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Adamu: Blame military poor operational strategy for upsurge in crime

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Abdulrahaman Dambazau

Abdulrahaman Dambazau

The situation in the Northwest has persisted with security agencies groping for alternative strategies to put it to check. But Kabiru Adamu, the Managing Director of Beacon Security Consultants in this interview with KARLS TSOKAR feels the inability of the
military to adopt the appropriate approach in pursuing the criminals is the reason it has exacerbated.

The security situation in the Northwest is gaining notoriety. What is responsible for this?
The dynamics are different in each state. I have always known that there are three components of the security threat. The first one is cattle rustling. The important question to ask, who are the victims? Who are the perpetrators? For cattle rustling, my understanding is that the victims are the Fulanis because they are the ones that own the cattle. And if someone steals it, it means it is their cattle that are being stolen. Then who are the perpetrators? From investigation, there are two possibilities. Criminal gangs who are colluding with some deviant ethnic groups. But who is escalating that matter? To me, it is the way the media have given out the information, such that the victims have become the perpetrators. Because everything that happens, it is said to be Fulani herdsmen, meanwhile it the same herdsmen that are the victims, losing cattle, that’s one component.

The other component is that this is pure banditry. This means these are outlawed individuals; they have being ostracised from the society. So, it is for one reason or the other they have now taken to crime as a way of life. They are the ones that are responsible for certain crimes, it can be kidnapping, it can be cattle rustling or just everyday crime. Whenever they mark out a village, they go there, kill people, rob them, maim and kidnap them for ransom. Even for this, who are the victims and perpetrators? Villagers are the ones that are the victims of these criminalities. It cuts across the entire Northwest.

The third one is what I call economic driven communal violence, which is traditionally known as clashes between pastoralists and the sedentary farmers.

That’s my understanding of the whole thing. But unfortunately, we have muddled the whole thing into one. But we know who the victims are in the pastoralist and sedentary farmers clashes.

Is there a possibility that those perpetrating some of these crimes are members of Boko Haram sect or immigrants from other countries?
I have investigated that and even though on the periphery, I didn’t go deeper and I discovered these groups must have crossed each other’s path. What I would call itinerant Boko Haram members who, because of the operations of the security forces in Northeast, where they hibernate, are looking for places to hide.

They may have gone into the forest where these criminals are operating. But from my finding, I haven’t seen any indication that there is a collaborative effort towards the same goal. But like I said, they might have crossed paths in the forest. And at certain instances might have fought tough battles. But the ideological underpinning of Boko Haram, would not even allow that kind of collaboration
From the security point of view, what do you think can be done to curb this situation, as it seems to be getting out of hand?

Well, for each of the aforementioned, different approaches can be adopted; you can’t use one to solve the other. The one I would say has got international local attention is the pastoralist-sedentary farmer clashes. Discussions on how to solve these are ongoing like creating grazing reserves, ranches and so on.

The other one, banditry is pure criminality. So how do you deal with criminality? Firstly mop up ammunitions that are already in circulation in those locations. Secondly, effectively deploy the use of the criminal justice system and make sure that the perpetrators are being punished. And then community policy networks should be created within the region. One thing that borders me in the banditry component is the realisation by the bad guys that the police don’t go into the forest in the Northwest. So, they do what they do, steal or kidnap and run into the forest for refuge and hide there.

The police would tell you clearly that they couldn’t go into the forest. They wait for the military to come, but unfortunately, when the military men intervene, they don’t come with an operational plan that looks beyond the immediate task at hand. They solve one problem, but in doing so, they create a bigger problem for the communities. That is what we are seeing today in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina states where they have dispersed them from the forest, from where they moved to the cities to attack their victims.


In this article:
Kabiru Adamu
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