The lingering banditry in the North-West and North-Central region has international dimension, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu has stated.
Adamu disclosed this during a town-hall meeting on peace and security in Zuru Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
According to the IGP: “The bandits come from outside the country. We arrested Sudanese, Nigeriens and Malians, among other nationals.
“We also believe that because of what is happening in the North-East and the fact that the military troops are doing a great job in the fight against insurgency there, most of the bandits are running toward the North-West of the country and we have evidence.
“When we operated in Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, where we attacked a group of bandits, we realised that most of them came from Islamic State of West Africa, who are terrorists, kidnapping for ransom.
“So, the issue is not at the level you are looking at it, it is a big issue and we must work together to address it.”
He said he came with a high powered delegation, comprising the heads of intelligence community in the country.
“This is because of the seriousness the president attaches to security and the rising security challenges that are happening in the North-West in particular.
“During one of our briefings on security to the President, the issue of insecurity was seriously discussed as it affects the North-West in particular and we saw an emerging trend from Zuru Emirate.
“And the President ordered us to move to Zuru and listen to the stakeholders and come up with a solution on how to bring lasting peace in Zuru Emirate and that’s why we are here.”
He added: “When you look at what happened in Zamfara, it used to be the epicenter of banditry.
“What fueled insecurity in terms of banditry in Zamfara is what is fueling insecurity in Katsina and invariably the same here in Kebbi.”
Governor AbubakarBagudu, expressed dismay over the disruption of peace in Zuru Emirate by bandits and vigilante called ‘Yan Sa kai.”
Bagudu noted the emirate has rich tradition and cultural heritage as well as history of tolerance, multi-ethnic and multi-religious which contributed to the peaceful co-existence and unity of the country.
According to him, the only way to solve any problem is for the people to accept to live in peace and harmony with one another.
He however stated the state government would not condone any acts capable of disrupting peace, warning that criminals would be punished.
Emir of Zuru, Muhammad Sani-Sami II, called for investigations into suspected banditry and alleged extra-judicial killings in the area.
President of Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, appealed to security agencies to investigate the extra-judicial killing of 68 Fulani pastoralists in Zuru, Sakaba, Fakai and Dango/Wasagu Local Government Areas under Zuru Emirate.
He alleged the victims were killed by Dakarkari “Yan Sa kai” group this year.
“Kiruwa said the dastardly act which started on April 29 continued unabated and no one is being arrested or being held accountable for these killings.
“The first murder took place in broad day light at the premises of the Technical College, Zuru, where eight Fulani people were killed.
“This trend continued in the communities of Danko, Maga, Ribah, Joli, Kadurga, Marafa, Kanya, Unashi and Ayyu, where 68 people were killed for no just cause other than being Fulani herders.”
He added the murderous gang is getting bolder and bolder by the day and if care is not taken the crises in these areas might snowball into a larger conflict.
He however, said that the association had directed its Kebbi chapter to ensure that all its members affected in one way or the other shouldexercise restraint and allow the law to take its course.
Chairman of( Yan Sa Kai, )Mr Mani Giwa, said that the Zuru people were known for their hospitality and peace-loving attributes.
“What is happening in Zuru today is that some people have taken up arms for the past three years, killing our farmers, destroying their farms and houses, raping, kidnapping and displacing them.
“The lack of media focus might be the reason our voices were not heard until we resorted to self-defense,” he said.
Giwa, who described the emergence of the group as a self -defence group, said they only engage in arresting individuals that had direct or indirect links with criminal gangs.
“We are not fighting against MACBAN members, rather we are fighting criminals who cut across all tribes and cultures within and beyond Zuru emirate.
“We have agreed to handover any arrested suspect to the appropriate authorities and we will monitor the court proceedings to ensure justice,” he said.