Insecurity In Sokoto State On The Rise As Bandits Appoint Village Heads To Cement Their Take Over

‘The Frequency of Killings by Bandits in Sokoto State is so High that In-Between the Time of Writing this Article and Finishing it (48 Hours), 57 People Were Killed by bandits in the state’

Our dear Sokoto State, particularly the Eastern Senatorial zone, is indeed under siege by bandits. The killings are ongoing unabated. Something needs to be done…and urgently.

Last week, I came across two stories regarding the alarming rate of insecurity in Sokoto state which prompted this article: one is that the bandits have technically formed a separate government in Sokoto state by forcefully installing village heads in Gangara and Maƙwaruwa villages in Sabon – Birni local government area of Sokoto state and sacking all police stations, vigilante and courts in that particular axis of the state. The second story which is closely related to the first is that these criminal bandits have forced residents of 45 communities in Sabon-Birni local government area Sokoto state where they (bandits) have technically formed a separate government, to raise the sum of N79, 620,000 (Seventy Nine Million Six Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira Only) as taxes and give to them (bandits). The bandits gave the helpless villagers one week’s deadline to raise the cash or face the music which the villagers complied with. So the villagers raised N79,620,000 cash and the bandits moved from one village to the other to collect the cash. This is incomprehensible!

During the installation of new ‘village heads’ by bandits, elections were held. In Gangara community, Sokoto state, the bandits went conventional and staged an emergency ‘mock election’ held in Saturu village between five shortlisted bandits as candidates (selected after a primary election) for the office of village head of Gangara after announcing the forceful deposition of the ancestral village head.

In the ‘mock election’ the criminals asked the villagers to choose between the 5 bandits as candidates in the shortlist. After the secondary election, Ɗan Baƙƙwalo a prominent bandit and member of the gang of bandits under notorious bandit leader Bello Turji Dugge, won the election and was announced winner and decorated as the new village head of Gangara. The new ‘village head’ bandit Ɗan Baƙƙwalo made his acceptance speech and went ahead to read his ‘riot act’ to the community which included the following measures that will come into force in Gangara community ‘with immediate effect’ inter alia:

  1. All Military and police stations including local vigilante ‘Yan Sakai’ are hereby banned
  2. All courts are banned
  3. All cases: criminal and civil should be brought to the new ‘village head’ bandit Ɗan Baƙƙwalo for adjudication
  4. Villagers in Gangara community should raise N1.5 Million immediately and give to the New ‘Village head’ as his ‘take off’ budget
  5. All markets are opened in contravention of the directive by the Sokoto state government to close all markets in the area.

Clearly, another Boko haram-style suspension of Nigeria’s constitution is staring us in the face in Sokoto state. The bandit’s problem in Sokoto state is now moving from ‘kidnapping for ransom’ to annexation of territory and suspension of Nigeria’s constitution 1999 (as amended) by bandits. If courts are sacked, there is no constitutionality in that area.

Recall that Boko Haram terrorists during their surge in 2013/2014, literally suspended Nigeria’s constitution 1999 (as amended) in Borno state when they annexed and took over towns and villages and chased away all government institutions.

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