country, an integral part of which is the creation of state police. Nurturing the false belief that a country as geographically, ethnically and religiously diverse as Nigeria can be policed centrally, it has continued the pernicious practice of reducing the 36 state governors in the country to helpless chief executives falsely branded Chief Security Officers. While a core essence of organised society is to ensure that bandits and other felons are not given free rein over the populace, there is nothing to suggest that the country as presently constituted can achieve that objective. For as long as it is policed centrally, for so long will the country experience the kind of ludicrous situation in which a governor threatens to cease parleying with bandits who should have been put behind bars in the first place. Governor Masari gave the bandits latitude “to continue with their normal activities in the state,” because he was helpless, not because he really wanted to. This situation has to change.
To be sure, we appreciate the ongoing military offensive against bandits. But the country’s security problems require much more. Decentralisation is the key. The government should not leave the proverbial leprosy unattended to while treating ringworm.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Why Schools Must Remain Shut For Now ― Minister
PARENTS and school children anxious for reopening schools will have to wait a little more as the Federal Government on Monday insisted that the schools remain shut for now. Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, speaking on Monday at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 news briefing described as fake news timetables purported released from the Ministry of Education on the conduct of West African Examination Council examinations being circulated on the social media… Read full story
After Pressure From Govs, Buhari Delays Gazetting Of Executive Order On Autonomy For State Legislatures, Judiciary
Pressured by state governors, President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to delay the gazetting of Executive Order 10, which he recently signed, to grant autonomy to state legislature and judiciary… Read full story
COVID-19: Nigeria Records 315 New Cases, Total Now 12,801
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 315 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 12,801… Read full story
60% Of 979 Mysterious Deaths In Kano Due To COVID-19 ― PTF
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) said on Monday that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in April in Kano, during what was popularly known as Kano mysterious deaths. The Task Force, however, revealed during its daily briefing on Monday that 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the mysterious deaths were due to… Read full story
Nigeria’s Economy To Contract By 3.2% As Global Economy Shrinks By 5.2% ― World Bank
The World Bank, on Monday, projected a 3.2 per cent contraction for Nigeria’s economy even as it said that the global economy would shrink by 5.2 per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune Online reports that the World Bank’s projection is 0.2 per cent lower than the one announced by the Federal Government in… Read full story
AfDB: Organised Labour Calls On US, World Powers To Respect African Choice
The Organised Labour has unanimously called on the United States (US) and other world powers with interests in the African Development Bank (AfDB) to allow the will and choice of African countries who are satisfied with the stewardship of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, as President of the bank… Read full story
As COVID-19 Bites Harder, Nigeria Risks Food Crisis
No doubt, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on global food production where farmers find it difficult to access their farms and inputs due to lockdown or fear of being infected. Some international food organisations in the recent past had raised alarm over the looming food crisis if… Read full story
Gov Sule Sacks SSG
Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has sacked the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed-Tijani.Ahmed-Tijjani was Commissioner for Education in the administration of Sen. Umaru Al-Makura, immediate past governor of the state… Read full story
Provide Corruption Evidence Against NASS Members, Group Tells NDDC
A group of concerned youth in Delta State under the auspices of Progressive Delta Youths (PDY) has challenged the management of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to make public the evidence of corruption linking members of the National Assembly to any form of fraud in the Commission… Read full story
COVID-19: Nigeria Has Carried Out 80,000 Tests ― PTF
After 100 days Nigeria recorded its index COVID-19 case, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic said it had tested 80,000 citizens for the infection. It has also built its testing laboratory capacity from two to 30 with a laboratory in every geopolitical zone in the country, providing increased access to testing… Read full story
Delta Cleric Charged With Alleged Rape As Victim Narrates Sexual Encounter
The Founder/General Overseer of Victory Revival Fasting and Prayer Ministry, Bishop Elijah Orhonigbe, was on Monday in Warri, Delta State arraigned in court for the alleged rape of a teenage girl in the church auditorium. The nineteen-year-old girl (name withheld) was allegedly raped during a private deliverance… Read full story
Nigerian Students Deny Harassment Claims Against Chinese Government
A group of Nigerian students studying in China under the auspices of Coalition of Nigerian Students in China (CNSC), has denied claims that Nigerians in the country are being harassed the Chinese government. President of the group, Umar Abukabar, in a statement made available to the media on Monday, in Abuja, denounced… Read full story
EDITORIAL: Barakat Bello: Yet Another Rape Killing
WHILE Nigerians were still reeling in shock over the case of Vera Omozuwa, a year-one student of Microbiology at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State, who was raped and then bludgeoned to death by her assailants with a fire extinguisher while studying at the Miracle Sanctuary Mega Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Benin, their sensibilities were again assaulted by yet another barbaric incident… Read full story