NORTH-WEST Nigeria is gradually becoming the most dangerous region and theatre of violence in the country, much like its sister region, the North-East, where the operations of Boko Haram insurgencies almost shut down socio-economic activities. The case here is indiscriminate kidnapping and banditry, especially in Katsina and Zamfara states.
The rampant kidnapping and banditry in these states come as a surprise to many because it is not like the crisis of farmers/herders conflict. Initially, people did not pay attention to the issue, believing it was the normal crisis between farmers and herders.
This conflict which started in Zamfara later spread to neighbouring states, and there is the belief that the negligence of government then to control gold mining areas in the state was the major cause of the crisis.
In Katsina, banditry and kidnapping have taken different dimensions. The cattle meant for farming activities are now rustled; girls and women are being raped and kidnapped on a daily basis in the presence of their relatives.
Now the question in the minds of many is, who are these bandits in Katsina? What are they looking for and why does the governor want to engage them in dialogue and even grant them amnesty? The bandits in Zamfara were accused of attacks because of gold mining. Is this also the same in Katsina? No, Katsina’s case is totally different because there is no gold mining in the eight affected local government areas in the state. Some factors contributed to activities of bandits in Katsina. The state shares a boundary with Zamfara, which has been at the mercy of bandits. There is a correlation between insecurity and extreme poverty.
A situation where idle youths are roaming up and down poses security danger.
Are the security agencies also failing in their primary responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens? If that is the case, it is safe to say criminals are now the kings in Nigeria. While the government has failed to safeguard the lives of its citizens, the Emir of Katsina has been calling for special prayers.
Idris Mohammed, Abuja.