DEATHS from insecurity in Kaduna State in 2020 were three times higher than those recorded in five states in the North-East within the same year, The ICIR can report.
On Wednesday, March 10, the Kaduna State government released the state security report for the year 2020, which shows that 937 persons were killed by bandits and other criminals in the state within the year.
According to data obtained from the Nigerian Security Tracker, the figure is much higher than what was recorded within the year in five North-East states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.
Nigeria Security Tracker, sponsored by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, said there were 288 deaths due to insecurity in the five states within the period.
All deaths from insecurity within the year captured civilians, insurgents, military, police, local vigilantes, kidnappers and other persons involved in the region.
In Adamawa, there were 49 deaths; Bauchi saw 4; Taraba witnessed 72, and Yobe had 163 deaths arising from insecurity in 2020, data from the Nigerian Security Tracker show.
There was no death linked to Gombe’s insecurity, but Borno, the epicentre of insurgency in Nigeria, recorded 3,001 deaths.
Submitting the Kaduna state security report to the governor of the state, Samuel Aruwan, Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in the state, said
1,972 people were kidnapped, while 7,195 cattle were rustled within the year.
Aruwan said victims of kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities cut across all ethnic and religious groups in the state.
According to him, Igabi Local Government Area has the highest figure of the number of deaths from insecurity in the state, with 152, followed by Kajuru, 144.
Four local governments in the state central senatorial district, comprising Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Giwa and Chikun, have 468 deaths, representing over 50 percent of people who died from insecurity-related issues in the state in 2020.
‘’The southern senatorial district accounts for 286 deaths, which is about one-third of the total, due in large part to sporadic clashes, alongside banditry which triggered attacks and counter-attacks, especially between June and November 2020,” Aruwan said.
He added that out of 1,972 people kidnapped within the period, Kaduna central senatorial district accounts for 1,561. Of the total, 1,461 were kidnapped within Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Giwa and Chikun local government areas.
Nasir el-Rufai, the state governor, reiterated that he would never negotiate with bandits and other criminals under whatever guise while receiving the report.
El Rufai said the government had invested in technology to help secure the state, adding that close circuit television was being deployed in Kaduna metropolis. At the same time, options for consistent operations of its drones were being explored.
The governor added that the state had collaborated with its neighbouring states to tackle insecurity by funding military operations against bandits in the Kamuku-Kuyambana forest range in 2015.
He then regretted a halt in the operations. He revealed that failure to contain and defeat the bandits and other criminals had emboldened them to further wreak havoc on people and communities and threaten the nation’s unity.
“The security of our communities depend on the robust projection of state power, and that can only be done with sufficient security numbers to overawe and deter criminals,’’ he stated, as he called for decentralisation of policing in the country.
Brief note about security crisis in Nigeria’s North-East
Late Mohammed Yusuf led a group of youths opposed to western ideals at the beginning of this century in Borno state. After a few years, the group transmuted into a terror group, wreaking highly devastating attacks on public facilities and communities.
The group, later known as Boko Haram, has since rendered many communities in Borno, the epicentre of the crisis, uninhabitable, as most basic amenities in them such as schools, health facilities, means of communications, among others, have been destroyed in the insurrection. A string of bombardments was also carried out in neighbouring Yobe and Adamawa states by the sect, resulting in loss of life, displacement of people and large-scale destruction of communities.
Many people, including mothers and children, have been abducted for ransoms by the sect, while many abductees have been killed. United Nations reports that more than 1,000 children were abducted by the sect in the North-East, including the 276 kidnapped in Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state on 14th April 2014 and another 110 students at Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Yobe state, on February 19, 2018.
Activities of insurgency in Nigeria have produced many orphans, widows and widowers. An estimated 3.2 million people are displaced, including over 2.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-East; over 684,000 IDPs in Cameroon, Chad and Niger and 304,000 refugees in the four countries, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, The ICIR reported how 5,000 refugees in Cameroon returned home to Borno after fleeing the belligerents’ onslaughts for years.
A sustained war between the group and the Nigerian military had resulted in the occupation of some local government areas of Borno and Yobe by the insurgents. Most of the occupied communities have been retaken by the Nigerian military.
While Nigerian security forces launching an offensive against the insurgents are backed by regional and security forces of contiguous countries, namely Chad, Cameroon and Niger, Boko Haram blossoms with support from the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), which it has named itself after.
The most recent attacks by the insurgents in the North-East with many casualties were the slaughtering of over 70 farmers on a rice farm in Zabarmari, Borno state, in November 2020.
How sect almost tore the heart of Nigeria’s capital
Boko Haram expanded its offensives beyond the North-East with the bombing of Nigeria police headquarters in Abuja on June 16, 2011. Two months later, the group attacked the United Nations Building in the same city on August 26, 2011. Another deadly attack was launched by the group on a church during a mass on Christmas Day near the nation’s capital, killing 41 people. The last assault by the group on Abuja was carried out on the edge of the capital on April 13, 2014. The attack claimed over 70 lives.
The group has carried out attacks in Kano, Bauchi.
Different figures have been estimated as deaths from the insurgency in Nigeria, but Nigeria Security Tracker said there had been 37,500 casualties since May 2011.
Reported cases of attacks on Kaduna by bandits in Kaduna
Kaduna, located in North-West Nigeria, has been reeling under bandits’ attacks over the past years. On Saturday, November 28, 2020, two children were abducted after six people had been killed at Ungwan Bido village and Ungwan Pah village in Jema’a Local Government Area of the state.
On October 3, 2019, The ICIR reported how six students and two teachers were kidnapped in Kaduna.
On Friday, January 29, 2021, 21 passengers were reportedly kidnapped along the Kaduna-Kachia road.
In December 2020, kidnappers reportedly killed their victim after they had collected ransom, even as the military foiled another attack in the state.
Samaila Inusa, a military colonel, was abducted and killed by bandits in March 2016 in Kaduna state.
In December 2020, Sani Khalil was killed was by his captors two weeks after he was abducted from Rigasa area of Kaduna State.
Reporting on worsening insecurity in the nation on July 28, 2020, The ICIR had detailed how 142 persons were killed and 44 others were kidnapped in the northern part of the country within six days.
On Saturday, March 6, 2021, bandits attacked the Kaduna Airport and reportedly whisked away nine people.
Similarly, on Wednesday, March 10, the bandits also reportedly attacked Igabi, Giwa and Chikun local government area of the state, killing seven people and burning houses.
Bandits carried out yet another attack on the Federal College of Forestry in Kaduna and abducted many students on Friday, March 12, 2021,
The number of students abducted in the attack was not available at the time of filing this report.
The spokesperson of the state police command, Mohammed Jalige, confirmed the assault.
The attack came days after President Buhari boasted that the Jangebe abduction in Zamfara would be the last in the country.
Security agencies neutralize, arrest criminals, despite growing insecurity in the state
Though insecurity in the state and other parts of Nigeria is worsening, security agencies in the country are apprehending and neutralizing as many criminals as they could get. In April 2020, police arrested the suspected killers of Nnadi Michael, a seminarian at the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaduna. Michael, one of the four kidnapped students from his school, was killed after spending three weeks with his captors.
In late November 2020, the military rescued 39 kidnap victims and killed bandits in the state.
Similarly, in November 2020, some gunmen suspected to be kidnappers abducted six persons, including a nursing mother with her three-week-old baby in the state.
In February 2021, troops of the Nigerian navy apprehended three suspected kidnappers in Kujama, Chikun local government area of Kaduna.
The Kaduna state police command said on December 31, 2020, that the command arrested 29 suspected kidnappers and 53 others who committed various crimes from October 31st to December 31st.
Fighting erupted between rival kidnappers groups in the state in December 2020, leading to the death of notorious banditry and kidnap kingpin, terrorising Kaduna-Abuja highway and other parts of Kaduna State, Nasiru Kachalla, and other criminals in the groups.
The Kaduna State government revealed on March 4, 2021, that bandits commander Rufai Maikaji was neutralized with some of his gang in late February by the Nigerian Air Force.
Maikaji, who was allegedly operating in Birnin Gwari axis of the state, and responsible for many killings and kidnappings in the state, was said to have been killed in an air raid.
In July 2020, the police said they apprehended 207 bandits, rapists and kidnappers terrorizing communities in the state.
Kaduna, Niger, Katsina faced cases of abduction of school children in past weeks
On February 17, 2021, shooters dressed in military uniforms attacked Government Science College (GSC) in Kagara, Niger, and whisked away 42 children from the all-boys school. One of the boys was killed by the assailants during the operation. They were later released 10 days after.
Similarly, over 300 schoolgirls were abducted at Jangebe Government Girls’ Secondary School, Talata-Mafara, Zamfara state, on February 26, 2021.
Earlier, on December 12, 2020, shooters had abducted over 300 children at Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, shortly after President Buhari visited the state. They were released five days later.
On February 27, 2021, The ICIR detailed how 881 school children had been abducted under the Buhari administration.
No amnesty for criminals, Buhari’s government says
An Islamic scholar, who appears to be mediating between the Nigerian government and the bandits, has recently advocated amnesty for the bandits.
But President Buhari said he would treat all non-state fighters and other criminals as enemies of the state. He ordered security agencies in the country to shoot such persons dead on sight.
Nigeria has anti-kidnapping laws, but crime persists
Anti-kidnapping laws in place in states, but the crime rate worsens.
Some state governors have signed anti-kidnapping bills into law to curb the crime within their jurisdictions.
In the anti-kidnapping bill signed by Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano state governor, kidnappers who kill their victims face the death penalty. In contrast, those who kidnap but do not kill their victims will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Bello Masari, Katsina State governor, had in May 2019 approved maximum sentence for kidnappers and rustlers in the state by signing the amended Penal Code Law in the state.
In February 2019, Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa state governor, signed into law the “Nasarawa State kidnapping Act Prohibition Law 2020” and “Child-Protection Executive Order” Bill. The law prescribes death penalty kidnappers in the state.
Muhammed Abdullahi, former Bauchi state governor, had signed the bill seeking death penalty and life imprisonment for kidnappers in his state in March 2017.
Similarly, Bayelsa state, through Seriake Dickson, its former governor, had its anti-kidnapping law in 2013. The law recommends a maximum penalty for persons who indulge in the crime.
In March 2020, the Osun state House of Assembly approved death penalty for kidnappers in the state.
Some other states which have approved maximum punishments for kidnappers are Nasarawa, Plateau, Lagos, Benue, Enugu, Kogi, Delta, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Edo, Abia, Kaduna and Kano.
The Nigerian Senate had, on Thursday, September 29, 2017, approved death sentence for kidnappers in the country. The bill also prescribes 30 years jail term who persons who collude with kidnappers.
The ICIR’s data on kidnapping between 2011 and January 2021 show a total of 849 kidnap incidents in the country, leading to 529 deaths. A total of 1,990 persons were kidnapped, and security agencies neutralized 288 kidnappers.
The crime peaked in the country in 2020, as 219 cases and 110 deaths of victims were recorded. The number of victims was 601, and the security men killed 58 of the kidnappers. The year 2011 recorded the lowest case with only one kidnap case and one death. But in January 2021 alone, 20 cases were recorded. There were 10 deaths. 96 persons were kidnapped; the security agents killed eight kidnappers.