Insecurity: Boko Haram, bandits impose lockdown in North-West

Target high profile victims for kidnappings, killings 

For the people of the North-West geo-political zone, the on-going war against terror and sundry criminality in the region has been a traumatic experience for its people.

For most, it has even been more concerning, more disruptive of the source of their livelihoods, with social and economic life hitting its lowest, especially in the face of lockdown imposed by authorities as a strategy to fight Boko Haram and the bandits by cutting them off from communications.

Every day, people are kidnapped for ransom, and the bandits operate with such impunity that for the people, the fear of the marauders is the beginning of wisdom since little or no help comes from the government.

Lately, bandits have targeted high-profile people for kidnapping, and in some cases, for outright killing.  Recall that on August 24, when they attacked the elite military academy, the Nigeria Defence Academy, (NDA). In the daring assault, two officers were kidnapped and later murdered by the bandits.

In response to the heightened brazen activity of bandits and the orgies of killing and kidnapping, the federal government imposed a communication lockdown on parts of the North-West region, a development that has further put pressure on the traumatised people.

Sokoto, Kebbi, three other States in the region have since witnessed service disruptions as Zamfara’s 2.1 million phone users lose access. Katsina was added because of the effectiveness in other parts.

Recall that the FG had on September 3, citing rising cases of insecurity in Zamfara and adjourning cities, ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to direct all telecommunications providers operating in the region to shut down services in the State.

This was seen as the last move that may totally shutdown every economic activity in Zamfara as the State governor, Bello Matawalle, had earlier last week announced the closure of all weekly markets in the state as part of measures to address the worsening security situation.

Following the lockdown, the security forces have been making numerous gains in the war against banditry. Many bandits leaders and their foot soldiers have been reported killed during raids in Zamfara State. The operation is being carried out by the military and sister security agencies.

This was barely six months after the Federal Government declared Zamfara State a no-fly zone in a renewed effort to fight banditry and other forms of insecurity in the State.

Recall also, that Governors Bello Mohammed Matawalle (Zamfara State), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Nasir el-Rufa’i (Kaduna), and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), had in separate directives about the same time called for restrictions of movement and some economic activities in frontline areas in their States in order to disrupt bandits’ communication channel and thus make it easier for security operatives to gain an advantage.

Business activities including farming were also crippled, making life difficult for people amid poverty and deprivation.

Though the Federal Government has not extended the communication ban to Katsina, Kaduna and Niger, a source close to the security and intelligence community told newsmen that the operatives were directed to confront the bandits and speak less on what they were doing.

Multiple sources said the bandits have been boxed to a corner, adding that they are not finding it easy.

According to them, the bandits no longer have access to supplies; but because they have control over some communities, they are asking them to stage a protest so that the governments at the State and national levels would lift the restrictions imposed on movements, sale of petrol, cattle and movements in some areas.

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