Like many at home and abroad, I am sick and tired of hearing both the Nigerian government and a lot of the media classifying the terrorists ravaging Zamfara state as bandits. The false designation of these bloodthirsty terrorists of the highest caliber, as “bandits”, a word that refers to robbers, is mischievous, deliberately misleading and treacherous to the survival of the state and Nigeria at large.
This failure to properly designate a clear terror formation can be seen as treasonous in respect to the role of the government in protecting life and ensuring security. These terrorists have declared a war against Nigeria. Aiding them in their action is state-terror and treason.
Is it to save face that the current Buhari administration is purposefully refusing to call the terrorists what they are and address the terror crisis according to the law? Properly designating the terrorists ravaging Zamfara and environs, who have claimed thousands of lives and destroyed billions in property, is the first necessary step to recruit all necessary tools of the government and foreign assistance in ending the reign of terror. By putting lipstick on the pig, the Nigerian government and all of us who join in calling these terrorists bandits, are aiding and abetting the terror and prolonging its reign.
In 2013 we fought the then Goodluck Jonathan administration to properly label and address Boko Haram as a terror organisation. It was a necessary step in the war on terror. Thanks to our efforts, by November of that year the United states had categorized Boko Haram a terror group. Funds and networks would be globally monitored and nations pledged support to Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
Sadly the Buhari government appears to aggressively protect terrorists and fail to properly designate and address them, thus allowing for continued reigns of terror. While ranked the 3rd to 4th worst terror formation in the world, the Buhari government is yet to name Fulani-linked herder terrorists as such. Thus the strengths of the Anti Terror Bill in dealing with such menaces cannot be pulled from.
The Anti Terror Bill prescribes death to terrorists and even their financiers and gives the Nigerian government and security apparatus the tools they need to properly arrest and punish terrorists and their top placed collaborators and sponsors. My article, “Buhari’s Failure To Label And Properly Address Terrorism In Nigeria” in March of 2017 raised these same concerns. Unfortunately Nigeria continues to aide and abet terror as Buhari accused the United States of when it failed to sell Nigeria needed craft.
When we look at other countries across Africa, from neighboring Cameroon and Chad to Somalia and Kenya, similar terrorist groups are adequately and properly addressed and terrorists have continuously been sentenced to death. In Nigeria, the most terrorized nation on earth by most counts, from Boko Haram to Fulani-linked herder terrorists and now to Zamfara gold terrorists, no one has yet been sentenced to death. Most are protected and if arrested, quickly granted unconstitutional amnesties without proper approval by the council of state and constitutionally demanded.
In contrast, groups without such history of violence like the South Eastern Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB group and Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN saw a knee-jerk ejaculative rush from the Buhari administration in unguided attempts to label them “terror” groups. What is going on here? Justice on its head?
With the failure to properly designate terror groups and punish them as appropriate, combined with the continued diversion of Nigeria’s police force of whom 80% remain usurped as body guards of the wealthy cabal with the rest of the nation remaining grossly under-policed, it becomes immediately clear why Nigeria remains the most insecure and terrorized nation on earth. We pray for change to come.