Bandits Terrorism is a 5-Dimensional Issue
Firstly, the military has been stretched doing other ‘peoples’ jobs’. The military is also tackling the terrorizing bandits at the ‘surface’- see and kill, while the root causes still remain. The military is not a policing institution. The Nigerian Army is under intense pressure to fill security gaps even as security experts say that globally, military involvement in crime-fighting is problematic because they are not trained to do so.
Secondly, the police which are trained to uproot the causes of this kind of criminality, deal with it at the surface & seal the seals, are handicapped beyond tolerance level- the police are underfunded, ill-motivated, under-equipped, and neglected. If the Nigerian police can get half of what it needs, they will tackle the bandits terrorists from end to finish. The police are superb in gathering intelligence from primary sources, because the police are everywhere and trained to do so.
Thirdly, it seems, President Muhammadu Buhari is so much relying on a bulk information-first line of information ( service chiefs) he should also get information from the second and third levels- field commanders and local communities dwellers. If he is doing it already, he should do more. Though, the presidency on December 12th, 2021 said “Alongside military force, the government is seeking to address the violence at its economic source. Massive infrastructure projects like the coastal rail and new train from the southern coast through the north-east to our neighbour Niger, aim to expand employment and opportunity across the country, bringing hope to our more remote and poorer regions where bandits and terrorists thrive”
Fourthly, governors’ security votes and benefits- some officials of government who in one way or another benefit from the opaque security vote system will always work hard to make sure bandits’ terrorism continue- it’s a business. Some state governors are doing their best, but some of their officials may be sabotaging their efforts.
Fifthly, communities social disorder- abject poverty, the death of community-living, everybody for his own, has also contributed in oiling recruitment into the banditry business- this problem was as a result of one thing- the hijack of the local government system by the governors and state legislators. LGAs are the best sources to cater to the need of local people- when this source is no more, local people start searching for new sources to survive. Though, sheer criminality and materialism among some, including the international proliferation of small arms, are also factors.
According to a report by American Security Report (ASP)- ‘Banditry in northwest Nigeria has become an appealing method of income in the region where weak governance, youth unemployment, poverty, and inequality have left people with depleted options for livelihood. Security services are often understaffed and lack the proper resources to effectively combat banditry. Vast areas of unregulated forests allow for easy concealment, and police and military forces have difficulty penetrating the rough terrain. In addition, under-policed borders have aided the proliferation of small arms and light weapons’ amongst bandit groups’
Bandits terrorism have reached the red level- the problem now requires a holistic approach. New and already established effective methods must be implemented to tackle the problem from the root causes. For example, academics and security experts have done some excellent research on the cause of banditry in the northwest and other regions, the intelligence community can use it for early warning and intelligence gathering. Furthermore, the fire angle must be backed by more funding of the police by the federal government. Intelligence, accountability, selflessness, and national interest must also be a priority as well.
We are in a war against ourselves.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, email@example.com, 08036070980