The pan-Northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, has accused the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and northern governors of creating impression that lives of those who are being killed in the North by bandits do not matter.
The ACF, which stated this in a statement in Kaduna on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, condemned the gruesome killing of 38 persons in four communities in the Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Sunday.
Group said this as herdsmen killed 20 Tiv farmers in Nasarawa State between Friday and Monday in what was reported to be a reprisal.
During the attacks in Lafia, Obi, and Awe Local Government areas of the state, 5,000 people were displaced.
Also on Monday, the death toll in the killings in Kaduna State rose to 40 as the state government disclosed that two more corpses had been recovered, just as it was learnt that a monarch was killed in Idasu area of the state.
In the statement titled, ‘ACF cries out against killings in the north,’ the ACF slammed the President and northern governors for not visiting, empathising with victims of attacks in the region.
“The President and the northern governors are unwittingly creating the impression that only their lives, those of their immediate family members and their office matter,” the ACF said.
The northern organisation expressed its total disapproval, frustration and anger over what it said appeared to be endless killings in the region.
It urged the federal and state governments to show empathy and sympathy over the gruesome murder of the defenceless villagers.
The ACF noted that the President and the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai ought have visited the scene of the attacks.
However, the forum noted with sadness that Buhari had “never felt it necessary to do so(visit).”
It said, “The Arewa Consultative Forum will like to put on record its total disapproval, frustration and anger agaisnt what appears to be endless orgy killings in Northern Nigeria.
“The latest incidence took place in the Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State where 38 innocent citizens were hacked to death.
“According to Samuel Aruwan, the States Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, many houses, trucks, cars and food crops were destroyed during the attacks.
While the ACF joins the Governor of Kaduna and the President of Nigeria in consoling those who suffer losses during the latest attack, we call on all the state governments and the Federal Government to show more empathy and sympathy in such grave security breaches.
“Nothing stops the President and a State governor from visiting such places. We sadly note that he has never felt it necessary to do so.
“In fact following his example, not one governor has done so except Governor Zulum of Borno.”
It added, “Just a few days ago also in Uba Askira in Borno, where 10 people were killed and uncountable numbers taken away.
“The people affected by these savage attacks are thus left to think that their lives don’t count.”
Herdsmen attack Tiv villages, kill 20 Tiv farmers, 5,000 displaced
Also on Monday, no fewer than 20 Tiv farmers were killed and 5,000 others displaced in Lafia, Obi, and Awe local government areas of Nasarawa State following attacks on 12 communities by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
A source, who spoke to The PUNCH on the condition of anonymity in Lafia on Monday, said that the attacks started after the herdsmen discovered the corpse of their kinsman in a community in the Obi LGA.
He said, “The killings started since Friday and up until now, our people are still running and looking for where to hide because the herdsmen are fully armed. About 20 people have been declared dead by their relatives and I heard our community leaders saying that 5,000 Tiv farmers have been displaced as a result of the attack.”
The President of Tiv Development Association in the state, Peter Ahemba, revealed that 20 corpses of his kinsmen had been recovered across the 12 affected communities in Lafia, Obi and Awe LGAs.
He mentioned the communities to include Chabo, Daar, Tse-Udugh, Ayaakeke, Kyor-Chiha, Usula, Hagher, Joor, Tyungu, Ugba, Angwan and Ayaba.
He said, “Over 5,000 persons have been displaced across 12 communities and about 20 corpses have been recovered with the support of security agencies. Scores are still missing in bushes and we don’t know whether they are alive or dead”
He added that the inhabitants of affected communities were killed by the suspected herdsmen. He called on both the state and the federal governments to do everything possible within their powers to restore normalcy to the affected communities.
Confirming the incident, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ramhan Nansel, said that a complaint was made on Friday that one Mr Umaru Idrisu of Gidan Washi Village in Obi LGA was attacked and killed by unknown armed men.
He explained that upon receipt of the complaint, the Commissioner of Police, Adesina Soyemi, ordered the Divisional Police Officer in Obi LGA to move to the scene where the corpse was recovered and later taken to the hospital for a post mortem before it was released to the family for burial according to Islamic rites.
He said, “While investigation was ongoing, a suspected reprisal was carried out by unknown persons in Hangara village, Lafia East Development Area in Lafia LGA and crossed over to the neighbouring Kwayero Village of Obi LGA.
“The following persons namely Sani Dauda, Danjuma Liambee, Uloho Jerry, Shedrack Kente, Boniface John, Tersoo Clement, Gwanje Soja and Ayuba Ali were attacked and killed; their corpses were recovered and taken to the hospital by the Police.
The state Governor, Abdullahi Sule, condemned the incident and vowed to ensure that killers of a Fulani herdsman and Tiv farmers were arrested and prosecuted.
Sule said this during a meeting he held on Monday with security chiefs, traditional rulers as well as Tiv and Fulani community leaders in the Obi Local Government Area of the state.
Death toll rises to 40 in Kaduna village attacks
In Kaduna State, the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan said two more bodies had been recovered by the security agencies following bandits attacks on villages in Giwa Local Government Area of the state on Sunday.
The commissioner had on Sunday, said that some bandits invaded three communities in Giwa Local Government Area of the state killing at least 20 persons.
The commissioner gave the names of the attacked communities to include Kauran Fawa, Marke and Riheya villages in Idasu where 38 people were killed across the communities attacked by the bandits.
Residents flee as bandits kill monarch
Aruwan was could not say if the two bodies included that of traditional ruler said to have been gunned down by the bandits on Sunday.
It was gathered that the Magajin Garin Idasu, Magaji Ibrahim, was shot dead on Monday.
The development has forced the residents of Idasu to flee their homes.
Police arrest 8,175 suspected bandits, others in Abuja, Kaduna, Zamfara in 12 months
Meanwhile, the police have killed no fewer than 17 bandits terrorising commuters on the Abuja-Kaduna highway within the past two weeks.
The force also said it had taken into custody 8,175 crime suspects, comprising 1,684 armed robbery suspects; 1,426 murder suspects; 1,451 suspected kidnappers; 1,545 suspected cultists, and others in the past 12 months.
Disclosing these in a phone interview with The PUNCH on Monday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said the suspects were apprehended at the Abuja-Kaduna highway, Kafanchan, Zaria, Gwari axis, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and the outskirts of Abuja and other parts of the North-West and North-Central geopolitical zones.
Ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations, Mba said the force had changed its strategies to meet the challenges of the criminality going on in the North-West and North-Central zones.
He stated, “We have neutralised a lot of bandits on that (Abuja-Kaduna) highway recently. Within the last two weeks, we have neutralised over 17 bandits in different operations on that highway and also recovered arms and ammunition. Some of them were arrested alive and are helping with our investigations.”
The police further said they had deployed undercover operatives in the dark spots and at vulnerable areas as part of the new strategy to stay ahead of the hoodlums.
The deployment of plainclothes operatives, Mba explained, made it easier for security agencies to move into the bandits’ territory undetected.
He also revealed that the undercover personnel were able to blend in with the environment thus enhancing a clinical finish to their operations.
He said, “We are rejigging and upscaling our deployment on that road ahead of Christmas. More deployments are being done; we are doing more undercover operations because we discovered that to even be more effective.
“They are able to launch coordinated and surprise attacks; they are able to move quickly into the territory of the bandits undetected. They can elicit information from members of the public faster and easier and camouflage and blend with their environment.
“In all, it has given us more results. So, while we are also doing uniform deployments in other to boost the confidence of the people, or operational effectiveness, we are doing more of undercover and un-uniformed operatives. We believe that we can provide security and safety for citizens on that road.”
Giving a breakdown of the successes recorded by the police, the force spokesman said over 20,000 criminal cases were at various stages of prosecution at different courts across the country.
He stated, “Between January and now, a total of 8,715 notorious, hardened criminal suspects have been arrested by the Force Intelligence Bureau, particularly, IRT (Intelligence Response Team) and STF (Special Task Force).
“Among these are 1,684 armed robbery suspects; 1,426 murder suspects; 1,451 suspected kidnappers; 1,545 suspected cultists, among others. A total of 1,784 sophisticated firearms, including RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Guns) and GPMGs (General Purpose Machine guns), were recovered and a total of 41,553 live ammunition of different calibre were also recovered.
“We have over 20,000 active cases nationwide being prosecuted in different courts. Out of these, over 1,570 convictions were secured by the Force legal section. So, a whole lot is being done behind the scene to stabilise the security situation across the entire length of the country.”
On the reported collaboration of some communities with bandits and kidnappers, Mba said hundreds of suspected moles and collaborators have been arrested, including those providing prostitutes for bandits and kidnappers in their camps.
The police acknowledged that banditry was a highly-organised criminal activity with different types of participants.