From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The people of Southern Kaduna under the umbrella of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) has called on the federal government to ensure that bandits maiming and killing people across the country are rooted out the way Yoruba Youth leader, Sunday Igboho and IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu were arrested.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, SOKAPU President, Jonathan Asake said government should not waste to deploy such capacity on bandits, otherwise the bandits will wipe out Nigerians.
Asake drew the attention of government to the nature of sophisticated weapons in the hands of bandits that could bring down a military fighter jet, saying that it was high time bandits be treated as terrorists.
‘I call you here to update you on the state of insecurity in Kaduna State and the destruction that has been ongoing in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) and other LGAs in Southern Kaduna. There seems to be a recurring vicious circle of violence meted on our communities that always coincides with the commencement of the raining season which has often culminated into massive destruction of lives and property, including displacement of thousands of people.
“We are convinced beyond doubt that the government has a capacity to combat these daredevil bandits that have made life unbearable for our communities. If government could lure the Benue militant, Terwase Akwaza, AKA Gana, out of his hideout in September 2021, and later killed him; if they could trace Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to Kenya and blindfold him to Nigeria in June 2021; if they could trace Sunday Igboho to Cotonou and arrest him just a few days ago; and if they could smoke out the commander of Eastern Security Network (ESN), Ikonso, and later killed him in April 2021, then, it clearly shows that government has enough capacity to deal with the situation.
“It is clear from the foregoing that the Nigerian government is only interested in combating activists or perceived criminals who hail from Southern and Middle Belt Region, while pampering terrorists in the North who have killed, maimed, looted, occupied large territories and destroyed more than any known group in the history of Nigeria.
“While we have seen leaders of these Fulani bandits and kidnappers armed to the teeth and kitted in full military gears and taking photos during negotiations with governors, notable Islamic cleric Sheikh Gumi and high profile government officials, government has refused to bring them to justice.
“We find it strange to explain how government is unwilling to tackle banditry and kidnappings in the North, but at the same time hasty in deploying full intelligence and military force against Southern and Middle Belt activists that are engaged in one form of agitation, criminality or otherwise.
“Even when these bandits brought down an air force jet last Sunday, July 19th,at the border between Zamafa and Kaduna State, thereby challenging the sovereignty of our country, the government has not shown enough action to tackle the dangers posed by banditry and insurgency that have now acquired anti-aircraft launchers and sophisticated weapons.
“The survival, unity and progress of the Nigerian State is more threatened by the untamed atrocities of these Northern bandit groups and armed Fulani herdsmen more than the actions of the Kanus, Igbohos and Terwases of the Southern and Middle Belt Region. We say this arising from the fact that if these so-called bandits have the capacity to bring down a jet fighter, then, it clearly shows that they have acquired enough weaponry to face the Nigerian State”.