Name Schoolgirls’ Abductors, ACF, Afenifere, PANDEF Tell Zamfara Gov

Kindly Share This Story:

•Concerns mount over security agencies’ inability to combat school abductions despite multiple operations
•Boko Haram regrouping in Nasarawa, gov warns

By Deji Elumoye, Kingsley Nwezeh, Udora Orizu in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna

Zamfara State Governor, Mr. Bello Matawalle, came under fire yesterday over his statement that he knew the abductors of the 317 pupils of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of the state.

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF); the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere; the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF); Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) and the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) took on Matawalle and challenged him to reveal their identity.

Besides, the ACF, Kaduna State chapter of CAN and SOKAPU also expressed concerns about the inability of security agencies to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country, especially the rising wave of abductions of secondary school pupils by bandits.

They said given the various operations launched by the military and the police, among other security agencies in different geopolitical zones, Nigerians should feel safer now.

The ACF, Kaduna State chapter of CAN and SOKAPU called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ask Matawalle to reveal the identity of the bandits that kidnapped the 317 schoolgirls in the state.

The PANDEF and Afenifere also challenged Matawalle to reveal the identity of the kidnappers and their sponsors.
Matawalle, on Sunday, had told 17 emirs in the state that paid him a sympathy visit over the abduction of the schoolgirls that Nigerians would be shocked to know those behind the abduction of the 317 pupils.

He said: “Many people will be surprised to hear those people behind the abduction of these innocent children.

“They are not comfortable with the progress I am getting as a result of my peace initiative and they want to do all they can to sabotage my efforts.”

Reacting to the governor’s claim in an interview with THISDAY, PANDEF and Afenifere said the governor should go ahead and reveal the identity of the kidnappers as he would be amazed Nigerians won’t be shocked because they knew those behind banditry and kidnapping.

PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson, said it would be no exaggeration if they were to say those other governors, as well as some officials of the federal government and the security agencies knew the bandits and their locations in the forests.

He said: ”The governor of Zamfara State knows them; he has been interfacing with them and doling out money to them. It would be no exaggeration if we were to say that other governors, as well as some officials of the federal government and the security agencies, also know who these bandits are and their locations in the forests.

”The nation was recently, rudely, stunned by a so-called Sheikh Gumi when he asserted that the bandits and killer herders terrorising the country were not criminals but Northern militants fighting for ethnic survival. “Unsurprisingly, there has been no condemnation of the statement by the said sheikh from the Northern elite, or his arrest by the federal government for his reckless and bizarre comments capable of undermining national security.

“That explains why the bandits and the killer herders are getting kid gloves treatment from the security agencies. It is all balderdash, so unfortunate that this is what Nigeria has become.”

Afenifere, on its part, described the governor’s statement as a sign of leadership failure.

Its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, stated that Matawalle might even get some better result talking to the criminals than going through the security agents.

He said: “The governor has information that the ordinary man on the street doesn’t have, and there is leadership failure in the land and nobody to report to. He may even get some better result talking to the criminals than going through the security that a former chief of defence says are in collusion with the criminals.”

In his contribution, the spokesman of the SOKAPU, Mr. Luka Binniyat, called on Buhari to invite the governor for questioning.

“For the governor to say that he knows those behind this evil, but would not go after them, the federal government should invite him for questioning,” he stated.
According to him, the governor has access to intelligence reports and must therefore know those behind the heinous crime.

“Why he would not bring them to justice is baffling. More strange is his insistence on granting amnesty to the criminals even when it is clear that there is no sincerity on the part of the outlaws to keep to any terms,” he said.

The spokesman of the ACF, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe, also called on Buhari to order Matawalle to explain the basis for hiding the identity of the Yawe wondered why the governor is hiding their identity.

Asked why he thinks the governor is hiding the identity of the criminals, Yawe said:
“Only Zamfara State governor can answer this question. Why is he hiding the identity of people who have committed such a heinous crime against humanity? The president must ask him to explain.”

Also in his reaction, the Kaduna State Chairman of the CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said the statement by the governor confirmed doubts about the sincerity of those in charge of security.

He said: “It is no longer news to Nigerians that those in authority know those responsible for our pains, sorrows and all the evil that is happening in our country but have chosen to play games with us.

“The statement by the governor of Zamfara State has further confirmed our doubt about the sincerity of those we have been trusting.”

He wondered when those in authority will tell Nigerians the truth about the security situation.

“Are they waiting till we are all dead before our killers and their sponsors will be exposed or arrested?

“CAN want to challenge the governor of Zamfara and all others who have been making similar confessions to shame the devil and save Nigerians by saying the truth and nothing but the truth if not we will believe they are all in the same camp,” Hayab added.

According to him, the identity of the bandits is only a secret to their victims, but not to Sheikh Gumi and those in power who only make statements about the deaths of Nigerians but cannot stop the killings.

“The statement by the federal government that the abduction of the Zamfara school girls will be the end, which also makes this suspicion looks real.

“Are they saying this will be the end because they are tired of dribbling us or they have completed negotiations with the bandits or the bandits and all criminals terrorising our land have been captured?

“Our leaders need to show they love this country and her citizens enough to bring the evil going on to an end by capturing and prosecuting those who have denied us sleep and make many of our citizens widows and orphans,” he said.

Concerns over Security Agencies’ Inability to Combat School Abductions Despite Multiple Operations

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) and the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have expressed concerns about the inability of security agencies to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country, especially the rising wave of abductions of secondary school pupils by bandits.

They said given the various operations launched by the military and the police, among other security agencies in different geopolitical zones, Nigerians should feel safer now.

They spoke against the backdrop of the accusation by the Northern Youths Movement (NYM) that the military was culpable in the abduction of over 300 pupils of GGSS, Jangebe.
The ACF, SOKAPU and CAN, however, asked security agencies to speak out on allegations of poor handling of the security situation in the country.

But in a swift reaction, the military authorities yesterday frowned at the accusation that the military was complicit in the kidnap of the 317 pupils in Zamfara State.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima, told THISDAY that “anybody can wake up and call a press conference but the issue is: What is the substance of your press conference?

“How can you accuse the military? First of all is it the work of the military? Why are you (THISDAY) supporting them and putting us under unnecessary pressure. Is it not the work of police? Is it the work of the military?

“They are entitled to their own opinion. But this is funny. How did they reach such a conclusion? Is the security of the state in the hands of the soldiers? Is it not in the hands of the governor? The governor has a right to use police or soldiers and complain. That should go to the police.”

Force spokesman, Commissioner of Police (CP), Frank Mba, did not respond to the allegation when contacted through calls and text messages.

Concerns have been raised that despite the numerous police and military operations launched across the country, abduction and banditry have continued to rise.

For instance, to combat terrorism, the Nigerian Army launched Operation Lafiya Dole in July 2015, followed by Operation Sharan Daji (clearing the bushes) also in the same month to tackle rustling and armed banditry in the North-west.

Also launched in 2015 were Operations Shirin Harbi, to tackle insecurity in Bauchi and Gombe states; Operation Harbin Kunama to eliminate cattle rustling and banditry in the Dansadau Forest of Zamfara State; Operation Harbin Kunama II launched in July 2017, to tackle cattle rustling, herdsmen crisis and banditry in North-west and North-central; Operation Dokaji in the North-west and North-central and Operation Karamin Goro, launched in January 2018 to curb insecurity in Minna-Birnin Gwari-Pandogari and Minna-Sarkin Pawa general area.

There are also Operation Long Reach in the North-east, Operation Whirl Stroke in the North-central, Exercise Sahel Sanity in the North-west and Operation Ruwan Wuta I, II, and III in the North-east.

There was also Operation Ayem Akpatuma launched in February 2018 to tackle banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and armed militia in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states.

Again, Operation Last Hold was launched for Borno North and Lake Chad Region in April 2018.

In April 2019 Operation Harbin Kunama III was launched to tackle banditry in the forest areas of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states.

Operation Rattle Snake was also launched in 2019 in the North-east.

Operation Cat Race was launched in October 2019 in Niger State to battle bandits, and cattle rustlers.

Operation Positive Identification was also launched in November 2020 to nab fleeing Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.

The military also launched other operations in southern Nigeria.

However, despite the military and the police embarking on over 30 operations from 2015 to tackle insecurity nationwide, abductions and other acts of criminality have remained unabated, raising concerns over the culpability of the security forces.

These concerns are said to have been heightened by the activities of a Kaduna-based cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, who has paid frequent visits to the bandits in the forests, while the security agencies claimed not to know their locations.

The Northern Youths Movement (NYM) in a statement at the weekend, had accused the military of complicity in the abduction of the 317 pupils in Zamfara State.

The youths anchored their accusation on the grounds that it was impossible for bandits to have attacked the school, which is located less than 100 metres from a military checkpoint, and abducted the schoolgirls.

NYM in the statement signed by its Chairman, Mallam Ishaya Jato, accused the military authorities of not wanting banditry in the North-west and insurgency in the North-east to end.

They alleged that at about 11 pm on Thursday, soldiers stormed Jangebe, ordering all the residents to return to their houses immediately.

It said: “These same soldiers, who stormed the town were nowhere to be found when the bandits invaded the town at about 1 am, two hours after the military men came. Also, there is a military checkpoint located not more than 100 metres from the school. The questions are; where were the soldiers who stormed Jangede at about 11 pm on Thursday when the bandits invaded the town two hours later? Why was it that there was no response from the soldiers stationed less than 100 metres to the school?”

Reacting in separate interviews with THISDAY, the Arewa Consultative Forum, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) and Kaduna State chapter of CAN asked security agencies to clear their names on allegations of complicity in handling the security situation in the country, despite the numerous police and military operations.

ACF spokesman, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe, said security agencies should clear their names of the allegations of complicity about their roles in the frequent abductions.

“If the security agencies were up and doing, we wouldn’t be having all these abductions which have brought insecurity, particularly to the North.

“There are all these allegations of complicity about their roles in the abductions; it is left to them and their conscience to clear their name.

“So far, they have become a national and international embarrassment to Nigeria,” Yawe stated.

Also, the Kaduna State Chairman of CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said the security agencies have not done enough to convince Nigerians that they are not culpable in the criminality being perpetrated.

Hayab said: “We have been talking a lot about the failure or inactiveness of our security agencies. Truly they have not done enough or convince Nigerians that their hands are clean in the ongoing mess in our country.

“But we do have a commander-in-chief? What orders is he giving to the security agencies?
“Nigeria’s security situation is the more you see, the less you understand.

“This is because we have compromised so much and have twisted many issues that are now making it difficult for us to make any meaningful progress.”

According to him, the failure and lack of transparency in the fight against bandits and Boko Haram that is terrorising the country is the responsibility of both the federal and state governments.

He said the public, having lost confidence in the security agencies, had also failed to play a good role in tackling the situation.

“Nigerians need answers to how Sheikh Gumi, a private citizen, can go in and out (of the forests) to meet the bandits with police escort only for the same security to say they do not know the whereabouts of the bandits.

“Gumi admitted that he goes with police but they only stop at some distance away from where he did meet the bandits.

“Are those policemen from another country or from the Nigeria Police Force?

“There is a need for a renewed unity amongst groups in Nigeria to collectively challenge government and security agencies to stop playing games with the lives of our people.

“CAN, therefore, wishes to remind all those responsible to bring the evil of killings, kidnapping and attacks on innocent citizens, to fear God and be honest with Nigerians.

“If both government and security agencies deliberately refuse to do what is right to protect innocent Nigerians they and their families may be the next victims when they least expected,” he added.

On his part, the spokesman of SOKAPU, Mr. Luka Binniyat stated that the time had come when Nigerians should ask the government and security agencies their roles in the persistent abductions and killings.

He said: “The impunity with which scores and hundreds of students are seamlessly taken away at gunpoint by confirmed armed herdsmen in the North-west of Nigeria has come to a stage where we have to ask if indeed persons in government or in the military and security agencies are not in collaboration with the marauders for whatever reasons.”


Kindly Share This Story:

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

amehnews greetings

x