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– Bandits are Terrorists, Enough of Useless ProposalsTHISDAYLIVE – THISDAY Newspapers

RingTrue BY  Yemi Adebowale  Phone 08054699539
Last week, the Senate upheld a motion by Ibrahim Gobir, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the bandits ravaging the North-west as terrorists. This is the most recent of the series of silly contributions of our senators to the war against terrorism. Are the bandits not already terrorists? It is a big shame that these senators don’t even know that bandits are also terrorists because they are involved in killing, violence, intimidation, bombing and kidnapping. They are outlaws, crooks gangsters, brigands, robbers, thieves, thugs that strike fear into others with their activities. So, telling the President to declare them “terrorists’ is preposterous. They are already terrorists. They do not require any special labeling.
Perhaps, the senators want the President to formally declare the bandits “terrorists.” I still can’t understand. What will that change? The indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was declared a terror organisation a long time ago; yet, IPOB’s murderous activities have not been contained. Boko Haram was declared a terror organisation too, but they still go about killing and maiming. I often wonder if these senators have anything to offer this country. The only positive thing in their stupid motion was the call on Buhari to declare “a total war” on the felons “and as a matter of urgency, order the military to eliminate the bandits by bombing their hideouts.” They simply confirmed what most of us know; that Buhari, has not in the real sense of it, declared “a total war” on terrorists and that the military lacks clear instruction to bomb their hideouts. This is why terrorists are enjoying a free rein in the North-west, North-east, North-central and South-east.
For me, the Buhari government has to do the needful and end the agony inflicted by terrorists across the country. We have had enough of this nomenclature debate. Bandits are terrorists. The Senate should hold the President accountable for all the killings by the terrorists and put pressure on him to perform his constitutional duties of protecting lives and property. A combination of foreign military contractors, and a properly rejigged gallant Nigerian soldiers, can end the killings across our country in a matter of weeks, if the Buhari government so desires.
If Senator Gobir is genuinely concerned about ending terrorism, he should be pushing for what I have highlighted. This senator should be pushing for improved military approach with help from abroad. Gobir should be pushing for practical actions against terrorists, not cosmetic ones like “declaring bandits terrorists.” At present, terrorists are rampaging in Gobir’s Sokoto South constituency. Sabon Bimini and Isa local government areas are in a mess. Two weeks ago, about 21 security men – 15 soldiers, three mobile policemen, and three Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps members – were killed in Dama and Gangara villages by the rampaging terrorists. In addition, scores of civilians in neighbouring villages were slaughtered on the same day. Do you need to formally declare the killers terrorists to bring them to book?
Because the Buhari government has abysmally failed to tame terrorists, the killings have persisted. Last Tuesday, Fulani militias entered Yasore village in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State and slaughtered 10 people. The terrorists also looted several houses, rustled animals and set ablaze scores of houses and food barns. They were in Yasore village for almost 24 hours. The telecommunication shutdown in the LGA prevented residents from seeking any form of assistance from security agencies.
Also last Tuesday, the Fulani militias entered Kurya Madaro community in Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of Zamfara State and killed scores of people, including women and children. Vehicles, houses, food banks and shops were also set ablaze. A resident of Kurya Madaro, Malam Mohammed Lawali, said: “Immediately they started the attack, our district head informed the military and other security personnel but we didn’t see them until the following day.”
Eight days back, medical charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, lost a staff nurse, Hassan Mohammad, to the terrorists in Zamfara State. Hassan, 37, and two other passengers were killed when the guerrillas opened fire on a commercial bus along Shinkafi-Kaura Namoda Road. The MSF nurse was returning to his work station in Shinkafi town when the terrorists attacked the vehicle. Hapless Hassan lived a life of service to humanity and God, as a life-saving professional, providing medical humanitarian assistance to the people of Shinkafi. In this LG, MSF teams run a 33-bed therapeutic feeding centre and an in-patient paediatric department at the local general hospital.
MSF said: “Mohammad’s tragic death is an example of the rising violence in North-West Nigeria that is deeply affecting the lives of the population and has driven thousands of people from their homes.”
The Speaker of Zamfara State House of Assembly, Nasiru Magarya and his family are still in tears. I doubt if the tears will ever dry. The terrorists attacked his country home at Magarya on September 16, burnt it and abducted his father alongside five other members of his family. Last week, after a hefty ransom was paid, they released the five family members and sent a message to the speaker that his father, Muazu Magarya, had died of a heart attack in their den. Just like that! Efforts to have his body released proved abortive.
It’s so difficult talking about getting the killers of Pa Muazu Magarya, when security agencies that should do this hardly respond appropriately when their colleagues are killed by these outlaws. My heart often bleeds whenever I remember attacks on military personnel and facilities. Few weeks back, when the terrorists attacked Forward Operation Base (FOB) at Burkusuma, in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, the nation was promised that the attackers would be apprehended. The promise is now looking like a mirage.
Fifteen security agents were killed in the Burkusuma attack. Honestly, the military needs complete overhauling in order to respond appropriately to attacks by terrorists. It’s shocking that after the Burkusuma attack, they told a bewildered country that “the attackers came in large numbers, using telecom network provided from neighbouring country, capitalised on the lean rear area protection force, when the main troops were out conducting offensive operations within their area of responsibility.” This statement from the Nigerian military is horrendous. With this, they have also admitted that the tactics of disconnecting telecom facilities in the troubled areas is useless.
I often struggle to understand how amid all these killings across the country, Buhari is confortable sitting in the Villa as President. It is befuddling. Our President must be prodded to raise his game. Buhari must be nudged. This is where federal lawmakers should come in. Not telling him the President to “declare bandits as terrorists.”
Bauchi Governor and Bogoro Secondary School
Weeks after public outcry about the wretched state of Government Secondary School, Bogoro, Bauchi State, the college is still in a big mess. Governor Bala Mohammed has failed to respond appropriately to the plight of this school not fit for even goats. The Chairman, Bogoro Local Government Area, Iliya Habila, recently lamented: “The whole school needs urgent and total renovation. Apart from the administrative block, all structures, including staff quarters, are in a sorry state not befitting of even animal habitation. Its dilapidation symbolises the injustice meted to our people in the past.”
Governor Mohammed has to truly rescue the only Government boarding school in Bogoro from total collapse. This school is on the long list of dilapidated primary and secondary schools in Bauchi State begging for attention. This talk about Bala Mohammed performing is a ruse. In this state, so many pupils still study under trees.
The other day, this governor said he was shocked by the fact that there were pupils still learning under trees in his state. Bala, who was on his way to Bogoro, to distribute empowerment materials, saw pupils of Dajin Community Primary School located along Dawaki – Pankshin road in Tafawa Balewa LGA, learning under trees and stopped to speak to them. Bala should stop being shocked and face reality. His government has done very little to address this problem. Weeks after he directed the Ministry of Education to immediately begin the construction of classroom blocks for Dajin Community, very little has happened. The pupils are still under the trees.
The major problem with Bala is that he is spending too much time fighting perceived enemies, instead of focusing on governance. For example, I still can’t understand why he pulled down the house of the member representing Bauchi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Yakubu Abdullahi, located in Old GRA. Can you imagine Bala saying the law maker was using his house as hideout for criminals to terrorise residents of the area. This is ludicrous. The Bauchi governor just wanted to punish him. The fact that Abdullahi is politically opposed to Bala should not result in his house being demolished. Bala’s action was for political reasons. This garbage in Bauchi must end.
A Word for IG Baba
My dear IG Usman Alkali Baba, I’m sure you must have seen Abuja-based clergyman, Daniel Wiseman, recently pictured riding his bicycle with six policemen and a patrol van following him. Yes, six policemen protecting him during his workout. You know that this clergyman is not in the category of people constitutionally entitled to such privilege. Policemen that were withdrawn from politicians, clerics, businessmen and others not entitled to such, are being returned. They are being posted to carry hand bags for all manner of people. That is what the Nigerian Police Force under your command is fast turning into.
Men withdrawn by your predecessor, Mohammed Adamu, are being returned to these big men amid surging crime and shortage of personnel in numerous commands. Emphasis is now on protecting rich private citizens. Combat policemen are so many in private residential buildings and offices across our country, providing security for the big men. I recently saw a senator at a social function in Lagos with eight policemen. Wonders will never end in Nigeria. The Force headquarters is sorting out these big men. This must not continue. IG Baba, you must urgently reverse this ugly trend. Policemen must be withdrawn from these Nigerians not constitutionally entitled to them.
Usman Bugaje on Point
The current Nigerian leadership lacks the experience, knowledge and character needed to lead and rescue the country from the present challenges, so says a former federal law maker, Usman Bugaje, while speaking at the Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture series in Minna, Niger State last Thursday.
Bugaje believes competent leadership will address the many challenges facing the country and that 20 years into democracy, the trust between the government and the citizens had died.
He adds: “Twenty years into democracy, the scale of corruption and poverty is flabbergasting. We ask ourselves, why is democracy not working, why is it not delivering what we want? Something needs to be done urgently and that is not about restructuring but a change in leadership.
“In Nigeria today, politics is not stable. The APC and PDP are the same; that is why one would defect from one party to another and be comfortable there. Don’t go into the 2023 elections blindly. We cannot continue with this type of politics, we can’t continue with this kind of democracy.
“Our leaders have not solved insecurity, poverty, corruption and unemployment; so, it is time for a change. We will not allow political parties to bring the same type of people to rule us. Political parties have to ensure that there are criteria for leadership recruitment. If any party does not have any criteria, they should be forgotten.”
What more can I add? Bugaje has said it all. The current leadership of this country is a disgrace. This is the truth that must be told.


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