Shehu Sani, a former senator representing Kaduna central, says the north-west will be a better place if the federal government can deal with bandits with the same vigour used against secessionists.
The north-west has been the hotbed of banditry in recent times with over 500 students kidnapped in the region by bandits this year alone.
The latest is the abduction of 121 students in Bethel Baptist Secondary school in Damishi, Chikun LGA of Kaduna state, on July 5. Less than a week later, the Emir of Kajuru and 13 members of his household were abducted at his palace.
While bandits continue to wreak havoc in the north-west, security operatives have successfully clamped down on leaders of secessionist movements in the southern part of the country.
Last month, authorities arrested and extradited Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), back into the country to face charges of treason.
In a similar development, DSS operatives declared Sunday Igboho, a prominent voice in the call for ‘Yoruba Nation’, “wanted” after raiding his home and killing two people.
Many have criticised the government for not extending an equal level of commitment to tackling banditry.
Speaking to Arise TV on Monday, Sani added his voice to the criticism.
While making it clear that he’s not in support of the secessionists, he said: “I can say in comparative terms that there’s more interest for the government in going after secessionists than going after bandits. I’m not a supporter of secessionists and I believe that secession agitation are virtually wrong and we should work towards a united Nigeria.
“But I believe that if the same effort — the way they are going after Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho — is applied to these bandits, things would have been better for us in Kaduna and the north-western part of the country. Arresting bandits is more important to us than the issues of Igboho and Kanu as far as I’m concerned.”
The former senator added that just two out of the 23 LGAs in Kaduna state are safe.
He also lamented that all the entry points of the state are besieged by bandits and residents who live in the outskirts are constantly running for their lives.
“Abduction has become a daily tragedy in Kaduna state, many even go unreported. Those that are reported are either mass abduction or the abduction of prominent people. We have reached a point, today, in this state where the only local government that are safe are two — Kaduna North and Kaduna South,” he said.
“All the other local governments in the state are under siege of bandits. We have never seen this kind of trouble and it appears that the abductions are even increasing by the day. All the four entrances to Kaduna state are all under bandits attack.
“Anytime after 7pm, people in the outskirts virtually move to the centre of the city to go back in the morning.”
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