Dislodge Boko Haram Terrorists In Niger State – LEADERSHIP NEWS
FILE – In this file image taken from video released late Friday evening, Oct. 31, 2014, by Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, centre, the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group. Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamic extremists have a new leader who promises to end attacks on mosques and markets used by Muslims, according to an interview published Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 by the Islamic State. The group’s newspaper al-Nadaa identifies Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the new “Wali” of its West Africa Province _ a title previously used to describe long-time leader Abubakar Shekau. (Boko Haram, via AP, File)
The chairman of Shiroro local government area in Niger State, Suleiman Chukuba, recently disclosed that over 500 communities in his local government have been taken over by Boko Haram insurgents.
Chukuba told journalists that no fewer than eight wards in the local government are now under Boko Haram siege. He named the affected areas as Manta, Gurmana, Bassa-Kokki, Allawa, Kurebe, Kushaka, Kwati, Chukuba, and Galadima Kogo.
“They incorporate the people of those communities by telling them they have arms and money to give them so they can assist them in fighting the government,” he said.
For a state under the stranglehold of bandits, this is sad and unacceptable.
We recall that in April, Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello said Boko Haram members hoisted their flag in Kaure in Shiroro local government area.
Sadly, earlier this year also, Governor Abdulahi Sule confirmed the presence of Boko Haram terrorist group in Nasarawa State who are now regrouping and causing havoc.
To be sure, Niger State is just two hours’ drive from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and terrorists taking over communities in the state will expose Abuja to terrorists.
Niger State had hitherto been regarded as one of the most peaceful and safest states in Nigeria, but the state has now doubtlessly caught the bug of banditry in the country.
Ethno-religious crisis, herders and farmers clashes which were rampant in the north-central states were non-existent in the state all this while.
However, the state has been hit with the wave of banditry in recent times with Shiroro as the epicentre of banditry and killings in Niger State.
It is believed that the military-led campaign against bandits in Zamfara and Katsina states forced most of them to relocate to Niger State to continue their nefarious activities.
This newspaper finds it disturbing that Niger State has not received the desired military intervention as the bandits are still having a field day in Rafi, Munya, Paikoro, Shiroro, Mashegu, Tafa, Mariga, Lapai, and Gurara local government areas.
For instance, on February 17, 2021, a pupil was killed and 27 others were abducted by bandits from their school in Kagara, Niger State. There were also reports that Boko Haram collaborated with bandits in the Kagara school adoption.
In March, bandits invaded Jangaru village in the Rafi local government area of Niger State, kidnapping no fewer than 30 people.
In June this year, 20 persons were reported dead as bandits again attacked Zungeru and neighboring communities.
Also in July, no fewer than 10 bandits and two policemen were said to have died in a gun duel that lasted for hours during a repelled attack on police camp at Kundu Village, Zungeru in Niger State.
This newspaper also recalls that the modus operandi of Boko Haram in 2013 and 2014 was taking over towns and hoisting their flags. In 2014 Boko Haram was in control of 24 local governments in the northeast. In 2015, the Nigerian military took over the captured towns.
Regrettably, this year Boko Haram terrorists loyal to the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) hoisted their flags in many places including military outposts in New Marte and Kirenowa, in Borno State.
Happily, the Nigerian military some days later successfully retook Marte, killing scores of ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists who had seized the area a few days earlier.
Boko Haram terrorists taking over communities and hoisting their flag is disturbing, in the considered opinion of this newspaper. It is a declaration of war against the Nigerian state and that should not be tolerated by our armed forces.
In view of the foregoing, we call on the armed forces to, as a matter of urgency, dislodge Boko Haram terrorists in the 500 communities in Niger State. We believe in the ability and capacity of the military to carry out this task. A combined team of military and police operatives should be deployed to tackle the worrisome situation now.
The north-central should not be allowed to become another epicentre of insurgency in the country as Nigeria is yet to recover from the activities of Boko Haram in the northeast. And if Niger is overrun by terrorists and bandits, their next target could be the Federal Capital Territory.
Nothing less than the full weight of the Armed Forces is needed to flush out the Boko Haram elements and bandits from all their hideouts, especially the forests in Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara, and Katsina states. The time to end the menace of insurgency and banditry in the country is now!
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