NEF to Masari, El-Rufai, Matawalle, Sani Bello: Your security measures lockdown on the North - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE


Sunday, 5 September 2021

NEF to Masari, El-Rufai, Matawalle, Sani Bello: Your security measures lockdown on the North

By Our Correspondent

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has lamented the deteriorating security situation in the northern part of the country.

It, however, disagreed with steps taken by some governors to curtail the menace.

The steps include suspension of weekly markets, restrictions on sale of petrol, closure of schools and roads, and imposition of curfews among others.

As part of efforts at tackling banditry and related criminals in the North, some northern state governors,  including Mohammed Bello Matawalle of  Zamfara,  Katsina state Governor  Aminu Bello Masari, Kaduna state Governor Nasir el-Rufai and  their Niger state counterpart, Abubakar Sani Bello announced certain measures.

They include the ban on inter-state cattle business and specific types of petroleum sale and restriction in the operation of commercial motorcycle and tricycle (Keke NAPEP) operators.

NEF differs

Expressing dissatisfaction with the governors’ decisions in a statement issued Sunday in Abuja; the Forum said the decisions were akin to   complete lockdown of the region’s economy and could only further embolden the criminals and leave the already traumatised people at their mercy.

The statement was signed by NEF’s Director Publicity and Advocacy Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

NEF said: “Northern Elders Forum is closely following the condition of many Northern communities that have become particularly vulnerable to attacks and abuse by bandits, kidnappers and related organized criminals.

 “Measures being taken by some state governments such as suspension of weekly markets, restrictions on sale of petrol, closure of schools and some roads, curfews, movement of cattle and plans to restrict communication will compound the desperate conditions of living of many communities in the North.

“While it will be unhelpful to criticize these measures without adequate knowledge of their potentials to relieve the desperation under which people live, it is important nevertheless to demand that those who have powers to impose them also have clear ideas over what they could achieve and when.

“These measures represent virtual economic and social lockdowns on people who had been at the mercy of criminals for a long time. Unless they are accompanied by an aggressive and effective assault on the banditry and kidnapping industry, they will merely add to the misery and hopelessness of our communities.

 “Worse, they could further embolden the bandit and the kidnappers when it becomes clear that governments and security agencies cannot go beyond lockdowns on communities. 

“Communities themselves will lose even more faith in the capacity of the Nigerian State to respond to their desperate circumstances. The perception that communities are on their own must never be allowed to take deeper roots, but it will, when people see only the bandit and the kidnapper winning.

 “The Forum calls on the federal government to assist states to relieve communities that are now living under additional pressures. State governments imposing additional hardships on communities must know that the measures they are introducing must produce tangible results within a period that makes them meaningful and tolerable.”

Niger monarch abducted

 And amidst all this, gunmen reportedly abducted the Dodo of Wawa, a traditional ruler in Wawa, Borgu local government area of Niger state, Dr Mahmud Ahmed Aliyu from his palace. 

The palace is some 12 kilometres away from New Bussa where the Nigerian Army barracks is located.

The traditional ruler was reportedly kidnapped at about 9.30pm Saturday night. 

He was said to have been whisked away into the Kainji National Park amidst spontaneous shooting by the hoodlums dressed in military uniform.

It was learnt that the gunmen stormed the palace on motorcycles while shooting to scare away the people. 

Confirming the incident, the state Police command said the police were already on the bandits’ trail to rescue the district head.

 The command’s Public Relations Officer, Wasiu Abiodun, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna, said:  “The police tactical team and members of the vigilante of the area have been deployed for the manhunt of the hoodlums, with a view to rescue the victim and arrest the culprits.”

He called on residents to support security agencies with intelligence information to aid in the fight against banditry and kidnapping in the state.

Also, Secretary to the Niger state Government (SSG) Ahmed Ibrahim Matane told journalists in Minna that the government was doing everything possible to rescue the monarch.  

 He said “combined security agencies and members of vigilante group have been drafted to rescue the Dodo of Wawa unharmed.”

  The abduction has thrown the entire palace into confusion and uncertainty considering the frequency at which bandits now operate in the area bordering Benin Republic.

Lawmaker’s wife, kids abducted

Also, a group of bandits attacked the home of the lawmaker representing Bakori State Constituency in Katsina state House of Assembly, Ibrahim Aminu Kurami, abducting his wife and two children.

The incident occurred between 8.00 and 9.00pm Saturday night as the bandits reportedly blocked the Funtua-Katsina Road for minutes while the abduction lasted.

During the abduction, the bandits reportedly injured one person at the gate of the lawmaker’s house.

Ibrahim Kurumi, the lawmaker himself was not at home as he went to Katsina after participating in the Saturday’s APC council Congress in the area.

It was gathered that the local vigilante group and some residents were in pursuit of the abductors to get the victims released.

Jigawa title holder

Similarly, suspected gunmen Sunday kidnapped a traditional title holder, Alhaji Kabiru Ahmad and set a police vehicle ablaze in Taura local government area of Jigawa state.

According to reports, the victim was kidnapped yesterday around 3:00am

The incident, it was gathered, occurred at about 3.00am of the fateful day when the armed hoodlums numbering about 50 on motorcycles and vehicles, entered Taura town and invaded the victim’s residence.

Spokesman of the state’s Police command, ASP Lawan Shiisu Adam who confirmed the incident, said “at about 3:00 am Police received report that a gang of armed hoodlums invaded the residence of one Alh Kabiru Ahmad and kidnapped him.”

He said a team of police patrol team rushed to the scene and the hoodlums took to their heels.

Adam said the police patrol team, however, pursued the criminals who in turn ambushed and opened fire on the team.

The Police spokesperson assured that efforts were on to rescue the victim and possibly apprehend the criminal elements.

Adamawa shuts schools

In a related development, Adamawa state Governor Ahmadu Fintiri has directed the closure of 30 boarding schools across the state.

The governor’s directive was contained in a statement by the state’s Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Wilbina Jackson.

This   followed heightened security concerns in the state, particularly around the schools.

The order, which takes effect from September 6, 2021, the governor said, affects 30 of the 34 boarding junior secondary schools in the state.

 “30 boarding junior secondary schools out of the 34 schools in the state have been de-boarded with effect from September 6, 2021.

“From now henceforth, all the 30 government junior secondary schools are now day schools.

“The remaining four that are not affected are Government Girls Junior Secondary School, Yola, General Murtala Mohammed College, Yola, Special School, Jada and Special School, Mubi.

“This becomes necessary due to the present incessant security challenges faced by the country and owing to students’ tender age,” the statement said.

He directed that affected students would be distributed to the nearest public junior secondary schools.