The nefarious activities of bandits and the continuous kidnapping of travelers between Niger and Kaduna State have left expanse of land inaccessible, unutilized and economically unproductive making a bad situation to become worst. Communities are constantly living in fear, while others have been sacked permanently from their ancestral lands.
The bandits have almost taken over 65% of communities in the northern Nigeria as they walk freely with ammunitions without any interference from security operatives. The scenario we are witnessing in the country today is a situation where we have two authorities in the communities, you have the constituted authority which is the government and the de facto authorities who have taken advantage of the failure of the government, and since nature does not allow for a vacuum, Terrorists and Bandits are filling the gap.
Farmers cannot go to the farm to harvest their crops for fear of being kidnapped for ransom, or sometimes being killed for not paying dues to the bandits. These are people who are predominantly farmers, they cannot feed their families. This is responsible for scarcity of some food crops grown in these areas example is Onions, and this has caused food scarcity in the country.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari in December 2020 said “bandits now go to the market to shop for foodstuffs with their AK47 riffle been displayed openly without confrontation”. This shows the extend of impunity and effrontery of the Bandits; they are assuming authority within the state. The Governor of Katsina is doing everything possible to curtail this menace and alleviate the suffering of the people by calling for negotiations but this has not yield any positive result as the spate of kidnapping has increased on a daily basis. These negotiations seem to be giving the bandits a sense of entitlement and importance.
Nigerians, including those in the diaspora are not pleased with the situation. The first and primary responsibility of the government is security of lives and property, in fact that is the reason people belong to a country in the first. The social contract between the citizens and the government is being scrutinized daily, hence the call for cessation from some quarters in the country. The government at all level seems not to be keeping its own part of the contract; people are resorting to self-help in their security and provision of basic amenities.
The northern governors’ approach to these bandits is not good as they reward them with appeasements say Lukman Samson. Even though some of the governors in the North-central States have on their own created local vigilante outfit this also raises the issue of State police. It shows some level of mistrust between the regional government and the center. The governors of the states mostly affected by the activities of these bandits from their body languages, seems to be either reluctant or overwhelmed creating a picture of hopelessness.
Considering the reaction of the presidency to the security challenges in the country, Mr Samuel Idoko says “Buhari is the President of Nigerian not Fulani, as he negotiates with Fulani bandits but shoot at IPOB and EndSars protesters”. A lot of people interpret the action of the president as favouratism, tribalism, religious bigotry, etc. the way out of this is to call a spade a spade, there is nothing like a good criminal or bad criminal. Criminals are found in every community, religion, ethnic group; the government should stop giving the citizens the impression that some criminals are good and take decisive actions to root out these bad elements in the country. Where there is no justice, there cannot be peace.