Various issues have been plaguing the Northern part of the country. This includes widespread poverty, massive illiteracy rate, porous borders, and most importantly, banditry and insurgency.
The latter takes the cake amongst the numerous vices that afflict the region. For example, a Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) report indicates that 2,968 people were maimed and murdered in the first three months of 2022.
The alarming data also signified that the bulk of the offences was committed in northern Nigeria. Further statistics reported that the north has more recorded deaths, with 2,575 deaths making up 86.8% of the murders and the south recorded 393 deaths accounting for 13.2% of the total death.
Kidnapping by these nefarious agents also seems to be at an all-time high as Nigeria recorded 1,484 kidnapped cases in the first quarter of this year. A further look into the report from the Nigeria Security Tracker shows that in the first month of 2022, the highest number of kidnapped cases was recorded as 623 people being abducted. On the other hand, February had just 342 kidnapped issues while March had 519.
These bandits have established a de-facto government in some parts of the country. Various news agencies have reported that they attack some communities at will, demand taxes from the residents and allow cultivation in an already stripped farmland after collecting protection fees.
In some other cases, ransom is being collected after influential people in the community are being kidnapped. Traditional rulers have lost any shard of influence as they become victims of abductors.
Alhaji Hassan Shamidozhi, rural head of a community in Kwali, Federal Capital Territory Abuja, was abducted on Wednesday, 31 March 2022. Daily Trust reported that he has since been rescued after the abductors demanded N20 million, although his family paid 4 Million Naira as ransom.
Victims of St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, had a mass burial after the fatal attack on the church after the church service on 5 June 2022. Fifty deaths were recorded after the aftermath of the attacks, and 61 injured survivors are currently alive, relieving the incidents in their heads. However, no arrest has been made to that effect, and the town and the state are currently in turmoil.
These cases of banditry are a compound effect of other ailments that currently afflicts Nigeria. Global warming, which has led to reduced rainfall and lesser vegetation, allows nomads to wander deep into the countryside, wreaking havoc on cultivated farmland. People then have no option but to pick up guns to cover such losses.
It’s, without a doubt, the security apparel in the country has been in a poor state. Poor remuneration of the security operatives dampens their morale. It mitigates recruiting Into the armed forces, and as a result, they offer little or no resistance to this agent of darkness. Just two days ago, members of the gallant Nigerian Army lost their lives as Two Captains and One Soldier when the Guards Brigade undergoing Routine Patrol was ambushed in Bwari, a local government in the federal capital territory, Abuja.
Efforts must be made to resolve the issues from the bottom by ensuring quality education programs and providing a suitable business environment for citizens to thrive. In addition, alliance must exist between the federal government and the States, as reports abound of some state governors harbouring these marauders in their region.