africa

So what if Kanu is arrested?


On Thursday, June 24, 2021, I stumbled on a viral video from Zamfara State. In the four minutes’ clip, a notorious bandits’ kingpin could be seen boastfully confessing in front of senior security officials of the atrocities he committed against the Nigerian state and its people. The man, popularly known as Dan-Karami, is said to be one of the senior gang members of the deceased Buharin daji, a bandits’ general, who controlled the rural areas of Zamfara until his death in 2018 in the hand of one of his other gang members, Dogo Gide. Dogo Gide had ‘repented’ and submitted himself to the government of Zamfara State under Abdulazeez Yari and Yari decided to use him to kill his boss. Gide had since resumed crime and is operating from his base in the vast forest reserve spanning several North-West and North-Central states. He and Dan-Karami were among the many gangsters that sealed and breached several peace agreements with the governments of Zamfara and Katsina states.

I watched the video clips several times and upon enquiry, I came to know that the senior government officials were there to beg him to allow people to go to farm in the areas he controlled now that it is rainy season. The areas he controlled, as he stated in the clip, are south of the Jibia-Gusau highway where he claims to be responsible for “any crime you hear of”. It is noteworthy that a week earlier, 53 people were killed in the area. That is many times the number of Nigerians killed due to IPOB activities since it started.

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Going by what he stated, the Nigerian government has no other option except to go and beg him since, according to him, he has victoriously repelled all attempts by the Nigerian Army to defeat him. In one of those attempts, he stated, he was attacked by a combined team of Nigerian and Nigerien security forces and he defeated and killed more than half of them. He also confessed of kidnapping 40 children from Zurmi township at another point in time.

Another thing he stated worth examining was the initial rejection by the now deposed Emir of Zurmi to go into any dialogue with him or any other terrorist for that matter. If what he said was true, the Emir only agreed to speak to him after it was clear to the Emir that the government could not defeat him. The question to ask here is, if the Emir decided to be communicating to the outcast in order to protect his people, was he doing or not doing the right thing? Why was he deposed by the same government that now decided to go and smile with a confirmed criminal who has admitted killing several people including our soldiers? When has the Nigerian government become a coward that aims only at soft targets?

 After watching that video, I began to wait for a statement from Federal Government. None came, at least not to my knowledge. The expectations of any citizen who watched that video would be the government would now launch a major manhunt for the criminal to face charges of murder, treason, kidnapping, etc. Alas! The attention of the leaders of the APC and the PDP is not there. Their concern is not how Nigerians can sleep with their eyes closed or how many criminals are brought to justice but how many politicians from one party defect to another. Unfortunately, for the people of Zamfara State, the next thing they heard is that their governor was now defecting to the ruling (sorry “governing”) party as if that is what would solve their problem.

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But there is one thing I did. After watching that video, I decided to send it to the media aide of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and requested him to give it to his boss in case he had not seen it along with our message of disappointment.

My choice of Abubakar Malami is deliberate for two reasons. One, he is not one of those opportunists who only began to support the President Muhammadu Buhari with the windstorm of 2015. He has been a supporter of Buhari from day one and is thus a witness to all the promises his Oga made to Nigerians. Two, he is the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

Nothing has changed. The Sheikh Gumis are busy going from one bandits’ camp to another and calling on Buhari to give salaries to Fulani criminals. The Kabiru Gombes are all over the place telling masses that Saint Buhari is not responsible for the protection of their lives and property since he has appointed Northerners to take charge of security. The Aminu Masaris are there blaming the masses for waiting for government to give them protection. That is the very sad predicament Northerners have found themselves. You are on your own if fate makes you an ordinary Northern Nigerian.

Yesterday, while the rest of us were still waiting for action (although sincerely speaking most Northerners have lost hope), Malami appeared on our television screens to tell Nigerians that Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, was arrested “through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services”. That is good news, I thought, but it is no news. Kanu has never been the major problem of the rural farmers of the North. His arrest will never make the Kaduna-Abuja, Kaduna-Birnin Gwari, Jibia-Gusau, Kankara-Sheme or any of those highways safe. It will never stop the harassment of our people killed, kidnapped and raped by bandits on daily basis. So, what if he is arrested?

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But Kanu is being “accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, paramilitary, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.” Here is someone right here on the Nigerian soil boasting of having committed all these atrocities and daring government. Yet, the government is going there to smile at him. Is that not an irony?

Prof Jibia teaches at Bayero University, Kano

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