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Save us from killers, bandits, Sultan, CAN, JNI tell Buhari

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Northern leaders, on Thursday, made a passionate plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to end the spate of insecurity ravaging the country.

Leading the charge, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, lamented that terrorists kill people on a daily basis in the northern part of the country, especially in the Northwest, and the killings are mostly not reported.

This is just as the Sultan called on Christians to disregard the recent threat by some persons who warned that those found attending churches in Zamfara State would be killed.

Speaking at the fourth quarter meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) with the theme, ‘NIREC, Security Agencies and Peace in Nigeria’, the Sultan, who is also the Co-Chair of NIREC, said there is no single day that passes without people being killed in the North.

“If I continue talking about the insecurity in the North, we will not leave this room. A few days ago, we were witnesses to the media reports on how people were killed in a bus in Sokoto. There is no single day that passes without people being killed in the North, but we don’t hear it.

Leading the charge, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, lamented that terrorists kill people on a daily basis in the northern part of the country, especially in the Northwest, and the killings are mostly not reported.

This is just as the Sultan called on Christians to disregard the recent threat by some persons who warned that those found attending churches in Zamfara State would be killed.

Speaking at the fourth quarter meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) with the theme, ‘NIREC, Security Agencies and Peace in Nigeria’, the Sultan, who is also the Co-Chair of NIREC, said there is no single day that passes without people being killed in the North.

“If I continue talking about the insecurity in the North, we will not leave this room. A few days ago, we were witnesses to the media reports on how people were killed in a bus in Sokoto. There is no single day that passes without people being killed in the North, but we don’t hear it.

He said Nigeria has a series of challenges facing it, and if leaders don’t wake up and come together to understand the issues facing the country, the challenges will escalate.

“Let’s not deceive ourselves, everything is not alright. I have said this so many times, and to know that you have a problem, you have part of the solution. The earlier we rise up to the occasion, come together, the better for us,” the Sultan noted.

In his remarks, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Samson Ayokunle, lamented that Nigerian roads have become a den of kidnappers and a no-go-area for travellers.

Ayokunle who is also the Co-Chair of NIREC wondered why persons would be kidnapped and the security forces cannot trace the kidnappers to their hideout and rescue the victims.

“Travelling from one point to another by road, in particular, has become a very great risk. Kidnappers are everywhere and they don’t only come out to kidnap but also to kill, so you don’t know who the next victim is going to be.

“Why should these people be killing and hiding people in our territory without being challenged, why should it be easy for them to hide people somewhere within the state and the security agencies will not be able to fish them out?”, he queried.

ELITE of Sabon Birni council of Sokoto, under the auspices of Gobir Development Association, have written to President Buhari over the constant killings of their people by terrorists.

The letter came 24 hours after bandits ambushed a vehicle conveying some seasonal migrants at Gidan Bawa village in the council, set it on fire and watched the passengers burn to death. The 23 victims were buried on Wednesday.

The leaders in the letter yesterday said they “felt scandalised, traumatised and demoralised by the constant butchering of their people by the terrorist groups operating in three local governments in Sokoto East Senatorial Districts: Isa, Sabon Birni and Goronyo as well as Shinkafi Local Government Area in Zamfara State.”

“Their impunity has become so brazen to the extent of imposing themselves as rulers and expropriating anything they fancy from the people, including but not limited to cash, taxes, food supply, drugs and sometimes maidens.

“Your Excellency, we have earlier on written a similar complaint after a gory incident that occurred at Garki village, 5km away from Sabo Birni, where over 80 people were gruesomely murdered in cold blood in a single night.

“At that time, we were so awe stricken that we hardly had time to bury the dead bodies when the murderous terrorists hit again in another village about 10km away from there, known as Dakwaro, followed in quick succession by Gajit, Lajinge, Tarah, Unguwar Lalle, Kurawa, Gangara, Garin Idi and virtually every village around the axis leaving behind in their trail blood, tears, smoke, ashes and smoldered farmlands.”

The leaders promised to accord the security agencies all necessary assistance in discharging their duties.

It was gathered that bandits have heightened their activities to stop villagers from deserting their communities because of the levy imposed on them. The constant attack on travellers along Sabon Birni-Isa-Shinkafi road was part of their plan to prevent the exodus of villagers.

A resident of Sabon Birni, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed how that road had been littered with burnt vehicles as a result of bandits’ attacks. “There are over 10 burnt vehicles along that road. Some of the passengers were killed, some abducted and some sustained injuries,” the source said.

Armed bandits operating in Zurmi Council of Zamfara State have reportedly demanded the sum of N10 million as a fine from some communities under their control.

A source hinted that the bandits sought a reconciliation meeting with the people of Yanbuki and its neighbouring communities in Zurmi and the communities accepted to end the constant threat and intimidation by the bandits.

Continuing, the source explained that a recent attack was launched by the bandits in Yanbuki community on Saturday where more than 35 persons, who were standing by the road site awaiting a vehicle, were kidnapped.

The BBC Hausa Service said the reconciliation meeting took place at a village called “Kuryar Kware” and was attended by the majority of the residents of Yanbuki, and its neighbouring communities.

But the state Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, said the state government was not aware that a fine was imposed on the people of Yanbuki community, but assured that he would investigate the substance of the claim.

He admitted that the government was aware of the plight of Yanbuki community members regarding the constant attack on the village by the bandits.

THE Commissioner for Science and Technology, Katsina State, Dr. Rabe Nasir, was yesterday killed by unknown gunmen at his residence in Fatima Shema Housing Estate.

Nasir was last sighted on Wednesday night after he returned from work but since then nothing more was heard about him until his dead body was discovered in his room by his security guard.

The 65-year-old was appointed Commissioner in 2019 after the Department of Science and Technology was upgraded to a ministry.

“Only for us to discover his lifeless body this morning when we entered his house. More worrisome is that we are all living near the state police command,” the source added.

A family source disclosed that Nasir’s assassins locked up his corpse in the toilet of his bedroom.

“It was after some hours that the family discovered droplets of blood in his room and a search began after which he was found in the toilet. One of the family members checked the toilet through the window and saw him,” he said.

He added that the gunmen must have taken advantage of his staying alone to carry out the operation.

“The gunmen stormed the house at night and attacked him while he was trying to escape from them. The Commissioner was stabbed in the stomach in his sitting room while his body was dragged into a toilet where it was locked.”

Governor Aminu Masari and other top government officials were at the house of the slain politician last night on fact-finding visit. Sympathisers were also seen around the residence last night while security operatives prevented people from entering the compound.

A top police officer who pleaded for anonymity said a suspect had already been arrested in connection with the incident. The deceased’s phone and that of another person were recovered at the scene.

AT least 15 worshippers were killed while dozens sustained injuries in an attack on a mosque in Ba’are village, Mashegu Council of Niger State, yesterday.

The attackers struck when villagers were performing their early morning prayers. A source said those who sustained injuries have been taken to the Kontagora General Hospital for treatment.

The Niger State Commissioner of Police, Monday Bala Kuryas, who confirmed the incident, said no fewer than nine persons were killed in the attack.

“The State Police Command has already drafted security personnel to the affected area to further safeguard life and property in that community,” he said.

The attack comes less than two months after bandits gunned down 18 worshippers at a mosque in the same local government. The attack took place in Mazakuka village in Mashegu local government area on October 26.

According to him, the troops recorded the feat during various operations in the past two weeks.

“Cumulatively, a total of 62 terrorist elements were neutralised and 28 of them arrested, while 54 assorted arms and 144 rounds of the different calibre of ammunition were recovered,” he said in a statement.

“Also, a total of 101 rustled livestock were recovered and 20 kidnapped NPF personnel, who were abducted when the terrorists attacked the Police Division, were rescued by own troops at Buni Yadi within the period.”

In a statement in reaction to the Sokoto killings, the body lamented that perpetrators of such attacks have not been brought to justice, adding that the situation leaves Sokoto and other parts of the north feeling completely let down and helpless.

“The Nigerian authorities have left rural communities in Sokoto state at the mercy of rampaging gunmen who have killed hundreds in the last two years. On May 28, at least 74 people were reportedly killed in Sokoto, when gunmen attacked four villages in Sabon Birni Council.

“The violence has forced many farmers and their families to flee their homes. This is pushing the region to the brink of a major humanitarian crisis. The Nigerian authorities’ failure to stem the violence is costing people’s lives and livelihoods, and without immediate action, many more lives may be lost.

“The President claims he has repeatedly tasked security agencies to end the killing so that Nigerians can go to bed with their eyes closed, but clearly nothing has changed.”

The Vice-Chairman of Northern CAN, Revd Joseph Hayab, said in a statement, yesterday, that the gruesome murder of innocent travellers by terrorists in Sokoto and many other attacks on citizens of Nigeria by these criminals, has further shown that human life is cheaper than that of chickens today in Nigeria.

In the same vein, the JNI Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, criticised the government over the prolonged security challenges facing Nigeria, as he also condemned the recent carnage by terrorists in Sokoto.

While urging the Federal Government to ensure that insecurity in Nigeria is put to an end, Hayab said: “We call on the Federal Government and governors in the Northern states, especially in the Northwest region, to take strong measures to stop this evil permanently.”

ALSO, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has said both the Federal and state governments have failed in their responsibility to keep the country secure from incessant banditry, kidnappings, armed robbery, and terrorism, especially in northern Nigeria.

It noted that they are set to organise a mega pan-Northern Nigerian summit under the chairmanship of the convener of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof Ango Abdullahi, to look into and proffer definite solutions to the security challenges in the region.

Spokesperson of the coalition, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who disclosed this, yesterday, in Abuja, explained that the escalation of the insecurity challenges bedeviling the North today are not only an existential threat to the region but to the whole nation.

“Our forest has become ungoverned spaces inhabited by insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals while major and vital highways in the region have been taken over by bandits who kill and kidnap with audacity, at will, and with ease.”

THE Federal Government, yesterday, blamed the prevailing insecurity for the country’s fall from the top 10 preferred investment destinations in Africa.

Recall that a report emerged this week showing that the country dropped to 14 as Egypt continues to top Africa’s investment destinations in a ranking carried out by RMB, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited.

Fielding question at the ministerial press briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said several factors including the state of security, are responsible.

He, however, said the government was doing all that is necessary to return Nigeria to its position.

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About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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