By Abdullāhi Muhammad
Sadly, the issue of insecurity is becoming somewhat politicised. The danger lurking behind this, however, is alarmingly disarming. The problem is multifaceted. While some criminals do so to make end meets, many indulge in crime due to conflict of interest. Be that as it may, the government’s inadequate measures to tackle security is a lurking bomb capable of blowing into civil unrest.
In a documentary by BBC in Zamfara, Fulani Bandits frequently invade villages, abduct inhabitants and slaughter anybody who resists. They also raid roads, shoot passengers and drag drivers out of their cars. In a somewhat passionate yet disarming effrontery, Fulani Bandits have gone beyond the camera reach as they film each other, showing obsession with guns and frequent drug-taking.
Speaking to one of the bandits’ warlords, Ado Alero, BBC reported that Alero considers his action to be a means to attract the government’s attention. Alero is one of the most feared warlords in Zamfara, whose behest police had put the bounty of 5 million Naira considering his rule in a recent massacre. He was recently turbaned in one of the bandits’ villages.
In another interview with one of the leading bandits’ commanders who led an attack and abduction of nearly 300 school girls in one government girls’ secondary school in Jengebe, Abu Sani confirmed to BBC that they had collected 60 million from the government to release them. They used the money to buy more riffles. Abu Sani said they did that to destabilise the government and keep her from intervening in the parrying. In another attack launched by the bandits, more than 200 people, including women and children, were reportedly killed. Further, they threatened to kill 120 Hausas at the behest of any single Fulani lost to Hausas.
This follows the sorry state the Fulani had been subjected to. They were abandoned, extorted and apprehended for so long. Their cattle were also rustled. They’re made worthless; no hospitals, no schools, and nobody cares to listen to their cries. Thereupon, they take guns to protect themselves.
In response, the Hausa, on the other hand, organised vigilante militias who went on a rampage and attacked Fulani Hamlets, killing any Fulani their eyes could meet.
Hassan Dan Tawaye (Hassan the rebel), a Fulani, who was reported to have first brought AK-47 to Zamfara, explained to a BBC correspondent that each side of the warring parties was at fault. When bandits attacked the Hausa community, Hausa militias were quick in reprisal and, in the process, killed many innocent lives.
Hassan Dan Tawaye, having laid down his guns to pursue peace, has returned to armed conflict. Hassan said they could not endure the levity of getting killed and were tired of waiting for the government to intervene. Therefore they have taken guns.
At this point, the Zamfara state government is in a dilemma and forced to negotiate with the bandits. However, Abu Sani said that each side benefited from the insurrection. He further noted that the polity’s increased insecurity politicised the problem. Things deteriorate because any of the parties, from top to bottom, needs money.
Dishearteningly, while Northwestern Nigeria is on fire, governments both at the federal and state level are becoming insensitive and lack the audacity to tackle the menace adequately. This has led to the bandits getting more enamoured and the victims being pesticide. The worst is how the state government asked the citizenry to buy guns so that they could depend on themselves. However, this is not the answer to the situation on the ground and would not provide the garment possible enough to stampede insecurity within the polity.
On the other hand, it’s interesting how the National Assembly’s impetus to impeach the president over the long-endure insecurity issue in the nation. The National Assembly had on Wednesday given the president six weeks ultimatum to resolve the issue of insecurity in the country or risk impeachment. This has relieved the citizens but is not good enough to suppress their fears of the criminals who sworn hell-bent on countering peace in all ramifications and bringing the nation to its knees.
It’s indeed of great concern and fear to see the centuries-old, good relationship between Hausas and Fulanis deteriorating. We, therefore, urge the government to deploy numerous tactics to tackle the insecurity issue in northwestern Nigeria and other parts of the country. More military bases should be built in and across various states with insecurity problems, and there should be sufficient military equipment for proper and successful operations. Finally, both sides should be demanded to lay down arms, concede for peace, and reconcile a trust.
May Allah bring back peace in Zamfara, Northwestern Nigeria and Nigeria in general, Amin.
Abdullāhi Muhammad lives in Azare, Bauchi state, and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.