‘I noticed over 1,000 bandits carrying AK-47 rifles, some beneath the affect of drug’ – AREWAAFFAIRS
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‘I noticed over 1,000 bandits carrying AK-47 rifles, some beneath the affect of drug’

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…’How Fulani herders/native farmers’ battle degenerated into kidnapping, killings’

By Bashir Bello, Katsina

Typically mid final 12 months, bandits in Katsina State wanted a deal badly to cease combating. They approached a journalist about their want.

As they stated on the time, they had been uninterested in combating. They obtained a take care of authorities. And authorities stored to its aspect of the settlement.

However banditry in Katsina by no means stopped. The continuation of banditry within the state led to the kidnapping of 344 college students, amongst different prison actions, in Katsina penultimate Friday by bandits. The journalist, Lawal Saidu, who claimed to have met with armed bandits in Katsina final 12 months of their hideout situated in DunbunMuazu forest, after an invite, tells his story:

Are you able to inform us how your journey and assembly with bandits of their hideout went?

What truly occurred is that vigilantes and farmers in Dunbun Muazu, Dankolo in Sabuwa and Dandume native authorities areas of Katsina State realized that the farming season is across the nook and that, if there isn’t a peace between them and bandits working within the space, they can’t domesticate their farmlands. So the communities initiated a gathering to allow them have understanding with the bandits in such a means that they’re allowed to go to their farms whereas the bandits are allowed to maneuver freely, particularly to go to markets to transact their companies.

So after they held that assembly, the communities felt the necessity to invite any person within the media. And you already know I’m from Funtua and I’m identified domestically there as a journalist. So that they obtained in contact with me in order that I may witness the occasion and report it to the surface world. The bandits despatched one among their low rating members to return and meet me.

When he met me, he stated I ought to converse with their chief, Idris Miyaya, on cellphone. I stated “no, I don’t need that concept as a result of if I’m talking on the cellphone, I can’t confirm the id of the particular person I’m talking with”. I informed the bandits’ chief “I’ll come and see you face-to-face”. The member who got here to see me was shocked and stated “are you not afraid?” I stated “I’m not afraid and because you gave me this belief, I’ll attempt to contribute my very own quota to make sure that peace returns to these areas”.

It was a Monday, so I promised to be there on Saturday. The next Friday, I left Katsina for Funtua the place my household relies. I handed the night time in Funtua. On Saturday, for strategic and safety causes, I refused to go there. Once they known as me, I stated I used to be on my means from Katsina to Funtua however that I’ll arrive late. I additionally informed them I won’t be able to make it to their hideout that Saturday.

And this was strategic as a result of if there was any evil plan, I had dislodged it. So on Sunday, I left for Dandume, and from Dandume, I headed to the hideout round Machika, Maigora. There may be one village that had been utterly destroyed by the bandits within the space however we agreed to fulfill at a main college. Once I obtained to the first college, I didn’t see anybody.

So I known as their phone quantity and so they informed me that for strategic and safety causes, they weren’t there however they may see me from afar. After about two to 3 minutes, they confirmed up on bikes, totally armed with AK-47s. Once they got here, I stated “why can’t we meet right here?” They stated I needed to go along with them to their hideout contained in the bush.

The bandits’ chief who I earlier spoke with on cellphone, Alhaji Idris Miyaya, gave me a journey on his bike into the forest. After we obtained into their hideout, we sat down and, earlier than we began speaking, I informed them that “I’m carrying two caps – a journalist and a volunteer adviser” to them. That “this bloodshed definitely is not going to final, and you’re destroying your financial system and relationship together with your native communities. So it’s important to discover a means of settling points”.

They informed me categorically they had been uninterested in their state of affairs and wanted peace. And that it was the explanation they initiated peace with Dunbun Muazu, Dankolo and different communities round their hideout. So we continued discussing. “What occurred and what do they need?” They stated what they wished was that they’ve two leaders, Alhaji Lawal Bardu and Alhaji Ibrahim Nakutama.

And people two leaders had been arrested by safety companies two years in the past in Katsina whereas coming back from Hajj. Alongside the road, they may not hint them. So that they stated these two leaders are essential to them as a result of they’ve affect to inform them to stop hearth and they’ll cease. So that they requested for the discharge of the 2 leaders. Secondly, they need vigilantes to cease attacking them at any time when they arrive into city.

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In the meantime, I used to be there when the Chairman of the vigilantes of Dandume additionally got here to the hideout in relation to the peace initiative. So, each of us mentioned with them! They had been totally armed and you can not estimate their numbers however, from what I noticed, they had been over 1, 000. And nearly all of them had been carrying AK-47s. They had been all youths. You will notice a boy of 14 years carrying AK-47. A few of them had been beneath the affect of drug.

The place did the particular person they despatched met you?

He got here and met me in Katsina. And he wished me to speak to their chief on cellphone. However I made a decision to go to their camp.

So that you met with leaders from each side (bandits and embattled communities)? What number of of them?

Sure, the chief of the bandits, the chief of the vigilantes and the chief of one other group.

Did they inform you precisely why they had been doing this?

Sure, it’s clear; two of their leaders had been arrested.

I imply earlier than their leaders had been arrested.

In case you observe it from afar, for lengthy, the Fulani have suffered, particularly within the arms of safety companies. A lot of the Fulani had been cheated. A Fulani man may have about 100 cattle; the second they discover out that he has these cows, some individuals will provoke a plot that can make him lose the cows. So, the Fulani had been pushed to the wall.

Additionally, their cattle routes had been taken over by farmers, particularly wealthy farmers. Over time, even these in authorities had been allocating these plots as farmlands. So, wherever they moved, they might say they’ve encroached into farmlands. Positively, there was going to be disaster. So that is truly what you can see from afar.

Whenever you had been going, did you inform safety companies?

No, I didn’t inform anybody for safety motive. You realize in Nigeria, you can’t belief anyone. There are conditions the place safety brokers will leak info. It’s a identified truth. In case you are occurring this type of mission, it’s important to be very cautious, as a result of you may discuss to somebody and that particular person could leak the data and put your life at risk. So, it was stored extremely confidential.

Do you know who they despatched over to ask you?

No, I didn’t know him. I’m not a part of them however they knew that I’m a journalist from that axis; that’s the reason they despatched him to me in Katsina. He additionally took a threat as a result of he may have been arrested on the way in which. However as a result of they’re uninterested in this example, they need peace; that’s the reason they took the chance of sending their member to return and invite me.

Ever because you returned, any effort to…

The trouble I made, I’ve written a narrative as a journalist to relate what I noticed.

What about authorities? Have you ever reached out to them?

Authorities listens to radio, if they’ve curiosity in peace, they need to have consulted me however I’m very cautious, and any transfer you make could also be misinterpreted. That’s the reason I stored to myself.

Are you continue to in contact with the bandits?

Clearly, I’m in contact with them. They nonetheless name me. Even the day I left them, once I obtained to my home, they known as to learn how my journey went? The day after, once I was leaving Funtua for Katsina, they known as me. And I informed them I had left and so they nonetheless contacted me as a result of they had been fearful about these two leaders in authorities custody.

However it’s like my go to to the bandits’ hideout is paying off. Final Sunday, their ladies, I learnt, went to Dandume market not like earlier than. Previously, individuals will assault and kill a few of them anytime they got here. However they went there, bought their Fura da Nono and went again dwelling safely. So that’s an achievement. What’s left is for presidency to provoke a dialogue with them and their neighbouring communities.

You made us to know why among the communities additionally contribute to why the bandits assault them?

Initially, a few of these communities had been releasing info to safety companies about methods to assault them. A few of the communities may also assault them bodily and so they had this quarrel over farmlands. It’s one thing that constructed up over time. So that’s the reason they’re attacking the communities and there may be one group that had been destroyed once I visited their hideout. Once I requested why the group was attacked, they stated the individuals there have been interfering with their actions.

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My fear is that you will note a boy of 14 years carrying a gun beneath the affect of drug. And what you need to ask your self is, the place are they getting these weapons? I even informed their chief that “I hope when I’m going you’ll give one AK47”. He laughed and stated “if I offer you, safety brokers will maintain you on the way in which”. He stated that secondly, it’s too costly as they used to purchase every of the weapons for N750, 000 however he didn’t inform me from the place they had been shopping for the weapons.

If authorities makes peace with the bandits, the problem can be methods to mop up these weapons they’re carrying…

The weapons could transfer to a different group. One other sort of risk could come up. So that they informed me that they had been fearful, that at any time when they arrive to city, individuals assault them. Now, due to the settlement they reached with the communities, they now not kidnap, commit armed theft and rustle cattle. They’re confined to 1 space.

They now not kidnap for ransom or do armed theft or cattle rustling, so that they have some sort of money crunch now. And that’s the reason the chief stated that there’s a restrict to which they’ll management the youth beneath them as a result of they as leaders know methods to bypass and get money. However these youths when they’re pressed, they’ll return to their previous methods. And that’s the reason authorities has to return in rapidly and use consultants to deal with the state of affairs.

In case you say authorities ought to are available, are you able to be particular?

Let authorities quietly facilitate peace settlement between them and the native communities. It is rather essential. And let authorities have their confidence and allow them to hand over the arms of their possession. As a result of their main concern is that if they offer up the arms, different teams and native communities could assault them. And that’s the reason they’re nonetheless holding on to the arms.

Even somebody amongst them stated “these weapons we’re holding is a necessity, we don’t prefer it as a result of a Fulani man is understood with sticks. But when we don’t have these weapons, rival teams and native communities could assault us”. So, authorities can are available, get their confidence and guarantee their security in order that they’ll hand over the arms. As a result of negotiating peace with out surrendering the weapons doesn’t make sense. That sort of peace is not going to final.

However do you see that working?

It would work. You’ll interact consultants.

Allow us to have a look at the amnesty programme in place in Katsina.

Everyone knows how the amnesty was achieved and Governor Masari lately stated a lot of the leaders that had been a part of this system had been killed. If leaders had been killed and amnesty died, definitely you need to know that there’s something unsuitable with the settlement. You realize these leaders; they might use that amnesty to take advantage of the youths. And you already know the youths, the second they know, they might say “so that you individuals are benefiting and we’re not a part of it”. They might go after them and that’s the reason they killed most of them.

So, if there may be amnesty, it needs to be holistic. As a result of they stated they need an settlement whereby authorities will go into it with the concern of God as a result of they might additionally go into it with the concern of God to be able to have everlasting peace.

However don’t you assume if there may be an settlement with this set of bandits, one other set of bandits would get up sometime and say they need…?

They’ve hyperlink, use the hyperlink. As a result of I used to be made to know they’ve no less than 4 camps in that southern space of the state (Faskari, Dandume, Kankara and Sabuwa all via to a part of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna). Throughout the assembly, I used to be made to know that three camps ganged up and killed the management of the fourth camp and absorbed members of the group. So, since they’ve a hyperlink, if I’m a part of authorities, what I’ll ask this group is to deliver the opposite aspect in order that we interact them. There isn’t any hurt in stretching the settlement. In that space, there are farmlands the place individuals harvest 10, 000 to 100, 000 luggage of maize.

So, if there isn’t a farming there, it should create meals safety downside. So, no period of time and sources is an excessive amount of to revive peace within the space. And even in case you go into settlement with these individuals, up to now, we had been taking a look at them as spirits however now we all know who they’re, we all know their management and the way they function, and that’s helpful to authorities. As a result of if I as a person may go there and ask questions and so they responded, I consider they might speak in confidence to authorities.

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As a result of earlier than I left the camp, I suggested them that at any time when they had been going into dialogue with authorities, they shouldn’t hesitate to desk all their grievances in order that authorities can have a look at them. And that’s the solely means, since you don’t use safety companies; in case you say you’ll depart it like this and use bare energy to coerce them, undoubtedly, you’re endangering the lives of the agricultural communities and their financial base.

As a result of about 99 to 100% of individuals residing in that space rely largely on farming, and if they can’t go to farm for concern of bandits, what do you count on throughout harvest season? Definitely, one other safety risk will crop up. So, that is the state of affairs. Authorities can interact consultants (in banditry and group relations, negotiations, disarmament) and allow them to give recommendation.

Have a look at what they did in Dunbun Muazu. Previously you can not see a automobile travelling from Dandume to Birnin Gwari as a result of bandits will assault and kill them however once I visited the hideout, I noticed loads of automobiles carrying firewood within the bush.

One other factor is to ask the imams to make announcement after prayers that no one ought to assault these Fulani individuals. Authorities ought to construct on that as a result of there are mischief makers. It’s not all bandits which have curiosity in peace and even among the many vigilantes. The vigilante chief, Alhaji Lawal Tsoho, informed me that even amongst his individuals, there are those that usually are not proud of peace settlement as a result of some are benefiting from the state of affairs.

So what needs to be achieved in that regard?

What needs to be achieved is to get the leaders speaking. If any person is protesting towards one thing that can profit the society, perhaps he doesn’t perceive the context. Such individuals needs to be allowed to specific themselves.

Lastly, what’s the distance between the camp of the bandits and the city?

It’s a deep forest. It would take you want an hour as a result of it’s a tough terrain, slender path. There have been farmlands. However between the farmlands, you see a slender path. And even if in case you have bike, they won’t help you journey into their camp.

That’s the reason once I was leaving the place they picked me up, I needed to drop my ID card contained in the automobile in order that I can’t give them any room for suspicion. As a result of whereas there, something may have occurred. So that you don’t give room for suspicion.

It’s giant expanse of forest with thatched roof homes. That’s how they stay with their cows.

What about meals?

They’ve individuals who provide meals to them as a result of they hardly come to city.

Was there phone community within the forest?

Sure, I used to be there when any person known as me. There was community. No service failure.

How do they get their bullets?

I perceive they purchase every bullet for N1, 000. And most of them had been carrying about 200 every of their luggage.

Did they inform you how they get it?

Our borders are porous. It is a forest from which you’ll attain so far as Central Africa, East Africa, Libya, North Africa and Mali with out coming to the primary street.

And also you stated they’re regular people?

They’re regular human beings as a result of we joked, performed and laughed collectively. In reality, if you find yourself of their midst, you’ll really feel comfy and protected. They discuss to you, no harsh phrases. As a result of when the chief spoke to me, I couldn’t have a look at his face however once we had been about to begin speaking, he informed me he knew me in Katsina. I used to be shocked when he informed me he knew me as a journalist in Katsina at a time he and a few of his colleagues had been arrested, paraded and freed.

Once I was going, I didn’t inform anyone; not even my spouse. It was once I got here again that I informed her.

Did you see victims of their camp?

No, no. I didn’t see any sufferer. Possibly they hid them.

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Man, 28, runs amok, kills spouse, youngster in Anambra

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Police arrest arms supplier to bandits — CP
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A 28-year-old man, Chukwuemeka Obijofa, who allegedly killed his spouse, Chisom Chukwuemeka, 26, and his four-year-old son with a shovel, has been arrested by operatives of the Anambra State Police Command.

CSP Haruna Mohammed, the command’s Public Relations Officer, PPRO, who made this identified in a press release, yesterday, in Awka, mentioned the suspect allegedly ran amok in circumstances but to be ascertained earlier than attacking his spouse and youngster.

He mentioned: “On January 26, at about 7:45 p.m., Police operatives connected to Ozubulu Police Station arrested one Chukwuemeka Obijofa, 28, of Ofufe Nza village in Ekwusigo Native Authorities Space of Anambra State.

“Suspect allegedly ran amok in circumstances but to be ascertained and attacked his spouse, one Chisom Chukwuemeka, 26, and personal youngster, Amanda Chukwuemeka, 4, with a shovel on their heads.”

The spokesman mentioned the suspect equally attacked a member of the group’s vigilante group, who tried to rescue the victims with the identical shovel and left him with wounds.

He mentioned: “In the meantime, police detectives visited the scene and rushed the victims to the Joint Hospital, Ozubulu, the place the girl and youngster had been licensed lifeless by a physician on arrival.

“The wounded vigilance member is responding to remedy, whereas the corpses of the victims have been deposited on the hospital’s morgue for post-mortem.”

Mohammed mentioned the state Commissioner of Police, Mr John Abang, had directed that the matter be transferred to the state CID, Awka, for a discreet investigation to unravel the precise reason behind the incident.

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Lagos State Govt Bans Trailers From Plying Roads Throughout The Day

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Lagos State Govt Bans Trailers From Plying Roads Throughout The Day

The Lagos State Authorities has set a brand new rule banning vans and trailers from motion in the course of the day.

The state Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, introduced this when he met with numerous truck homeowners within the state in Ikeja on Wednesday, January 27.

Oladeinde introduced that vans and trailers have been now restricted to nighttime operations on devoted routes between the hours of 9pm to 6am every day with a purpose to avert rising carnage’s on roads throughout daytime.

He mentioned the transfer was mandatory because the Apapa space of the state has been rendered much less worthwhile for traders in all sectors because of the gridlock and actions of truck drivers alongside the axis, interesting additional to Stakeholders to cooperate with the State Authorities to treatment the state of affairs.

Additionally talking on the assembly, the Particular Adviser to the state Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, declared that none compliance from truck drivers could be met with stiff penalties on defaulters. He suggested the truck homeowners to make the most of the grace interval to get their act collectively and conform with the directives issued out.

Fayinka additional suggested operators to safe parks outdoors Apapa to curb the gridlock and work hand in hand with the State Automobile Inspection Companies, (VIS) and the Federal Street Security Corps (FRSC) by making certain their autos are Street Worthy with the warning that rickety autos will probably be impounded.

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Within the vans restricted routes evaluation, Director, Transport Operations, Engr. Abdulhafis Toriola, clarified the routes to be adopted and automobile specs. In keeping with him, any automobile above 6ft with three units of quantity plates is taken into account a Trailer and an Articulated Automobile, explaining that Ikorodu street, Maryland, Costain and Funsho Williams avenue will probably be restricted.

Responding to the brand new directive, the union representatives of Council Of Maritime Transport Union and Affiliation (COMTUA), Nationwide Affiliation of Street Transport House owners (NARTO), Affiliation of Maritime Transport House owners (AMATO), Allied Truck Transporter Affiliation of Nigeria (ATTAN) and Nationwide Union of Street Transport Staff (NURTW) appealed to the State Authorities to assist them with mandatory infrastructure and additional evaluation the directive, particularly with respect to restriction to nighttime time.

 

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four ceramic agency employees die in Kogi auto crash

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FRSC-operatives

By Boluwaji Obahopo

An accident involving a bus and Toyota, yesterday, claimed the lives of 4 employees of BN Ceramics Firm, Ajaokuta, Kogi State whereas many have been injured.

An eyewitness mentioned each automobiles had a head-on collision when the motive force of the bus overtook one other automobile at a pointy bend.

The Kogi State Sector Commander of the Federal Highway Security Fee, FRSC, Mr Solomon Agure, whereas confirming the accident, mentioned three employees of the ceramics firm died out of 9 employees within the firm’s automobile.

He mentioned the employees labored in a single day and closed within the morning however sadly when their employees bus was taking them dwelling, their automobile was concerned in a head-on collision with one other automobile and three individuals died on the spot.

“People who have been injured have been rushed to the hospital,” he mentioned.

In the meantime, the administration of BN Ceramics in a press release, yesterday, regretted the dying of a few of its employees who have been concerned within the auto accident.

An announcement signed by Salihu Mohammed, Human Sources Supervisor, on behalf of the administration, mentioned the accident came about throughout the metal advanced this morning (yesterday) round 10:00 am.

It mentioned: “The Administration condoles with the household of those that misplaced their lives, assuring that the administration is making frantic efforts to rescue and decide up the medical payments of these injured.

“The administration requires calm amongst the employees, prayed God to grant the deceased everlasting relaxation and their households the fortitude to bear the loss.

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“The Administration used the medium to name on motorists to drive protected and test their velocity restrict whereas driving throughout the metal advanced.”

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