26th May, 2019
Nigerians reel under attacks from different sorts of criminal gangs across the country
Desperate times call for desperate measures. This popular saying must have been at the mind of Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad, the Chairman of Zamfara Council of Chiefs and Emir of Anka, when, at a meeting with the Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, at his palace last week, he suggested blockage of telephony services for between three to six months as part of measures to curb the rampant killings, kidnappings as well as pillage of resources of the people of his domain by bandits. “If GSM network for the whole state is blocked for between three and six months, l can assure you that it will go a long way because even informers can no longer disclose the movement of security personnel to the bandits,’’ the Emir said while lamenting that kidnapping had become a lucrative business in which apart from money, kidnappers now demand for foodstuffs, recharge cards and other necessities as ransom.
Tales of Woes
The Minister said he was in the state on the instructions of President Muhammadu Buhari to commiserate with the people over relentless assaults they have been subjected to by bandits with a view to getting suggestions on how to put a stop to their activities.
But it was tale of woes as the villagers and community leaders regale the Minister with their painful experiences in the hands of the bandits as he went around the state.
At the Shinkafi Local Government Area of the State, the Vice Chairman, Alhaji Sani Galadima told the Minister that kidnapping for ransom by bandits has become a daily affair in the area in spite of the best efforts of the Federal Government to curb the criminality. Galadima told Dambazau that six members of the ‘Civilian JTF’ a local vigilance group set up to protect the villagers from bandits were attacked and killed two days before the Minister’s visit. “Even yesterday (Sunday), these bandits sent a letter to the district head of Shinkafi town (saying) that they were coming to attack the town. This ugly situation is very disheartening; every day we pay millions of naira in ransom to these bandits. We really need the government’s urgent support to end this problem. Our women also suffer a lot (because) the bandits attack communities and abduct ladies from their parents’ homes. People no longer sleep with their two eyes closed in the night in Shinkafi LGA,” the local government chief said as he lamented that the government has failed to deploy enough security operatives to protect the people. “We all know the camps where these bandits stay; even the security men are aware of these camps; our major concern is that security personnel are not getting to these bandits. We are hoping that with this visit, this problem will come to an end,” Galadima said while pointing out to the Minister that at least 98 communities have been abandoned in the local government as a result of assaults from bandits.
To avoid similar fate, residents of some communities in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State have resorted to levying themselves to keep off the bandits. The Punch newspaper quoted a resident of one of the communities as confirming that the bandits are in the habit of making demands for ransom as a prerequisite for not unleashing their venom on them. “Let me give you a breakdown of villages and the ransoms paid. They placed N10m ransom on Gora community, N5m on Faru village, N1.5m on Gidan Isah community, the people of Ilankwai village had to pay N2m while Gidan Baushe village was levied N2.5m. All the villages paid the levy but I’m not sure whether Gora people were able to meet the demand,” the villager said. “I was part of the team that took the ransom put on our village to the bandits inside the forest. We had to mobilise ourselves by going from house to house to collect the money in order to meet the demand. Failure to do so would be very calamitous on us,” he added.
There were also reports of attacks by bandits riding on motorcycles at nearby Kebbi State, the same day the Minister was on tour of Zamfara. Armed with machine guns and locally made guns, the bandits, according to reports, invaded Illo community in Bagudo Local Government Area of Kebbi state, shooting sporadically into the air when they entered the town.
Click to read the rest here: www.thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2019/05/outlaws-paradise-kidnappers-bandits-terrorise-nigeria/