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Rising insecurity: Nigerians task FG on solutions, identities of bandits’ sponsors

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The recent surge in the activities of bandits in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and other parts of the country, has unsettled the populace.

Nigerians are even more worried as the identities of the criminals and their sponsors remain a subject of conjecture.

Like Senator Shehu Sani, a former lawmaker said in a post on his official X handle, there may be beneficiaries of the huge sums of money constantly paid as ransom to secure the release of abducted citizens from the captivity of the deadly kidnappers.

Curious about the activities of the hoodlums, the former Senator said the puzzle Nigerians “are yet to solve is that the foot soldiers who kidnap people and receive ransom in hundreds of millions remain poor and look wretched whenever they are arrested.

“They are mostly in their teens and twenties. There is no evidence of wealth or comfort in their lives and even the clothes they wear.

“The question is who are the ultimate beneficiaries of these huge sums of money and who supplies them with the weapons they use for their acts of criminality?”

Pmnews.ng recalls that a former federal lawmaker, Hon. Sani Muhammad Takori had recently alleged that banditry activities in Zamfara State were being sponsored by some selfish and powerful individuals.

According to him, when the security crisis was brewing at its warning stage, the situation was neglected by stakeholders in the state.

“When it started as a Fulani/farmers clash, all of us did not take the matter very seriously. We thought that it wasn’t something that would have lasted for so long”, he said.

Pmnews.ng also recalls that Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State on January 12 revealed that security agents know the financiers of the bandits terrorizing the state.

In an interview on national television, the governor, who was reacting to the recent attacks in his state, where over 200 people were killed, said the terrorists are known.

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“What I can tell you about the killings in Plateau and the attacks in recent times are pure acts of terrorism.

“I believe that the sponsors of the terrorists, the financiers of the terrorists and those who arm the terrorists are known.

“And the security agencies know them or they have the capacity to know them. And that is why we are insisting that the security agencies must do their work, which is to protect lives and properties,” he said.

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A security expert, Mr Akogwu John, who spoke with Pmnews.ng, weekend, wondered why the head of security agencies and the federal government kept mum on the claim.

“The governor of Plateau State made it clear that the security agents know these people who are causing problems everywhere.

“I have not read or seen any report anywhere that the Chief of Army Staff or the Inspector General of Police debunked this allegation. This shows that the governor’s claim was right.

“We are living in a country where everything, including security is politicized. Who are these powerful individuals that are sponsoring the killing of innocent citizens and why is the government quiet?

“Nigerians would feel better if they are told the persons behind these demonic activities. By the time one person is revealed and humiliated, others will stop, but so long as the identities of these killers remain covered, they will continue.

“The youths around where these things are happening should also step up and find out by themselves who are the people behind their problems.

“Yes, they may be wealthy and powerful but a single individual can’t defeat a whole community.

Like in Zamfara and other Northern states, those mining their mineral resources should be held responsible”, he advised.

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Kidnapping in Abuja

Pmnews.ng gathered on Saturday that the non-state actors, who have been causing chaos in the federal capital city, and its neighbouring states, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Niger are camping in the Kajuru forest, Southern Kaduna area of Kaduna State.

Kajuru forest, which according to reports, was hitherto used by the military for training of its personnel, is currently occupied by the daredevil bandits.

Abuja, which was relatively immune to the prevalent security challenges in other parts of the country, is currently grappling with an escalating wave of criminal activities, particularly kidnapping.

According to Beacon Consulting, a local firm monitoring security issues in the country, over 200 violent attacks have been recorded across all six area councils of the FCT since President Bola Tinubu assumed office on May 29, 2023.

Reports revealed that at least 87 residents of the nation’s capital have been killed by the terrorists, while 176 were kidnapped within the period.

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There have been a series of attacks, killings and abductions across the city, particularly in Bwari and Abaji Area Councils.

A few days ago, the Sagwari Layout Estate, Dutse in Bwari Area Council, was thrown into panic after the kidnappers who abducted ten persons from the area killed three of their victims.

The gunmen had on January 7 invaded the estate with highly sophisticated weapons and abducted at least ten persons.

Reports emerged last week that the terrorists killed three of the ten victims to send a strong warning to their relatives negotiating ransom payment.

Our correspondent also gathered that the assailants increased their demand from the initial N60 million per person to N100 million, now totalling N700 million, as the only condition for their release.

On Thursday, the criminal elements invaded Hilltop Phase 2 Extension of the Nigerian Army Post-Housing Estate and kidnapped a popular businesswoman.

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It was gathered that despite the presence of soldiers in the estate, the kidnappers went away with the victim through the hillside.

Speaking with Pmnews.ng on the general security situation in the country, spokesperson of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, Afenifere, Kare Ajayi urged President Tinubu to urgently send out emissaries to conduct “soul-searching meetings with stakeholders in respective areas across the country with a view to coming up with mutually agreed solutions to the menace of insecurity in the areas concerned”.

Ajayi stated that an appropriate mechanism for dealing with the security crisis “must be devised and implemented”, stressing that serious sanctions for infractors or violators be agreed upon and applied accordingly without fear or favour.

He also urged the president to give a Presidential Order empowering states and local government areas that are willing to set up local police services.

Meanwhile, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, on January 17, reassured residents of Abuja and its surroundings that the prevailing security challenges in the territory would be decisively addressed in line with President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

The former Rivers State Governor stated this after a town hall meeting in Bwari, Bwari Area Council, in response to the escalation of kidnappings and violence in the nation’s capital.

“President has approved of me to provide everything required to the security agencies. And just like Etsu-Bwari and Sarkin-Bwari said, it is not by merely talking; we are serious.

“Security agencies will not have any reason to say they are not equipped; we will provide everything required”, he said.

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