Almajiri, banditry and our insecurity, By Kassim Afegbua

Too many troubling occurrences have taken the stage in Nigeria recently, with heated commentaries on them dominating public discourse. Prime on the checklist is the problem of the One Hundred and Thirty Seven College Kids and a few others that had been kidnapped in Kuriga, Kaduna State, leaving concern, tears, anguish and trepidation within the land. As if that was not sufficient, in Okuama Delta state, virtually concurrently, sixteen troopers had been slaughtered, their our bodies dismembered in a grotesque method, and dumped in a river; Some Nigerians have now been diminished to cannibals. The heads of those victims had been chopped, and their hearts had been ripped open. Thoughts you, no sooner after, so as to add salt to harm, six policemen had been reportedly killed in the identical Delta State. The conclusion is that insecurity remains to be rife throughout the nation. Even safety brokers are actually being attacked. They too now face the torturous threats and fears the civil populace have been grappling with for effectively over a decade. Are we now a helpless folks? Whereas the seek for the 100 and thirty seven faculty youngsters and co was on, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who seems to have assumed the unenviable position of the Spokesman of the Colony of Bandits, had been talking on the FG negotiating with the bandits. He was ready to steer the Federal Authorities to the hideouts of the bandits for the so-called negotiation. Fairly akin to some other businessman, he made his proposal, with the hope of sealing the deal.

Banditry has now morphed right into a flourishing trade in Northern Nigeria, with kidnapping and abduction as integral elements of the trade. Sheikh Gumi with audacity, compares banditry with Niger-Delta militant actions, and is now asking for amnesty for bandits within the North. This simply jogs my memory of the outdated saying, “ an oz. of prevention is value greater than a pound of remedy.” I’m left questioning the place else on earth that this occurs. Ordinarily, for my part, Sheikh Gumi ought to be an individual of curiosity, who ought to be subjected to critical interrogation as he appears to have a really wealthy information and understanding of the modus operandi of those inglorious folks. He goes out and in of the bandits conclave, talking assertively on the necessity to negotiate with them to place an finish to this menace. Nigerians usually advise each other to flee from accident or crime scenes as virtually invariably, they’d be arrested and implicated if they’re met by safety brokers on arrival, regardless of their precise connection to the incident. However this Gumi’s case seems completely different. He goes nearer as a substitute. President Tinubu was emphatic when he declared that the Federal Authorities won’t cut price with any bandits, and that precipitate motion can be taken to deliver again the college youngsters. Although the return of the college youngsters and others just a few days later was the perfect information that broke on Saturday, 23 March, murmurs that some huge cash was paid to safe the discharge of the abductees adopted it.

If this technique is allowed to go on, the bandits will discover the practise profitable and money-spining; then, ending it could be a really tough one. It’s thoughts boggling to know that there was no report of bloodshed or lack of life, in attempting to rescue the youngsters and others; suggesting that our commandos could but be the perfect on this planet. So we could quickly be confronted with a army males Japa syndrome following this rescue operation, that was a hundred percent casualty free. We thank God for the discharge of those ones.
Now speaking significantly, contemplating the damaging financial influence of this menace known as Banditry, if an amnesty program kind answer is what is required to resolve the problem, why not? It could sound odd, however a definitive finish to banditry, insurgency and kidnapping will go a protracted approach to enhancing our financial wellbeing and relaunch the nation on the trail of socio-economic progress. We now have suffered for manner too lengthy within the palms of those bandits and kidnappers. Their actions have distorted our path to financial greatness. We now have misplaced rather a lot and the palpable concern of future loss is in itself a problem. What we want now are time-tested options; options which have labored earlier than. The fact on floor albeit, suggests that there’s complicity and conspiracies round this illicit enterprise. No matter or not it’s, we should deliver it to an finish. It does seem too that as a result of authorities is spending a lot on insecurity, the armed forces don’t need an finish to this carnage. That’s the way it appears. Why? Your guess is pretty much as good as mine.

Can we deepen the dialog and lift the cry for the FG to take a decisive motion towards this banditry and kidnapping subject? All we wish now’s to rid of this hydra-headed monster. The newest strategy being deployed will not be ok. This factor is progressively sporting the garb of a political software getting used for bargaining; name it one other type of coded corruption, the place monies are shared amongst criminals within the identify of cut price, or the place the army are having fun with the fats funds occasioned by the combat towards insurgency, armed banditry and kidnapping. Crass materialism is on the root of this evil. The entire essence of the negotiation which Sheikh Gumi is pushing for the bandits, is ostensibly for them to be rehabilitated via an Amnesty Program for them, simply similar manner that the Niger-Delta militants had been handled throughout Late President Umaru Yar’adua’s time. In response to Gumi, an Amnesty Program will assure the combination of those bandits into the society the place they’d be supplied with alternatives to endure coaching in specialised abilities which can then assure them respectable technique of livelihood; in order that by these means, they will legally aquire all of the wealth they want in life.

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The accountability rests with President Tinubu now, to take a decisive choice to finish this ugly pattern. Even when he toes the road of Sheikh Gumi by establishing an establishment for his or her rehabilitation, it is going to be higher for us. What Nigerians need is peace and stability. The damaging influence of armed banditry is graveous; particularly on the nation’s economic system. Moreover, we should bear in mind to create a particular program to handle the tradition of almajiri, which gives a veritable floor for recruitment into banditry. Schooling within the North ought to be raised; it ought to entice some extra critical consideration to progressively de-radicalise these parts and create a civil society, the place the residents are abreast of their civic accountability and may work meaningfully. The almajiri establishments have to be dismantled and supplanted with western training that matches into the expectations of right this moment’s world. The extent of poverty and starvation that’s prevalent within the nation right this moment is main a few of these almajiri youngsters into the conclave of bandits. It’s a new trade that’s now so enormous, with tentacles unfold throughout completely different states of the Federation. We can’t look away from this for for much longer. Those that have entry to the bandits like Sheikh Gumi, ought to be engaged to provide you with a framework that can deal with this subject as soon as and for all.

Whereas that is occurring, the federal government ought to make investments closely in almajiri training and open up new frontiers to re-integrate these legal parts/ bandits into the society. Regardless of the methodology, programmes that can de-radicalise and de-mobilise them should be designed and deployed. They are going to be taught that there are alternate options to their nefarious actions; and upon instructing them, we are able to persuade them to depart their forests of demons to embrace peace within the cities and villages. Let the Islamic students who’ve gained the respect and confidence of the bandits go a step additional in serving to the nation; by changing these legal parts to patriotic residents, and convey them again into the society. They should assist deliver again our nation from the challenges of: insecurity, unemployment, infrastructural atrophy, weak economic system and a bunch of different challenges staring us within the face, each day. We have to act quick to arrest this ugly pattern and halt our descent to anarchy. Raiding our faculties and denying faculty youngsters the chance of studying is a harmful priority that can not be allowed to recur. If left unchecked, posterity will blame us.

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