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North West: Gunmen Killed 8000 people, Displaced 20,000 in 10 years –ICG

Extremist Groups Intrudes

By Idris Kamal Ibrahim

International Crisis Group say gunmen killed more than 8,000lives in four states from northwestern part of Nigeria in a decade.

The crisis monitoring group in a report released yesterday

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also disclosed that over 20,000 people were rendered homeless in the affectedstates.

 The displacedpersons are now taking hostage in various strategic IDP camps located withinNigeria and neighboring Niger Republic.

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BBCHAUSA Service, Monday evening, in a report monitored byWikkiTimes says suspected arm bandits gunned down 12 persons on Sunday inZamfara State. 

The report warned that the “poorly securedinternational boundary” between Nigeria and Niger to the north“enables the influx of arms” which sustained the crisis to this end.

The report shows that suspected Boko Haram factions aremaking inroads into the region. Last year, security experts hinted at thepossibility, extremist groups are now causing more havoc in northwest.

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Initially, cattle rustlers and kidnapers who were tauntedto be behind the incessant killings in Zamfara, later spade into Kaduna,Katsina and Sokoto states.

“Boko Haram offshoots are making inroads into theregion, where they are forging tighter relationships with aggrievedcommunities, herder-affiliated armed groups and criminal gangs,” thereport indicated.

Few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari instructed servicechiefs to intensify counter operations in the region. The president emphasizedthe need to force the culprits out of their hideouts for peace to rein in theregion and the country at large.

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Therecent attacks in the region are coming amid massive deployment of personnel ofthe Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Police Force and militaryhardware to Zamfara. Budgetary provisions for defense swirled up since thecoming of the APC lead federal government in 2015.

Inthe 2018 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari allocates 576 billion naira toMinistry of Defence.

TheDefence Ministry got the third highest budgetary allocation after Ministry ofPower, Works and Housing and Ministry of Interior.

FormerSecretary to the Government of Zamfara, Alhaji Abdullahi Shinkafi in Town HallMeeting in Gusau organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, August 2018 saidZamfara state government alone spent 17 billion naira on eradicating theproblem.

Narratives on the LingeringNorthwest Crisis

Many narratives trailed the continued killings innorthwest. The region is believed to have gross deposits of gold and silver,especially in Zamfara and Sokoto states. Visitors coming into the region forillegal mining were pointed to be behind the killings after authorities bannedtheir illegal gold mining business in the region.

Various political narrativestrailed the persistent killings in northwest especially after the riot in Tsafelocal government in Zamfara last year.

Some people contempt that theattacks exemplify the extent of failure of the APC lead federal governmentunder President Buhari. The APC while campaigning for the 2015 generalelections promised to ensure proper security of lives and properties of allNigerians if elected.

Fedup with incessant attacks and kidnappings on their communities, residents ofTsafe, last year, took to street protesting killings, kidnappings and rustlingin their local communities which further impoverished them . The protestassumed a riotous flavour leading to the burning of Tsafe local governmentsecretariat and vehicles.

Another camp is of the view thatPresident Buhari should sack service chiefs. Because to them, the servicechiefs failed to adequately deliver the mandate for which they were appointed.And they overstayed their tenure.

President Buhari twice extended thetenure of the Service Chiefs in 2017. Careful review of the counter terrorismoperations in the north east and Niger-Delta informed this decision. Theconstitution recognises single two-year tenure of office for Service Chiefs.The current crops of Nigeria’s Service Chiefs were appointed by PresidentMuhammadu Buhari on July 13, 2015.

The 1999 constitution in section218 (1) and (2) and section 09.06 of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions ofService for Officers empowers the president to this effect.

Incessant gunmen attacks on Zamfaracommunities is part of what some believed to be an orchestrated plan to cut thepopulation size of the north ahead of the forth coming general elections. Northis the stronghold abode of support for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Pro APC thinkers in their camp too,observed that such campaigns and attacks are plots by the oppositions todiscredits the efforts of the federal government in providing security to allNigerians. To them, such moves are calculated attempts by the opposition toscore cheap political marks.

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