Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari has said it is ridiculous that citizens are not defending themselves against bandit attacks.
He made the comment on Friday while speaking at the Katsina police headquarters, where he inaugurated the Katsina Joint Security Operations and Communication Control Centre meant to assist security agencies operating in the state.
According to the Governor, Katsina residents cannot simply rely on security agencies to solve the problem of insecurity.
“Security is our responsibility,” the Governor said. “Why are we surrendering our responsibility to some people? I cannot see how more committed a police officer or military officer can be more than anyone of you.
“Why should I sit in my village and be only making telephone calls without doing nothing?
“Every bandit, every criminal has an address, has a location, and they are human beings like us. The only difference is that they have taken arms against us; does it mean we have nothing to take against them?
“Do we mean we should vacate all our villages, all our farms, all our houses, and surrender them to bandits, and wait for police officer Emeka all the way from Enugu to come to Katsina and rescue me? This is ridiculous. Why?
“I think part of what this Katsina initiative needs to do is to go round all these local governments, let us talk to the people, defend yourselves.”
The Nigerian army on Saturday said troops of 8 Division have neutralised bandits operating around Mayanchi-Dogo Karfe and Fagantama villages in Talata Marafa local government area of Zamfara State.
According to a statement signed by army spokesman, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the troops came under fire from the bandits but were able to overwhelm the gunmen and recovered one PKT rifle, a large cache of ammunition, and a motorcycle.
Elsewhere in the state, troops were also said to have overpowered five more bandits in Bingi village, Bungudu local government area.
Reacting to the feat, Major-General Farouk Yahaya encouraged the troops to sustain the aggressive posture in order to defeat all criminal elements operating in the North-West and other parts of the country.
He also appealed to communities in the North-West to support the soldiers with useful information to help them in their operations.
The Department of State Services on Friday said it has invited Kaduna-based cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi for questioning.
“Sheikh Gumi was invited by the Service,” the service’s spokesmperson, Peter Afunaya, said in a response to a Channels Television enquiry.
The spokesman added that “it is not out of place for it to invite any person of interest.”
However, the cleric, speaking to Channels Television after Friday mosque duties, said he is not aware of any invitation.
“Nobody invited me for questioning or any arrest,” he said.
Although the DSS did not confirm the rationale for the invitation, Sheikh Gumi has recently been outspoken on the issue of banditry in Nigeria.
According to the cleric, amnesty should be extended to bandits, who he says have been ‘forced’ into criminality due to, in part, government neglect.
In a recent interview, Gumi alleged that some military operatives actively connive with bandits to wreak havoc on the country.
Nigeria is currently dealing with a banditry scourge, especially in the North-West region.
Students are frequently kidnapped in schools and attacks on road travelers and communities are ubiquitous.
On Thursday, at least one person was killed and 33 others abducted in a community in Kaduna state.
However, Gumi, who has visited some bandit groups in the forests where they reside, has advocated for the bandits to be treated with compassion.
“When I listened to them, I found out that it is a simple case of criminality which turned into banditry, which turned into ethnic war, and some genocide too behind the scene; people don’t know,” Sheikh Gumi said in an interview with Channels Television last February.
The cleric said that while “there is no excuse for any crime; nothing can justify crime, and they are committing crime,” the bandits were forced into criminality.
“I think it is a population that is pushed by circumstances into criminality,” he said. “And this is what we should look, let’s remove the pressure, let’s remove the things that made them into criminals because we have lived thousands of years without any problems with the nomadic herdsmen. They are peaceful people. But something happened that led them to this.”
“In recent weeks, the act of banditry has reverted to the ugly dimensions it had prior to the coming of my administration. The marauders kill without regard for any rules of sanity. Women, the elderly, and children are not spared. As a result, a large number of people have been displaced in nearly every town in the State.
“My dear people of Zamfara people, you are witnesses to what we have accomplished from the beginning of our administration, particularly the peace and reconciliation efforts that we initiated and achieved. As a result, we have been able to shift our violent narratives to ones of optimism and peaceful coexistence.
“Unfortunately, things suddenly took a dramatic turn, and things are getting worse by the day. It is clear that some invincible hands are plotting evil against our people with the goal of making our State as terrifying as it were in the years gone by. My constant prayer is for Allah to reveal those who are perpetrating these cruel atrocities against our people.”
The Governor urged communities to defend themselves against the bandits while pledging his administration’s commitment to securing the state.
“I assure you that we will remain steadfast in our efforts to eradicate banditry and all types of criminality from the State,” he said. “In this battle, no sacred cow. Whosoever is involved in these dastardly acts, no matter how highly placed, would be dealt with according to the law.
“We have demonstrated this commitment based on the actions we have taken in respect of Emir of Maru, Emir of Dansadau and, following yesterday’s incident, the Emir of Zurmi.
“My administration has resolved to begin implementing the recommendations of the MD Abubakar-led Committee on Finding Solutions to Banditry in Zamfara State as a next step in addressing this vexing problem. We would not spare anyone indicted by the committee’s report, no matter how high up they are.”
The spokesperson of the command, SP Gambo Isah speaking during the parade of the suspects on Tuesday at the Katsina Police Command Headquarters said three locally-made weapons attached with some rounds of ammunition were recovered from some of the suspected bandits arrested at Kafur, Funtua, and Danja local government areas of the state.
One of the suspects, 18-year-old Mustapha Jibril of Kankara Local Government Area of the state was arrested for raping an 11-year-old girl.
The girl was reportedly sent on an errand by her parents when Jibril lured and forcefully raped her in an uncompleted building.
The command however warned parents to always look after their wards as the command will not leave any stone unturned in dealing decisively with activities of social miscreants otherwise known as Kauraye.
Banditry, kidnapping, and cattle rustling have been on the rise in Nigeria’s northern regions with residents living close to the forests falling victims of attacks.
This is despite repeated assurances from both federal and state governments as well as law enforcement operatives.
Banditry which was initially rife in the northwest has spread to other parts of the country. The mass abductions of schoolchildren have also continued to gain traction in the region with critics saying it will grossly affect school enrollment.
Residents of Gauraka community in Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State have blocked the Abuja-Kaduna highway to protest the incessant cases of kidnapping in the community.
The protesters burnt tyres and halted vehicular movement on the highway.
They demanded that the state and Federal Government boost security in the area and end the incessant attacks.
This comes after kidnappers stormed the area on Saturday and Sunday kidnapping at least fifteen persons from the community and killing three others.
There have been speculations about Boko Haram terrorists infiltrating Gauraka community after Governor Abubakar Bello announced that terrorists have hoisted their flags in some communities in Niger State in April.
Gauraka community is about five kilometres away from Nigeria’s seat of power, Abuja.
Residents lament that they have long lost sleep due to the activities of kidnappers who have continued to terrorise the community.
They explained that more than thirty people have been abducted from January to date.
Niger State has come under serious banditry attacks which have left hundreds of people killed, including security personnel, and more than fifteen thousand people displaced who are now taking shelter in temporary camps provided by the state government.
One person has been reported dead and 21 others mostly women and children abducted in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
An eyewitness told Channels Television that the armed bandits arrived in Batsari town at about 10:20 pm on Tuesday shooting sporadically and eventually abducted 21 persons.
Batsari is one of the Frontline Local Government Areas in Katsina State sharing borders with the dreaded Rugu forest where activities of armed bandits are persistently on the increase since the resurgence of banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnapping for ransom in the state.
The eyewitness explained that the hoodlums after rustling dozens of cattle, properties, and mobile phones worth millions of naira also killed a refugee of Bakon Zabuwa village, identified as Alhaji Hassan.
The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello on Tuesday met with security agencies and relevant stakeholders on how to curb banditry and address the insecurity in the state.
Bello who pointed out that he has monitored the movement of the IDPs said there was no cause for alarm as everything was moving smoothly.
“I am happy to announce that we have seen tremendous improvement, a lot of IDPs have gradually moved to their villages especially in Shiroro, Munya and Mariga local governments.
“We have at least 25 communities that have relocated back to their various homes”, he said.
He however said the successes recorded is not the absence of security threat in some communities, but that the security agents are working tirelessly to curtail the situation.
“It doesn’t mean we still do not have some challenges, we have a few communities under threat but the security agencies are doing their best to contain the situation”, he stated.
The Governor reported the death of three soldiers in Magama local government, adding that some bandits were killed too and two bodies recovered while security agencies were trailing the rest of the bandits with the hope that the culprits will be arrested.
He said with more security personnel deployed by the Federal Government to the state, more grounds will be covered.
The Governor allayed the fears of food shortage in the state stressing that the IDPs that were returned to their homes are major Agricultural producing areas believing that they will engage in their farming activities immediately.
The Governor commended the efforts of the service chiefs at the federal and heads of security in the state for their efforts in the fight against banditry activities in the State.
On youth restiveness in the state capital, Governor Sani Bello gave a stern warning that any youth caught with dangerous weapons will face the full wrath of the law.
“We discussed youthful restiveness in the state and have taken a decision to deal decisively with anyone found carrying any form of machetes, cutlass, creating havoc within Minna Central”, he said.
He described the situation as unfortunate where gang youths engaging themselves in a brawl on streets, attacking innocent people, adding that any youths that is arrested henceforth on thuggery and all forms of gangsterism will have him or themselves to blame
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called on religious leaders of all faiths and backgrounds to unite in support of the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, the President made the call while speaking with the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar lll who called to felicitate with the President on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and the observance of the Eid.
The President called for continuous dialogue between the leaders of the two major faiths for peace and stability to reign in the country.
President Buhari commended the Sultan for his effective leadership of the Muslim Ummah and credited him with the unity of the community sustained under his watch.
The Sultan pledged his commitment to the continued existence of the country as one and assured the President of the support of the Sultanate in the ongoing efforts to tackle the challenges facing the nation.
Police in Zamfara State have arrested five notorious suspects involved in banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and illegal possession of firearms.
They were paraded by the Police Public Relations Officer in Zamfara, Shehu Mohammed, on Friday at the Police Headquarters in Gusau, the state capital.
He explained that the arrest of the suspects was a result of the collaboration between the police and the state leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
Mohammed stated that the command would continue to work with any group or persons willing to work for the peace of Zamfara and the north-west region.
He assured the people of Zamfara that the command was working hard to ensure the state was free from all criminal activities.
Those arrested were said to have been terrorising various communities in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina States in the North West, and Niger State in the north-central part of the country.
Items recovered from the suspects included four AK-49 rifles, nine magazines, 960 live ammunition, and assorted charms.
The suspects were arrested through the efforts of the Federal Intelligence Investigation Bureau and Special Tactical Squad deployed by the Inspector General of Police to rid Zamfara and the north-west region of crime.
They were alleged to have kidnapped the younger brother of one Dr Dauda Lawal and confessed that they collected N20 million ransom, as well as received N10 million ransom for the abduction of the daughter of one Engineer Yahaya Maradun.
Among them was a Nigerien citizen, Shehu Ali Kachalla, a notorious gunrunner who confessed that he had been in the business for more than three years.
The foreigner revealed that he had sold no fewer than 450 rifles to different criminal gangs across the north-west region.
Abubakar Ali, another notorious kidnap suspect from Niger State, said he was operating within Kagarko and Chikun Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
He also confessed that he had been in the criminal business for three years and has killed five of his victims who could not afford to pay ramson to regain freedom from captivity.
According to the suspect, their leader pays them between N600,000 and N700,000 in any abduction that attracts N20 million ransom and above.
The Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs in Zamfara, Abubakar Dauran, also witnessed the parade of the suspects at the Police Headquarters.
He promised that the state government would not relent in its continuous effort to bring a lasting end to criminality in Zamfara.
Dauran also appealed to the residents to join hands with government and security agencies in bringing down the activities of criminal elements making life unbearable to innocent citizens.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared three days of prayers against insecurity and other problems in the land.
CAN National General Secretary, Daramola Joseph, announced this in a circular dated May 11, 2021, and addressed to the leadership of the Christian body at various levels.
He explained that the leadership of the association considered the prayers important for God’s mercy and intervention in the continued killings, banditry, terrorism, and other problems facing the country.
Noting that the prayers were scheduled to hold between May 28 and 30, Joseph hinted that all local churches were directed to gather in the evening of each day.
He asked them to pray to God in the attitude of soberness for the bloodshed of many innocent Nigerians.
The CAN listed some of the suggested prayer points to include seeking forgiveness for sins committed by the church or Nigerians, especially their leaders.
Another important point was a prayer for the speedy recovery of Nigeria from all its losses to make it a nation everyone in the world would love to be.
Read the circular by the religious body below:
11th May 2021
State Chairmen & their Secretaries.
NATIONAL DAYS OF SOBERNESS/MOURNING AND FERVENT PRAYERS FOR GOD’s MERCY BY CHRISTIANS IN NIGERIA FROM FRIDAY, 28TH MAY – SUNDAY, 30TH MAY 2021.
This is to inform you that the CAN President, in view of the continuous killings, banditry, and host of other problems in Nigeria has considered it imperative and absolutely necessary that our country needed prayers for God’s mercy and intervention in our land.
Consequently, all local churches are expected to gather in the evening of each day set aside for the prayers to pray to God in the attitude of mourning or soberness for the bloodshed of many innocent Nigerians most especially Christians.
In the light of these, the following are the suggested prayer points to be followed during the said prayer meetings:
o That we are sad and pained for the blood of many innocent Nigerians that evil people in our midst had shed or for those kidnapped and abused in various ways. That God should forgive our sins wherever we as a church or Nigerians, especially our leaders had sinned against God.
o That the plans of the evil people in our midst to paralyze human, social and economic activities in this nation and throw the nation into chaos would be foiled by the Lord Jesus Christ.
o That any religious madness, or war that would not allow us to worship God in the way we are convinced to worship Him would be nullified by the Lord.
o Pray that the church would prevail over all threats to her existence in Nigeria. That the gate of hell will never prevail against the church in the name of Jesus.
o That our leaders would do justice in leadership and show fairness to all ethnic and religious groups in all their actions so as to douse ethnic and religious tensions we have presently.
o That the law enforcement agents would rise to their responsibilities and provide the necessary security we need in Nigeria.
o That every step the terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, gunmen and other wicked people in our midst take henceforth would be failed. That unseen hands and the army of the Lord would fight them and Nigeria would be at peace.
o Pray and plant righteousness, Godliness, prosperity, peace, and love in our nation.
o Pray for the speedy recovery of our nation from all our losses so that this nation might become very soon a nation that everyone in the world would love to be.
o Pray to break the yoke of the generational curse that might have been placed on Nigeria and her leadership during the slave trade by the victims.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Tuesday said the Federal Government has the capacity to crush Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in the northeast and bandits in the north western parts of the country.
This comes as security forces grapple with the activities of terrorists and bandits who have killed thousands, displaces hundreds of thousands and abducted several people for ransom.
Mohammed who spoke during a press conference in Lagos said contrary to the beliefs that the Federal Government is overwhelmed and lacks capacity to tackle the security threats, President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to restoring law and order, peace and security in the country.
“I have read comments saying the Federal Government is overwhelmed and doesn’t have a clue as to how to tackle the challenges. Some have even gone as far as suggesting a truncation of the democratic order, a clearly treasonable stance,” he said.
While noting that the Federal Government “acknowledges the security challenges we face at this time, from terrorism to kidnaping, banditry and farmer-herder conflict, it is definitely not overwhelmed and indeed it has the wherewithal, as you will see in the days ahead, to confront the challenges headlong and restore law and order, peace and security.
“One of the most difficult things to do, for a democratically elected government, is to use the instruments of coercion against its own people. For example, while the nation’s military have superior firepower over the rag tag band of Boko Haram and ISWA, the terrorists most often than not operate among the populace, either in our villages or towns, hence the military, in tackling them, is usually careful to avoid collateral damage.
“The same applies to the kidnappers who abduct our school children. Usually, the location of the kidnappers is not unknown to the security forces, but they still must exercise caution in order not to hurt the same children they are trying to rescue. Despite these inhibitions, the security forces have the wherewithal to decisively tackle the challenges.”
The Minister also reacted to attacks on security attacks in the country, describing assault on security operatives as a declaration of war against the country.
While condemning the attacks, the government’s spokesperson warned that such attacks will be countered with overwhelming force.
He added, “There is a growing dangerous trend which I will like to comment on. It is the practice of launching deadly attacks against the nation’s security personnel. Soldiers as well as police, customs, and other security agents have been killed and maimed in some parts of the country in this growing trend of targeting security forces.
“I want to say, unequivocally, that any attack on our security men and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war against the nation. It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force.”