Clearly, the reign of terror by terrorists, including those some Nigerians prefer to call bandits and cattle rustlers, on different communities in Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states, is indeed a source of serious worry. On a daily basis, residents of some villages in these states are either killed, kidnapped or displaced by marauders in daring attacks that most Nigerians find hard to comprehend.
In Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara states, there are reports that emboldened as they have unfortunately become, the terrorists now impose taxes on hapless residents of some worst hit communities. Though reports of bandits imposing levies on farmers have been refuted, the fact remains that residents of some communities in the states bogged down by activities of these terrorists are finding things hard.
Only recently, the Niger State government disclosed that Boko Haram and a faction of the Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) are setting up camps in the state. Secretary to Niger State government, Ibrahim Matane, said that aside from asking residents to disobey civil authorities, these terrorists have been telling communities that they want to establish a caliphate and are asking the people to forsake western education.
“These people often go to communities to communicate with them and assure them that they will not harm them, and to join them during Friday congregational prayer to preach to them on the need to forsake western education and embark on civil disobedience,”
“Now they have made some audio recordings saying that they are there, that they are not kidnappers, that they are a religious organisation that is poised to establish a caliphate that will deal with issues of criminality and other related issues.”
He noted that ISWAP was trying to establish a camp at National Park at Babana in Borgu Local Government Area of the state.
This newspaper is concerned that in spite of all efforts to contain these terrorists, they seem to be gaining ground. If not, how else can one explain the fact that ISWAP is daring enough to contemplate setting up a base in Niger State despite assurances from the military and other security operatives that the war on terror is being won?