The growing menace of student abductions in Nigeria especially in the North, reflects the growing strength of criminal gangs – bandits – perpetrating nefarious activities and the weakness of the federal government and its security agencies. Kidnappings which are quite prevalent across the country today show that the nation’s fragile security status is under serious threat.

Sadly, in the past few months, Niger, Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna States respectively have become a haven for bandits to perpetrate their nefarious activities. These bandits kill and kidnap at will despite the enormous police officers and soldiers deployed to the affected states.

The latest ‘Kagara abduction’ is coming less than three months after gunmen abducted more han 300 students of Government Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State. The Katsina students were later freed after negotiations.

The ‘Kankara schoolboys abduction and now the Kagara abduction are reminiscent of the 2014 kidnapping of almost 300 schoolgirls in the northeastern town of Chibok. Unfortunately, the persistent and renewed attacks on innocent civilians in the name of ‘banditry’ has made many citizens to still live in fear and apprehension of further attacks by these evil men.

Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, recently said Kidnapping, especially by bandits, has become a booming business in the country. He noted that bandits who, hitherto, engaged in cattle rustling graduated to kidnapping on realising that they could make thousands or millions of naira as ransoms.

Lives are lost on a daily basis while people live in agonizing tension. This current dangerous trend shows the desperate search for new ways of obtaining money, because it appears these abductions are not likely to end any time soon. Sadly, banditry and other causes of insecurity in the country have been allowed to degenerate into a complex situation with terrifying territorial implications.

The impact of banditry on both commerce and daily life has been devastating with thousands killed and tens of thousands displaced in the north-west. These bandits terrorise villages with impunity.

Observably, with the continued and renewed attacks, Nigeria’s security operatives appear to be outnumbered and under equipped to combat the current challenges. Also, the absence of an effective and strategic community policing plan which is capable of addressing these security challenges has continued to pose a serious threat.

One would recall that the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 was believed to be a major step towards ending insecurity in Nigeria. The President Buhari-led administration repeatedly vowed to tackle terrorism, insurgency and insecurity but things have not changed. The public’s confidence in the administration has faltered.

The federal government must intensify its counter-banditry efforts towards tackling the current situation. There must be concerted efforts to tackle these armed terrorist-bandits, not only in Northern States but across the country.

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, said his dialogue with bandits has significantly reduced killings in his state, while Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, said the bandits should not be forgiven for taking arms against the country. In all of this, Northern governors should come together, reason collectively, coordinate their policies and action plans in dealing with banditry decisively.

Alao Abiodun,

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