Kebbi state was prior to this time in the news for the wrong reason. No thanks to the activities of bandits who took over many communities; however, KABIRU DOGON DAJI writes on how peace finally returned to southern part of the state especially in the troubled zones of Zuru and Yauri emirates where early year 2021 was a den of armed bandits.
Kebbi state government in collaboration with security agencies has really made impressive efforts towards a return to peaceful co-existence. Investigation shows that finally peace has returned.
Kebbi in the past had always been rated amongst the most peaceful states in the country until hoodlums that were being chased from neighboring states of Zamfara and Katsina made the state their hideouts.
They had taken advantage of its forest nature and unleashed their nefarious activities on innocent citizens through kidnapping and abduction with the recent abduction of over 100 students of Federal Government College (FGC) Birnin Yauri still under captivity.
For instance, Zuru Emirate situated in the southern part of the state is the worst hit because of its hilly and forest nature where bandits earlier started their activities and took control of villages like Dankolo, Unashi, Makuku and Sakaba in Sakaba and Danko/Wasagu local government areas.
Here, they maimed and kidnapped residents at anytime of the day until relations paid ransom to secure their release.
Presently, all of this, according to investigation, has now become a thing of the past as a result of a collaborative efforts between the state government, security agencies including soldiers, police and vigilante groups who works assiduously to ensure that the hoodlums are dislodged from the territory they once occupied.
What the state government did
To ensure complete successes, the state government has made several procurement of motorcycles as well as land cruisers jeeps converted to bullet proof with self-ceiling tyres that can travel for over 120 kilometres.
The state deputy governor, Col Samila Yombe Dabai (rtd) who was himself an amourer during his military days and who invented the security gadgets on the converted vehicles explained recently that the vehicles were delibrately turned to suit the terrains they are meant to transverse.
He said the armoured personnel carrier vehicles were designed for the military with light fire power and efficients to carry many soldiers. According to him, so far, 10 of such have arrived, saying that he has worked on five while work on the remaining five would soon be completed and handed over to the state government for distribution to military formations as part of its contribution to complement their efforts.
Fielding questions from journalists at the Government House premises, Col Yombe declined comments on the total number of such vehicles procured by state government and the destinations they were likely to be alloted to saying, “For security reasons, I would not tell you the number we procured and the destination they are billed to be sent to.” The deputy governor however disclosed that the governor has showed a lot of commitment on this prevailing security issue, the reason for which he attached much importance to it and reason why he has succeeded in drastically dealing with the situation.
Meanwhile, the people of Dankolo, Makuku and Sakaba have started enjoying a relative peace since the military personnel were drafted to the area. Speaking to Blueprint on phone, a resident of Dankolo village and community leader, Alhaji Muhammad Dankawu said, “Honestly, we have no words enough to thank the state government and Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu in particular for the concern he shows to us right from the day the bandits visited us. I want to tell you that he has visited this our village Dankolo for more than two times and each time he visited, they gave us assurance that the government was on top of the situation and today we have seen that he has actualised his promises.”
Muhammad further added that, “We have now seen peace and enjoying peace because I would tell you that about 95 percent of resident membbacwho migrated to other places to run away from the trouble area have few weeks ago returned back to their residences. Right now, every one of us is rejoicing with one another while we forge ahead towards a new life again. The soldiers are always around us as we always hear them testing their war apparatus towards the sides where bandits used as their routes to reach us. Frankly speaking, we are now safe and very safe indeed.”
A cross section of the returning residents who spoke to Blueprint on phone said they now go to their farms at will and returned home at will without any fear of being abducted or killed by the invading gun-wielding dare-devil men while also disclosing that the state government has rendered to them various assistance that includes subsidy in fertilisers, improved crops seedlings and other related farm inputs necessary for farming.
In the same vein, the state government has sent tractors to the wards a cross the affected local governments areas for tractor-hiring at a lower charges just to ensure that farming activities that were previously hindered by the menaces of the bandits are put at bay towards a peaceful state.
It could be recalled that Kebbi was on the fast lane to becoming an epicentre of banditry until this development. Before now, there were reports of farmers paying ransom to bandits and kidnappers before they can harvest crops from their farm. The development took a toll on the rice being produced in the state, but as it is today, it is expected that if this security momentum is sustained, all those would now be a thing of the past.