The increasing pact and pace of activities of bandits and terrorists a national concern

The increasing pact and pace of activities of bandits and terrorists a national concern

As banditry and terrorism in Nigeria gathers momentum with nation-wide effects, policy solutions must be multidimensional and all encompassing. While the government’s strategic military operation is commendable, policing and targeted socio-economic interventions to reduce poverty are critical to address a rapidly deteriorating situation.

Despite government efforts, Nigeria’s security situation is fast becoming precarious.

The ongoing conflict between herders and farmers in eventually across most part of l Nigeria has been confirmed to be more deadlier than the Boko Haram insurgency.

The abductions of studentw in different parts are clear indicators of the dismal state of security in our nation. The rapid rise in violent attacks is defying the sustained narrative among political commentators and public officeholders that the Nigeria is relatively peaceful now compared to the previous years.

Insecurity seems to have doubled up as  people become poorer due to to the rising cost of living in the nation and unemployment, this is made worse in some areas where governance is terrible, pathetic and dismal at every level of the cardinal responsibility of governance which security of lives and properties is number one.

Dastardly attacks on local communities and kidnappings by criminal groups in the nation is being labeled by state officials as ‘banditry and Kidnapping  But this is nothing new but as evolved with time and events. The very Popular Kidnap of chibok and Dapachi school girls further buttress this fact.

The recent surgence of banditry in recent times according to history began with a lone criminal gang in 2011 and grew over time. Initially operations was mainly in Zamfara and has now spread  to most parts of the country including the Nations capital and the number of criminal gangs has become too numerous to count.

There has been a constant progressive transformation from its basis and isolated roots to a complicated national and rapidly spreading security threat.

Nigeria’s National Security Strategy shows that banditry constitutes about close to 40% or more of national insecurity in Nigeria. Bandits are robbers or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area. "the bandit produced a weapon and demanded money" statehood.

Recently, they have become bold and carried out well orchestrated attacks on the nation’s foremost defence academy in Kaduna and a military base in Zamfara state, disrupt the president trip on his way to his home state Katsina state, an attack on the Presidential guard in the nation capital Fct Abuja, the recent prison outbreak in the nations Capital and one of its leading Prison in Kuje.

On all of these occasions, officers were killed, many abducted and military weapons were carted away. These cases clearly indicates a definite and high setback in the campaign to curb violent crimes across the nation.

The humanitarian consequences of these attacks remain worrying and scary. Since 2011, more than 200,000 people have been displaced across the nation, and an official report indicates that more than 6,500 Person's have been killed, sad enough more than 4000 person's has kidnapped and a good number of village has been lost  villages to bandits in Nigeria from 2011 to 2022.

More than 7,000 persons were also injured from bandit activities, with more than 260,000 cows rustled, and over 3,500 hectares of arable land, more than 700 commercial stores and 350 vehicles destroyed. Their activities are posing a threat to food security – a threat well spoken of by President Buhari as food prices grow at the fastest pace in more than 16 years.

These effects are enabled in the nation by poorly managed resource conflicts between herders and farmers, the illegal mining of gold and bad economy, declining livelihood and increasing cost of living, porous nature of Nigeria borders and inadequate presence of policing makers.

Bandits and terrorist groups are both recruiting youth from rural communities blighted by poverty, and well-resourced gangs who can be co-opted for criminal pursuits and influenced for ideological purposes.

The progressive sophistication of arms borne by bandits point to the existence of a network of international arms smuggling and collaboration.

Both have shown a mastery of the political economy of kidnap for ransom and extortion, as a means to locally fund their criminal enterprise and acquire sophisticated arms. This points to a mutual understanding or copying of operational methodology.

Bandits are able to fund their operations largely through the lucrative kidnaping for ransom that particularly targets school children, similar to that earlier deployed by Boko Haram with the kidnapping of children in Chibok and the subsequent payment of ransom before their partial release.

The policy solutions to these challenges in the nation must be multidimensional;

1. The seasonal military operation is good and commendable but effective policing remains the only viable tool to combating this menace.

2. Creating a decentralized policing systtem  can create an effective system of localised and community-focussed policing system that affords communities organisational, operational and human resources input into the policing outfits that secure communities. Since the centralized system has become obsolete and barely effective.

3. Poverty reduction and addresing the lack of opportunities, creating jobs, resolving the perennial issue of farmers and herder's clash will also be a crucial step will go a long  way in combating this menace.

4. Mass investment in agriculture, infrastructure, education and other avenues to increase youth employment is crucial to solving these problems.

5. Lastly a review of our national security architecture is of utmost importance and provision of modern equipment and facilities to help security agents remains tantamount to winning this war between good and evil.

In conclusion as a nation and has a people the time to act and act decisively is now to prevent further loss of lives and properties.

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