By Ogechukwu Ubah (Abia Writers)

Edited and published by Joseph Afokwalam

For the past two years or more, banditry has become a lucrative business in Nigeria. We started hearing about the kidnapping of school children in northern Nigeria since their inception. They kidnap pupils, students and their teachers, including undergraduates. We have heard of such cases in Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Abia State and so on. They started with attacks and killings. Later they graduated to both single and group kidnapping.

Politicians also use them to attack political enemies and security forces. These bandits did not fall from heaven; they are sponsored by politicians who use them for elections and after their opponents. Otherwise, where are they getting their sophisticated weapons from?

When they kidnap an elite, they will demand millions of naira as ransom. Eventually, the victim family will pay the ransom, and they will look for another victim. They continued like that until it came to kidnapping school children in their numbers, and ransom will be expected from each of them. If the ransom is delayed, the females among the school children will be married by the kidnappers, and they will start having children in captivity, e.g. (Leah Shuabu). There was a time bandit told the parents of their female victims that they should not border about their children because they are all married to them.

Formally, individuals and parents of kidnapped school children were paying ransom to bandits, but now, the government has also started paying ransom to bandits. Nigerian air force paid #20 million to bandits to return the anti-aircraft gun bandits captured when they overran a military base in Katsina state. The government was afraid the bandits would use the weapon to attack Buhari's plane. How do you expect banditry to end in Nigeria when the military is paying ransom to them instead of attacking them? Does it mean they are stronger than the military? Why are they still wasting time in tagging them terrorists if that is the case? 

They cannot do that because they are their chief sponsors. Nobody will like to destroy their business. General Sani Abacha, former president of Nigeria, once said that "any insecurity that lasts for more than 24 hours, the government is aware of it". What else can we say? This insecurity, called it banditry, Bokoharam, Fulani herdsmen, Cultism e t c started in 2014 when Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was the president of Nigeria. from then till date, how many years? Yet insecurity is increasing, hence the killings of so many innocent and unarmed people in Nigeria. Any country that cannot tackle insecurity does not worth existing because the primary purpose of government is to protect the lives and properties of its citizens. 

If Nigeria fails to tag bandits and herdsmen terrorists, they will continue to grow from strength to strength. The earlier they do the needful, the better for them.

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