The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai must have sent shivers down the spine of concerned Nigerians when he disclosed on Wednesday that “the problem of insecurity now has moved from the North-East to the North-West” as he decried the emergence of Boko Haram elements and terrorists’ enclave in parts of his state. This calls to mind an earlier disclosure by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed that preliminary investigation into the fatal Abuja-Kaduna train attack revealed the impact of collaboration between bandits and dislodged Boko Haram terrorists from the North-East.
El-Rufai, who spoke during the presentation of the Kaduna State Security Incident Report of the first quarter of 2022, which took place at the Council Chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, disclosed that instances of insecurity in his state indicate “a movement from banditry to terrorism with expertise in making explosive devices. And again this is because Boko Haram and Ansaru elements have moved into the state’’. The Governor added that the terrorists were making comments like “the forests in Kaduna are even better than that of Sambisa and so they should all relocate here”.
This should get every Nigerian worried. Aside the fact that Kaduna is the most fortified state in the country given the various military formations there, the state shares borders with the Federal Capital Territory. Gone are the days when the agents of terror are confined to the North-East. Positioning themselves in the doormat of the nation’s political capital puts the country at great risk. The FCT borders Kaduna State to the north-west just as Niger State, whose governor has consistently decried Boko Haram’s presence in large swathes of his state. In April 2021, Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello cried out that Abuja is not safe as Boko Haram terrorists have hoisted their flag in a Niger town that is a two-hour drive from Nigeria’s capital.
Speaking when he visited the Internally Displaced People’s Camp at the IBB Primary School near the Emir of Minna’s Palace in the state capital, the Niger State governor said, “I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements here in Niger state, here in Kaure, I am confirming that they have hoisted their flags here. Their wives have been seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members. I just heard that they have placed their flags at Kaure, meaning they have taken over the territory.” Nigeria has been fighting a decade-long war against the Boko Haram terrorists. No country should be at ease when the enemy is in the precincts of its headquarters.
The nation’s armed forces is recording successes in the campaign against Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East hotbed, but it doesn’t seem as if the war is coordinated enough to block the terrorists from fleeing the battlefield. On Tuesday, there was an explosion which killed nine persons in the Sabon Gari area of Kano. The Commissioner of Police in Kano State, Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko told CNN that the explosion was from a gas cylinder that went off close to a school, even as the international broadcaster also reported eyewitnesses as telling local media that a suicide bomber actually detonated a bomb at the scene of the blast. Such sneak attack on soft targets bears the imprimatur of Boko Haram terrorists.
Rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, in a statement berated the commissioner of police for “jumping to conclusion” whereas “eyewitnesses said it was a suicide bomber that detonated a bomb killing himself and many others”. Naija News cannot but call on the authorities to be sure of what it is dealing with in Kano so as not to give the people a false sense of security. This is in view of the fact that Kano State has relatively been free of incidents of this nature. While we commiserate with victims of the blast, it is our hope that this explosion is thoroughly investigated and remains a one-off. Nigerians must unite in ensuring that terrorists do not overrun this country. Given what insurgency has reduced in the North-East, allowing terrorists to operate on new flanks poses a grave danger to Nigeria.
With Governor El-Rufai disclosing that Boko Haram is now recruiting young people in vulnerable communities across Kaduna State, all efforts must be made to stop them in their tracks. Ansaru terrorists were recently reported to have visited Damari, Farin Ruwa, Kwasa Kwasa, Kuyello, Gobirawa, Tabanni, Kutemeshi and Kazage communities of Kaduna State in a bid to recruit the villagers into their sect under the guise of celebrating Sallah festivities with them. The insurgents distributed Sallah gifts – biscuits – to them and even performed motorcycle stunts to entertain the villagers. This is happening in a state where the same terrorist killed 360 and abducted 1,389 in just three months. About the same time that the Kaduna State Security Incident Report was being presented, bandits reportedly blocked the Abuja-Kaduna highway between Kurnmin Kare and Katari in Kachia Local Government Area and abducted scores of travelers in an operation that lasted almost an hour.
It is very disconcerting that the state of insecurity in the country has got to the level where terrorists strike at will and openly recruit members. How can these be going on in a country with heavily-funded security agencies? It is unbelievable for the military to be missing in action, while Boko Haram elements now prefer forests in Kaduna State to Sambisa. If troops could in the past ransack the vast Sambisa forest to the point of ground zero, what stops them from swooping on these terrorists before they get all too familiar with their new fortress in the North-West? Nigerians, who are regularly regaled with reports of Boko Haram terrorists surrendering in their hundreds and thousands, will like to know how much information has been mined from these repentant terrorists.
No doubt, the large swathe of ungoverned spaces in the country is what feeds terrorism in the country, hence the governments at all levels should put such territories to productive use. Since these terrorists operate in forests that are known, the air force and the army should go after them. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in the course of this week, provided a possible explanation as to why the military are not taking the war to these enemies of state despite their atrocities. This was when he declared that, “I know that we can put all insecurity in Nigeria behind us within a space of two years. That we have not done or that we are still in the situation we are is a choice that has been made by our leaders”.
Naija News couldn’t agree more with the elder statesman. President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders in this country must stop failing the people by ensuring the security of lives and property as enshrined in the constitution. The National Assembly can’t keep appropriating and approving humongous funds for the fight against insecurity without asking questions or being more serious with their oversight role. Rather than allow Boko Haram terrorists metastasize to other parts of the country, Nigerian leaders must emulate the late Chadian President, Idriss Deby, who was the nemesis of Boko Haram terrorists and always routed them from his country. With security as the major leg of his three-point agenda, President Buhari will be well advised not to allow the Obasanjo revelation to define his legacy.