For weeks now, telecommunications have been suspended in Katsina, Zamfara, and Kaduna state. This is to enable the armed forces to fight against bandits. But despite this, bandits' attacks on civilians and the military are still ongoing. The most recent is the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train services. What is keeping these terrorists going despite the reported onslaught on them by the military?
Bandits (Image: Premium Times Nigeria)
1. The Collapse Of The Invincibility Of The Nigerian Military: Most Nigerians grew up with the understanding that Nigeria has one of the strongest and capable armed forces in Africa. The Nigeria army has gone on missions in the Congo in the 1960s, it has led peace-keeping missions in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It also fought a civil war in the late 1960s. The military was successful on all these missions. Until terrorism manifested in Nigeria, demystifying the military. For ten years now, the military has been fighting Boko Haram, and the war is far from finished. During this time, the Nigerian military has suffered greatly and this has emboldened other criminals to take up arms against the state, confident that the military can't stop them. The bandits too.
Bandits are not common criminal gangs, they are terrorists capable of harming the country integrity (Image: The Guardian, Nigeria)
2. The Failure Of Intelligence Agencies: Nigeria has three functional intelligence agencies: the National Intelligence Agency(NIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency(DIA), and the State Security Service(SSS). These agencies have also failed in finding the live feed of terrorism and unplugging it. Brute military force cannot stop this new breed of terrorists, credible intelligence can identity help in the identification of the bandits' weakest point aid to decimating them. But the intelligence agencies seem to be clueless and the army has resorted to the use of force which is not making much progress.
The war against Boko Haram has been going on for ten years now and it is far from over. This too emboldened the bandits to continue in their atrocities confident that the government cannot do anything (Image: Daily Trust)
3. The Federal Government Refusal To Declare Bandits As Terrorists: When the atrocities of IPOB became intolerable in 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari did not hesitate to proscribe the group and label it a terrorist organization. On Thursday 22 October 2021, Governor of Kaduna State Nasir el-Rufai, pleaded with the Federal Government to designate the bandits as "terrorists and insurgents" and not as common criminals as Lai Mohammed (Nigeria Minister of Communication) insisted. Declaring them as terrorists or insurgents, el-Rufai argued, will enable the military to deal with the bandits according to international law. But the Federal Government is hesitating, this is frustrating any military effort to engage the terrorists as supposed.
Bandits (Image: Daily Trust)
The activities of bandits in Nigeria are not any different from that of Boko Haram, except that it has no clear ideology - unless savage disposition to perpetrate against the nation. If the government will officially label these bandits as terrorists, the war against them will be official and more determined.
4. Failures Of All Measures Used To Fight Them: Suspension of telecommunication in some states in the north is the latest measure adopted to fight the bandits after several others have failed. It seems this one too isn't yielding a lasting outcome. Attacks are still being carried against civilians and military in some states where telecommunications has been suspended. As more measures adopted against banditry continue to fail, the terrorist becomes bolder and intensify their attacks.
Image: Daily Post
These four measures discussed above, in my opinion, are the reasons why bandits are bold to continue their fight against Nigeria. They have learned that the military is not to be feared, that the government cannot intelligently identify them and their live support. They have realized that the government doesn't know their capacity and strength to recognize them as terrorists, and has continued to fail in all measures taken against them. If Boko Haram can frustrate and drag the country into a sustainable and perennial war without success, why can't they[bandits] do the same?
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