For some years now, the North-Western part of the country has been struggling with crises between farmers and nomadic herders over land and water.
However, the crises in the region have escalated in recent times and transformed into a new dimension of crime leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties.
The emergence of criminal gangs, who raid communities, steal cattle, kidnap residents for ransom, loot, kill and burn settlements has become the order of the day.
The criminal gangs in recent times have equally intensified attacks on schools across the zone, where they kidnap students to squeeze payments from authorities and parents.
It is based on the security situation in the North West that President Muhammadu Buhari approved a joint military-police operation with the specific mandate to comb ungoverned spaces in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Zamfara States, to rid the areas of armed bandits.
Although the joint operation recorded significant success, the authorities needed to consolidate, hence a directive to Nigeria telecommunication companies to shut down services in Zamfara and part of Katsina state for two weeks.
This was because bandits have been using mobile phones to coordinate among themselves and get information on the movement of troops from informants to aid their operations.
However, the shutdown of telecommunication services has yielded results as the troops backed by fighter jets are carrying out offensives against bandits in the north-west particularly in Zamfara and Katsina.
The fierce operation has compelled some bandits to flee the heat and seek refuge in other states as confirmed by a security analyst who pointed to an influx of criminals into spaces where they are regrouping to continue with their acts.
There is therefore the need for security agencies to be strategically stationed in front-line states to block criminal elements from fleeing to nearby communities.
The government through the armed forces must intensify surveillance to clean up the front-line states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara that have been the hub and safe-haven for the fleeing bandits.
For members of the public, there should be a new type of security system in the country that embraces coordination and citizen’s participation to enable security agencies to begin to function along the line of intelligence gathering to contend with the new wave of criminality.
The social and conventional media must desist from paying attention to exploits made by bandits, rather they should continuously focus attention and celebrate security forces who lay down their lives on daily bases for members of the society.
It has been discovered that criminal elements often use Motorbikes for their operations. To this end, State actors must also take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of citizens in affected states by introducing strict restrictions on the sale and movement of motorcycles, cattle trading and sales of fuel in jerry cans, among other measures, to tackle insecurity.
Written by Daniel Karlmax; Editing by Tina Oyinsan