El-Rufai, Buhari Must Break Criminal Siege To Kaduna - Mc Ebisco El-Rufai, Buhari Must Break Criminal Siege To Kaduna - Mc Ebisco
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El-Rufai, Buhari Must Break Criminal Siege To Kaduna

Kaduna State is under siege, its government and estimated 9.48 million people terrorised by hordes of bandits and militias operating with impunity. The seeming helplessness of the state was demonstrated anew when bandits recently stormed the palace of the Emir of Kajuru, kidnapped the second-class monarch and 13 other members of his household, among them his wives and two children. The 85-year-old was released a day later, but others snatched in the raid are still being held.

Bandits also attacked the Makarau Jankasa community in Zango Kataf Local Government Area, killing nine persons and inflicting injuries on scores of others. With 121 of the 140 secondary school students abducted on the outskirts of Kaduna city, the state capital, two weeks ago still in captivity, the state Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, and federal security agencies must devise effective countermeasures to safeguard the North-West state from spiralling into complete anarchy.

In a country wracked by criminality; terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry, gang wars, communal violence and armed separatism, insecurity in Kaduna State has escalated from regular ethnic/communal clashes and cattle theft to an epicentre of savagery.

Bandits, many of them foreigners, have declared war on the state. El-Rufai and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), must respond accordingly. During the raid on the Bethel Baptist High School, the heavily armed bandits killed two military personnel, and moved to their forest hideouts with their captives in a long convoy of motorcycles unchallenged. This is part of an ongoing trend of kidnappings across the North-West and North-Central states with criminals staging mass abduction of students and influential persons. Of the total 2,943 persons kidnapped in the country January-June this year, Kaduna accounted for 479, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker. It has recorded the highest incidents of abductions from schools, including the capture-for-ransom of 20 students of Greenfield University, five of whom they murdered, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation and six students and two teachers of the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria.

The criminals are brazen. They had expressly vowed to “deal” with el-Rufai for his tough stance against bandits, in contrast with some other Northern governors who have been pursuing the failed strategy of appeasement by trying to buy them off with cash, cows and amnesty. The state government gave a figure of 222 persons murdered, 774 abducted 226 injured in the second quarter of this year.

No one is safe; troops and police have been ambushed and, armed with sophisticated weapons, bandits engage Nigerian Army troops in pitched combat. Recently, bandits raided an infectious diseases hospice, snatching six persons, including leprosy patients and nurses. As a business, they are harvesting hundreds of millions from ransom paid by desperate families of the victims. In a cheeky move, captors of the high school students demanded bags of rice, vegetable oil and other foodstuff to feed their victims while their families scramble to raise the ransom. Entire villages have been depopulated.

With 21 of the state’s 23 LGAs afflicted by banditry according to ex-senator, Shehu Sani, its economy, catapulted to No.1 in the World Bank’s Doing Business in Nigeria report by el-Rufai’s reforms, has been hit. Its improved education sector has also suffered with the closure of many schools, hurting the state’s reputation as a ‘Centre of Learning’, while social life has been disrupted. Bandits operate on all routes linking Kaduna to other states.

Extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary solutions. As governor, the responsibility is on el-Rufai to do all within his power to safeguard the lives and property of residents. The starting point is to recognise that the country’s current security structure of a single, federal police has failed. Kaduna is virtually a military garrison; the state has the highest concentration of military formations and training institutions. These include the Army’s first division, the infantry training school, the Nigerian Defence Academy, the Nigeria Air Force university, training wing and the Command and Staff College. Deployment of troops, police and task forces have not tamed the raging insecurity or stopped the bandit army.

Beyond his current support measures of vehicles, funding, and communication gadgets for federal law enforcement agencies, the governor should back his resolve to deploy technology and intelligence, drones and CCTVs with a formidable state security outfit. The 937 persons killed, 1,972 kidnapped and 7,195 animals rustled as recorded in the state’s annual security report for 2020 are likely to be surpassed this year unless stronger measures are taken. There is no alternative to a local security initiative pending the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to allow state policing.

Second, know your enemy. As advised by the celebrated Chinese general, Sun Tzu, the key to victory is a thorough understanding of the adversary. The bandits are terrorists. Beyond kidnapping, they engage in random acts of slaughter, burning down villages. The Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, reported that bandits, Fulani herdsmen/militants are collaborating with Boko Haram/ISWAP to destabilise the North-West and North-Central regions to prepare for the Islamic Caliphate and to create a diversion to ease the military’s pressure on the insurgents in North-East. They are not mere “businessmen” as el-Rufai recently erroneously painted them when comparing them to southern self-determination activists.

Such politicisation of insecurity has harmed the country grievously, allowing jihadism to grow from a local irritant to a monstrous terrorist insurgency. Fulani militants/bandits are reckoned the world’s fourth deadliest terrorist group; treat them as such as the governor once vowed to do. He must do all within his power to help kick-start the mooted region-wide security initiative; the entire North is linked by forests that span many states through which bandits, Fulani militants and terrorists move with ease.

Insecurity in the state has conflated with long-running communal strife, un-checked Fulani herdsmen violence and deep feelings of alienation by a segment of the state’s population. The governor should engage the citizenry and secure unanimous buy-in across the board.

Saving Kaduna requires local, regional, and national responses. There should be strong political will by Buhari and northern state governments to end the raging contagion of banditry.

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Chacha

I am a blogger in Nigeria, My aims and objectives are to share knowledge and varieties of news and information across the globe.

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