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Kidnappers kill 1545, abduct 1321 in 2022 first quarter

By Clifford Ndujihe

ACROSS the country many families are in tears, gnashing their teeth over the kidnap or killing of their loved ones by bandits, gunmen, Boko Haram insurgents or terrorists.

On a daily basis, the polity is awash with reports of bandits or gunmen attacking communities, killing and kidnapping scores of people in many states of the country, especially in the North-West.

Now, the country is saddled with a fresh dimension to the deadly menace- attacks on trains. No fewer than nine people died, 41 were injured and scores were declared missing after bandits attacked a Kaduna-Abuja bound train, on Monday.

A group of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, the Community of Practice Against Mass Atrocities, and the Joint Action Civil Society Committee under the auspices of Nigeria Mourns, Thursday, said that no fewer than 1, 545 Nigerians were killed and 1,321 were abducted by terrorist groups between January 1 and March 30, 2022, a period of 90 days.

Leaders of the group: Auwal Rafsanjani; Adamu Kortokoshi; Redzie Jugo; Ken Henshaw; Iheoma Obibi; Mr Jaye Gaskia; Chris Kwaja; Ier Jonathan-Ichaver; and Abiodun Baiyewu, in a message said: ”We condemn in strong terms the increased spate of insecurity across the country; and call on the Nigerian government to take actionable steps to mitigate further attacks by terrorist groups, and to account for the missing and the dead of the recent terror incidents, especially, the Abuja-Kaduna train bombings.

“Between January 1, and March 30, 2022, Nigeria recorded at least 1,545 persons killed, and at least 1,321 persons abducted by terrorists.

We also note with alarm recent major incidences across the country including The killing of more than 65 persons in a single attack by terrorists in Kebbi State; The continued siege to communities in Southern Kaduna which has resulted in more than 100 victims in the past week, in spite of the fact that Kaduna State is home to at least 21 military bases and formations; The continued siege to communities in Niger State, including the takeover of the Suleja-Abuja Road by terrorists in the past month; Resumed attacks in Bassa LGA of Plateau State; An uptick in cases of kidnapping across the country Increased reporting of ritual killings; The continued atrocities in the South East of the country, especially in Imo state; The attack on the Kaduna airport last weekend; And most recently, The bombing of the Abuja-Kaduna train, and Gidan train station; and The takeover of the Kaduna-Abuja Express Road by terrorists.

We are alarmed by the brazenness with which these “technically defeated terrorists” continue to compromise our individual and collective security as Nigerians.”

 Indeed, the recurring attacks are in spite of repeated orders by President Muhammadu Buhari to security forces to check the ugly trend.

In fact, in the last 72 hours the President has issued two orders or directives to security forces on insecurity in  the country.

The two orders marked the 28th order President Buhari would be issuing to security chiefs in 35 months.

On March 29, the President directed security agencies to ensure that all the passengers that were kidnapped by bandits after attacking the Abuja to Kaduna bound train were rescued

President Buhari also gave a marching order to the security to ensure that each of the callous terrorists that carried out the dastardly act was hunted down and made to face justice for the heinous acts, saying no one or group should be allowed to make the country prostrate.

The President gave the directives after receiving briefs from the Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, with the Chief of Army Staff,  Lt-General Faruk Yahaya,  the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, as well as Major General Samuel Adebayo, the Chief of Defence Intelligence and the Director-General of the Department of State Services,  DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

President Buhari directed the immediate conclusion of all the processes for the implementation of the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line which he said should be extended to cover the Lagos-Ibadan railway line.

The President reiterated his earlier directive that the military should deal ruthlessly with terrorists. He asked them to be more decisive and not spare anyone unlawfully wielding the AK 47 weapon.

Few hours after the order bandits attacked two communities in Giwa LGA of Kaduna State, killing 23 and abducting many people.

On March 31, President Buhari directed the Police, and security agencies to end cult killings in Ogun State.

The President according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, was reacting to reports reaching him on the renewed cult violence, with Ogun State as the new battlefront.

He ordered the police and other law enforcement agencies to confront head-on, groups seeking to destroy peace and bring disorder before they gain strength.

“What should frighten us is that the deadly cult groups are increasingly attracting lonely, anxious, troubled youth who they trap in unorthodox social practices. Parents and religious leaders must come to grasp what is going on and halt the radicalization of our youth,” he said.

Given the security situation and what transpired after similar orders in the past, the question on the lips of some observers is whether or not the latest order will be carried out in full with direly needed results.

Indeed, a security source said the security forces were obeying the orders and doing their best, adding that but for their patriotic services things would have been worse.

“We always see actual attacks. For every successful attack, the security forces would have presented 100, that is apart from headlong confrontation with the terrorists. We need to give the security forces encouragement and support.”

According to the Nigeria Security Tracker handled by the Council on Foreign Relations, which catalogues deaths due to violent incidents related to political, economic, and social grievances, no fewer than 23,134 Nigerians were killed between November 23, 2021, and April 2019 when President Buhari first ordered security agencies to be ruthless with bandits and criminals.

Between July 2011 and November 23, 2021, the death figure was 84,648.

We must treat economic saboteurs with an iron hand — Senator Buhari

Chairman Senate on Marine and Land Transportation, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, APC Oyo North, has lamented the recurring attacks on railway tracks and trains in Kaduna and urged the Federal Government to treat the attackers as economic saboteurs.

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Senator Buhari, whose Senate committee oversights the Railway, regretted that he was mocked recently when he moved a motion that criminals removing rail tracks should be shot.

For the second time in less than six months bandits on, Monday night, attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train killing eight persons, injuring 26 with scores of others declared missing.

Worried that rail, which is regarded as the safest means of transportation is now becoming deadly, Senator Buhari, who is aspiring to govern Oyo State in 2023 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, said: “The situation we find ourselves is very unfortunate. The incident of three days ago was hellish. If someone had predicted that people could think of removing rail tracks, I would not have believed it.

“Last September I moved a motion that anybody caught removing rail tracks or attacking trains is an economic saboteur. People criticised me that this is a democracy, and I should not talk like that.

“With this incident, the Government should get a satellite, locate where these people are,, arrest them and deal with them.”

Timeline of some Buhari’s orders April 11, 2019: Deal ruthlessly with bandits

On April 11, 2019, President Buhari ordered the service chiefs and the acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to deal ruthlessly with armed bandits and kidnappers terrorising different parts of the country. “You must locate and smoke them out wherever they exist,” Buhari was quoted as saying.

April 12, 2019: Rout bandits terrorising Zamfara

On April 12t, 2019, President Buhari reportedly ordered security chiefs to rout bandits terrorising Zamfara State and its environs. He also charged them to tackle cases of kidnapping and other security challenges across the country.

 The then Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin said: “The president gave us a marching order to deal with this issue immediately and ruthlessly and ensure that all those bandits are immediately dealt with and all those issues bordering on our security are properly addressed

August 2019: Be more spontaneous in tackling insecurity

In August 2019, Buhari tasked the military to be more spontaneous in restoring peace to the country, particularly in states troubled by bandits.

The Commander in Chief of the country’s Armed Forces also ordered them not to spare bandits that have been killing, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.

September 11, 2019: Treat Boko Haram as bandits

On September 11, 2019, Buhari disclosed that the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East region of the country are the ones operating as bandits killing innocent citizens.

April 4, 2020: Flush out bandits from forests

President Buhari ordered the Nigerian Army to join the Police to flush out bandits from forests around the country. Presidential Spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari gave the order following the killing of 22 people in Sokoto state during an attack by armed bandits, and the killing of 10 people in Bassa LGA of Plateau state.

May 17, 2020: Crackdown on kidnappers, bandits in Katsina

On May 17 May 2020, Buhari ordered a total crackdown and sweep away bandits and kidnappers perpetrating heinous crimes in Katsina state.

A statement from the Presidency read: “A major proactive operation by Special Forces, whose details are being kept secret, is now in progress to replace the reactive strikes against insurgent camps. To give a full effect to the exercise, a planning team is already in the state selecting targets and making preparations for the execution of the “unprecedented” operation.

However, in December 2020, schoolchildren were abducted from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara town, Katsina State by a group of gunmen. This was at a time when the president was on a private visit to his Daura hometown, which is less than 150 km from the scene of the incident.

November 2020: Armed forces empowered to combat insecurity

In November 2020, President Buhari, while condemning the killing of no fewer than 43 farmers by Boko Haram, in the town of Zabarmari, less than 20 km from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, noted that the Federal Government had given the armed forces the support to tackle insecurity in the country.

President Buhari stated he had given all the needed support to the armed forces “to take all necessary steps to protect the country’s population and its territory.”

January 22, 2021: End banditry in Zamfara

On January 22, 2021, President Buhari directed the country’s security agencies to intensify their efforts to end the scourge of banditry in the North-western state of Zamfara following a resurgence of criminal activities.

“President Buhari issued the directive to the National Security Adviser, to ensure that there is a clear pathway to ending the resurgent banditry in Zamfara State, which has continued to cost lives and the displacement of thousands of families from their towns and villages,” a statement from the presidency said.

February 25, 2021: Deal with criminals as criminals

On February 25, 2021, President Buhari assured Nigerians that his government would continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens. The president stressed that “criminals are criminals and must be dealt with accordingly without resulting in ethnic profiling.”

March 2, 2021: Recover all areas occupied by insurgents, bandits, kidnappers

On March 2, 2021, the President ordered the nation’s security chiefs to recover all areas being occupied by insurgents, bandits and kidnappers across the country.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno told State House correspondents that the president gave the order during the National Security Council meeting.

According to him, no sovereign nation will allow a group of non-state actors to bring it down to its knees and render the state in a state of panic, apprehension, distrust and disorder.

March 11, 2021: Shoot-on-sight illegal possessors AK-47

On March 11, 2021, President Buhari gave security chiefs marching orders to go harder on criminals, including to shoot anyone found illegally with an AK-47.

The President spoke at a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria at the State House, co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.

March 30, 31, 2021: Take out bandits, kidnappers, their sponsors

On March 31 2021, Buhari ordered the country’s security chiefs to identify and crush bandits, kidnappers, their local collaborators and sponsors to restore confidence in the society.

This was during a meeting with the security chiefs at the State House, Abuja, before leaving for a medical check-up in the UK.

The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, said the president warned that his administration would no longer accept a situation where bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements are dictating the pace in the fight against insecurity in the country while the security agencies remained reactionary.

May 13, 2021: Deploy all manpower to deal with bandits

On May 13, 2021, Buhari pledged that his administration would deploy every available manpower in dealing with bandits to prevent them from wreaking havoc on farms and food production in the coming planting season.

Addressing newsmen at the State House, Abuja shortly after observing the Eid-el-Fitri prayers, the President said, “The law enforcement agencies are working hard to regain confidence against bandits so that we can go back to the land.’’

June 1, 2021: Be harder on those bent on destroying Nigeria

On June 1, 2021, Buhari also promised that his government will get “harder” on those hell-bent on destroying Nigeria, promising that those wanting to destroy his government would receive the shock of their lives as his administration would do everything possible to ensure they fail.

June 10, 2021: Treat bandits in the language they understand

On June 10, 2021, President Buhari ordered the Military to treat bandits in ‘the language they understand’ and “be ruthless” against bandits terrorising the North-West region of the country.

June 17, 2021: Make insurgents, bandits feel the ferocity of Nigeria’s firepower

During a visit to Borno State on June 17, 2021, Buhari promised to visit insurgents and bandits the ferocity of the nation’s firepower and the weight of the resolve to allow for peace and security.

Addressing men and officers of the Armed Forces in Maiduguri, during the visit to assess the security situation of the country and to commission some projects, the President said: “By pooling together, the collective resources and comparative advantages of the Armed Forces and other security agencies, we hope the enemy will now feel the ferocity of our firepower and the weight of our resolve.”

July 10, 2021: Crush all bandits now

On July 10, 2021, the President condemned the incessant attacks and killings being perpetrated by bandits in Zamfara, Kaduna and other states in the North and urged the military to crush the criminals

The President in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, asked the military to respond to the bandits in a language that the bandits understand.

August 19, 2021: I won’t exit office a failure, Buhari tells security Chief

President Buhari, on August 19, 2021, ordered heads of security agencies in the country to address the alarming insecurity in the country, saying he was not prepared to exit office as a failure.

September 7, 2021: End selective abductions, killings

On September 7, 2021, Buhari ordered security chiefs to end selective abductions, killings in North-East, and North-Central.

He charged security chiefs to devise tactics to solve the country’s security challenges, especially the spate of abductions and killings in the North-West and North-Central.

The President gave the marching order just as bandits struck on September 5 and 6, 2021 in Katsina and Kaduna states, abducting 26 persons, including women and children.

September 29, 2021: End violence being unleashed on Nigerians

President Buhari on September 29, 2021, enjoined security agencies and leaders of thought to work harder to bring an end to the violence being unleashed on innocent Nigerians.

He expressed sadness over the gruesome killing of Dr Chike Akunyili, widower of the late Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dora Akunyili, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

November 27, 2021

President  Buhari ordered security chiefs to go after bandits and terrorists in the country, saying they must not rest until all Nigerians are at rest.

He gave the order at the National Security Council, NSC, meeting he presided over at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. At the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno, retd; Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Leo Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff; and Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali among other.

March 11, 2022

President Buhari Thursday in Abuja emphasised that security chiefs have received marching orders to go harder on criminals, including to shoot anyone found illegally with AK-47.

The president spoke at a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria at the State House, co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.

The meeting was attended by security chiefs including the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the Director-General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

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