*There is the URGENT need for a FORENSIC AUDIT of all RUGAS in and around Abuja FCT to smoke out the criminal bandits and confiscate the thousands of AK-47 hidden in these RUGAS•
Abuja has now been effectively sandwiched by bandits operating in the 4 states around the federal capital territory (FCT) – Niger state to the West, Kogi to the South, Kaduna to the North and Nassarawa to the East. There is very little doubt that the next theatre of attack and main target is Abuja FCT.
The bandits are now well domesticated around Abuja FCT through illegal Rugas and settlements deep in the forests close to the federal capital territory (FCT)
As a matter of fact, quite a few of the rugas around Kuje, Lugbe and close to the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport are allegedly being used by bandits to store weapons. No one can really fault the assertion that Abuja FCT has now been surrounded by Fulani bandits from the 4 angles through the border states of Nassarawa, Kaduna, Niger and Kogi.
These criminal bandits hide guns, ammunition and other dangerous weapons in Ruga settlements around Abuja which they use for their kidnapping activities. The urgent need arises for the military, DSS and the police to conduct a thorough forensic audit of ALL Fulani Rugas around Abuja to smoke out these criminals and confiscate the large number of AK-47 and other weapons they hid in these Ruga make-shift, shanty, thatched-roof huts.
It is estimated that there are hundreds of AK-47 guns hidden in the Ruga shanty settlements around Abuja FCT.
Because of the relatively tighter security in the FCT, the bandits don’t move openly with guns as they do in Zamfara and other states. Also, the bandits don’t settle within the FCT because the likelihood of them being caught is very high. The option for them is to use existing Rugas in and around Abuja FCT as a camouflage.
The bandits’ modus operandi is to pick up an AK-47 from the Ruga, sneak into Abuja or it’s environs particularly Jabi airport road, Kuje, kubwa, Gwagwalada, Zuba/Suleja, Kwaita/Kwali, Bwari, Tungan Maje and kidnap innocent victims, then run back and keep the victims in the mountains and forests around the FCT. Hardly do these criminals keep captives in Rugas. They keep guns in Rugas but keep captives in the forests around the FCT.
A highly vulnerable part of Abuja is Gwarinpa with its mix of a cosmopolitan and semi-urban nature. Gwarinpa is sandwiched between the FCT and Kubwa/Dei Dei/Zuba axis to the west which makes it a perfect beehive for bandits to settle in and aim attacks at Abuja FCT.
The push by our gallant military against the bandits from Zamfara has forced the bandits on a free flow all over Nigeria. Part of the options for the bandits while moving out of Zamfara is Abuja which these criminals regards as ‘the final destination. Although, for a very long time, even before the Zamfara military onslaught, the bandits have been strategising for Abuja -and the reason for this cannot be far-fetched. The bandits feel there is enough money in Abuja for them to pursue.
These bandits have actually established a solid presence around Abuja for a very long time in the forests and in most of the Rugas around some parts of the FCT. It is fair to say that the military onslaught against these bandits particularly in Zamfara state has pushed them to pour enmasse into Abuja and the surrounding states of Nassarawa, Kogi and parts of Kaduna.
Niger state has been a hot bed of banditry for many years as the criminals connect into Niger state through the dreaded kamuku/Kuyambana forest in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna state. This notorious forest serves as a feeder-route into Niger, Kogi and other surrounding states as it receives a supply of criminals from Zamfara, Katsina states and the Niger republic.
A major source of worry is the ongoing alliance of convenience between the bandits and Boko haram. There is no doubting the fact that Boko haram has established bases around the fringes of Abuja and any alliance between Boko haram and Fulani bandits (and possibly Ansaru) could potentially make Abuja inhabitable and by extension, render Nigeria either fairly governable or extremely intractable.
In nearby Niger state, Boko haram is currently in control of 8 wards out of a total of 25 wards (1/3) of Shiroro local government area, as confirmed by the Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani Bello.
The scenario looks even more disturbing when juxtaposed with the fact that Shiroro local government area shares borders with Abuja FCT and is just 140 km away. A lot of the criminals that are holding Shiroro local government area hostage are actually Boko haram not Fulani bandits. To prove it is in charge, Boko haram recently announced that it had introduced a policy in all communities under its control in Niger state which requires 12 year old girls to get married.
It is also a fact that the notorious bandit leader Dogo Gide is operating on the fringes of the Kuyambana forest in Birnin Gwari which shares border with Niger state. Boko haram operating in Shiroro and the Fulani bandits operating on the fringes of Kuyambana forest brings the two criminal gangs closer to a full blown operational joint venture. Also recall that bandit Dogo Gide has pretentiously embraced a religious ideology as he is heard calling himself ‘Abu-Abdullah: the Arabic translation for ‘father of Abdullah’
The operational closeness of Boko haram and Fulani bandits is not only in Niger state but Nassarawa as well. The Nassarawa state Governor Abdullahi Sule has in January 2021 confirmed that Boko haram are now domiciled on the border between Nassarawa and Abuja FCT. Those elements of Boko haram who didn’t surrender to ISWAP are being pushed out of the North East and the most likely location for them to run to will be the North West/North Central axis which is also gradually turning into another Afghanistan.
Apart from Boko haram, there is also the dreaded Darussalam sect and Ansaru all in Nassarawa state. Ansaru operates between Nassarawa and Kogi states.
In a video that went viral early this year, an arrested Fulani kidnapper operating on the border between Nassarawa and Kogi states, confessed that his gang’s operational base shares a border with Boko haram. The notorious kidnapper in the video under reference also admitted that his gang has a joint venture with Boko haram for a mutual exchange of captives at a price. He further stated that whenever a ransom negotiation fails with the bandits, they sell the captives to Boko haram where they (the captives) are thought to be at the ‘point of no return’
By and large, the security agencies cannot afford to allow the deteriorating security situation in and around the FCT to degenerate. Our gallant military, the police and other security agencies are doing a lot to stop the march of the bandits into Abuja FCT but more needs to be done. Albeit the military has last week, debunked the claim that bandits have effectively surrounded Abuja FCT, the issue is more about being proactive rather than in a state of denial.