WE are pleasantly surprised that our military and security agencies have woken up, and are moving in the right direction towards reining in the forces behind our insecurity.
The continued onslaughts against the Boko Haram Terrorists, BHTs, and their Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP, allies, scorching of Ansaru bases in Kaduna forests and military strikes on Bandit-Terrorist bases in the North-West and Abuja precincts are very heartening.
Although we disagree with Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who recently claimed “the worst is over”, we are solidly behind our armed and security forces in their new resolve to restore order.
We are still waiting for a full deployment against herdsmen terrorists. Without this, doubts will still linger as to the government’s sincerity in solving our security challenges holistically.
Many indigenous communities are still being attacked, unchallenged. The Federal Government continues to ignore the armed herdsmen terrorism, thus lending credence to the accusations of state condonation of their terrorist campaigns.
The latest commendable act, this time by the Department of State Services, DSS, is the arrest in Egypt of Tukur Mamu, the self-acclaimed Abuja-Kaduna train hostage negotiator. Mamu is the publisher of Desert Herald and spokesman of controversial Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, an unabashed advocate for the Bandit-Terrorists of the North- West and North-Central.
Gumi, Mamu and some Northern governors have been playing unclear roles since the upsurge of terrorism in the North-West. At the height of the bandits’ terrorism, when states like Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi and Niger became helpless at their onslaughts, Gumi surprisingly went into their dens in the wilderness and became their mouthpiece and proponent. These people kicked against moves to get the Federal Government declare the bandits as terrorists.
A governor was once quoted as saying that while groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Yoruba Nation wanted to break up Nigeria, the Bandit-Terrorists whose specialty was kidnapping for ransom, were merely “transactional businessmen”!
The Federal Government’s failure to apprehend all these questionable individuals and groups seemingly promoting the activities of terrorists baffled Nigerians and led many to speculate “collusion” by senior elements of the Buhari government.
Mamu’s arrest and questioning represents an important turning point in the Buhari government’s attitude towards dealing with insecurity in the North.
We hope this will not be a one-off event, but a sustained effort to root out terrorist sponsors, collaborators, sympathisers and enhancers in whatever form, no matter how highly placed. This is the only right way to tackle this problem.
Mamu must be thoroughly questioned on how he became a ransom negotiator, how he acquired the military uniforms and huge cash allegedly discovered by the DSS in his house. Let the law take its course.