On Wednesday, the quarterly security report was submitted to the Kaduna State Executive Council at its weekly meeting by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Hon Samuel Aruwan. The report brought out disquieting revelations on the fatality figures in the endless violent crises rocking the state in terms of mortality rate, showing that no fewer than 888 persons were killed by bandits and 2,553 persons kidnapped in the last nine months of this year.
These figures are frightening as they reveal the precarious dilemma citizens are forced to live with in the face of unnerving challenges. For a state to have 888 of its citizens killed by blood-thirsty criminals and nothing concrete is being done to confront them by carrying the war to the forest where they reside is a clear demonstration of leadership deficits.
When the government announced this startling death casualty figures, many thought it was the usual fake news. Unknown to some analysts, the terror left behind by these coldblooded murderers is a pointer to the horror that has continued to ravage the country, with many not appreciating the security challenges confronting us as a nation.
Yes, it is clear that the police are answerable to the federal authorities and there is nothing any state governor can do about it. It is also true that the deployment of troops to any state is at the instance of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Many observers cannot comprehend why Kaduna State has remained a haven for bandits and criminals despite having the state governor belonging to the ruling party.
Despite the devastating insecurity hounding our country, not a few citizens appreciate the need to work in unison and resolve some of these pesky issues that have relegated our country to the backside of development.
According to the report, a total number of 343 people were murdered by these merciless bandits between July and September in 2021, while 2,553 people were abducted in various parts of the state from January to September 2021.
The commissioner disclosed that 949 people were abducted during the first quarter of 2021, 774 were kidnapped in the second quarter and 830 persons were seized in the last three months.
“From July to September 2021, a total of 343 persons died due to banditry, communal clashes, violent attacks and reprisals. Of this, 50 were women, and 22 were children. Southern Kaduna district recorded 193 deaths in the third quarter, over 56% of the total.
“This number is largely made up of victims of violent attacks and reprisals in Zango Kataf, Kaura, and Nauru LGAs. These areas witnessed a series of clashes early in the year, which spiraled into a succession of increasingly deadly communal and inter-ethnic attacks across the three LGAs, 114 people died in Zango Kataf LGA, and 19 in Kaura LGA in the period under review”, Aruwan said.
I wish to quickly fault the claim by the commissioner that the killings in southern Kaduna are promoted by communal and inter-ethnic factors. This is a deliberate act of attempting to twist the narrative and turn truth on its head. What is happening in Southern Kaduna is nothing short of deliberate killings of harmless citizens by criminals.
It is within the purview of state governors to evolve a template aimed at tackling some of the challenges that have rendered them prostrate. Examples of states like Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi and Benue have shown that with the political willpower in place, there is no way criminals can escape from the long arm of the law.
Present efforts in dealing with matters of insecurity have always found militating factors in the hope expressed by Nigerians that the present insecurity in the country will soon fizzle out. Our nation and citizens at present now rest the cornerstone of their hope in dreaming for a new dawn even when present realities are not giving us hope.
Since the emergence of the APC-led central administration in 2015, the scourge of insecurity has turned our nation into a flourishing field of bloodshed, with hundreds of our communities and villages sacked and are now physically being occupied by conquering forces. One wonders why these terror gangs, despite shooting down an air force jet recently, are yet to be declared terrorists. For the government to pretend not to see the havoc being committed by these brigands but concentrating on the opposition elements in the southern part only reveals why our problems may linger for a long while to come.
el-Rufai once said that banditry has become a business in the North and that was why it cannot be combated. The time has come for the government to declare these bandits as terrorists. When the Federal Government eventually labels them terrorists, the path for their final extermination can then begin. As at now, there is no justification by the government to run after IPOB and Sunday Igboho but at the same time be maintaining embarrassing silence over the vicious attacks unleashed by killer herdsmen and these murderous outlaws.
Kaduna State governor has rightly pointed out that the solution to dealing with insecurity is killing those engaged in foisting acts of crimes on our society. As long as the government pretends it does not see the bloodshed committed by herdsmen, so long shall we continue to grope in the dark.
Governor el-Rufai should not wait until the federal authorities come to his help. He can empower the police and engage communities by empowering them to move against these criminals that have turned Kaduna into a state sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
For a state that has suffered such crippling insecurity, it is not expected that things will remain normal. In developed climes, the murder of one citizen is enough to unleash the power of the state on those responsible for such heinous act. That explains why I support the call by Governor el-Rufai that the Federal Government should declare these bandits terrorists so as to facilitate the commencement of a full scale war against them.
Democracy is all about the rights of electorates, and when such cannot be guaranteed, then the government cannot justify its existence. While one cannot validate the seeming silence of opposition in calling the ruling government to accountability, the Nigerian people must rise and retrieve their democracy from those who are deploying it for pecuniary interests.