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 8,000 lives in four states from northwestern part of Nigeria in a decade.

The crisis monitoring group in a report released yesterday also disclosed that over 20,000 people were rendered homeless in the affected states.

 The displaced persons are now taking hostage in various strategic IDP camps located within Nigeria and neighboring Niger Republic.

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

The report warned that the “poorly secured international 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 are making inroads into the region. Last year, security experts hinted at the possibility, extremist groups are now causing more havoc in northwest.

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

“Boko Haram offshoots are making inroads into the region, where they are forging tighter relationships with aggrieved communities, herder-affiliated armed groups and criminal gangs,” the report indicated.

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

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

In the 2018 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari allocates 576 billion naira to Ministry of Defence.

The Defence Ministry got the third highest budgetary allocation after Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and Ministry of Interior.

Former Secretary to the Government of Zamfara, Alhaji Abdullahi Shinkafi in Town Hall Meeting in Gusau organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, August 2018 said Zamfara state government alone spent 17 billion naira on eradicating the problem.

Narratives on the Lingering Northwest Crisis

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

Various political narratives trailed the persistent killings in northwest especially after the riot in Tsafe local government in Zamfara last year.

Some people contempt that the attacks exemplify the extent of failure of the APC lead federal government under President Buhari. The APC while campaigning for the 2015 general elections promised to ensure proper security of lives and properties of all Nigerians if elected.

Fed up with incessant attacks and kidnappings on their communities, residents of Tsafe, last year, took to street protesting killings, kidnappings and rustling in their local communities which further impoverished them . The protest assumed a riotous flavour leading to the burning of Tsafe local government secretariat and vehicles.

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

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

The 1999 constitution in section 218 (1) and (2) and section 09.06 of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers empowers the president to this effect.

Incessant gunmen attacks on Zamfara communities is part of what some believed to be an orchestrated plan to cut the population size of the north ahead of the forth coming general elections. North is 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 to discredits the efforts of the federal government in providing security to all Nigerians. To them, such moves are calculated attempts by the opposition to score cheap political marks.


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