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Monday, March 27, 2023

Effect of Banditry on Socio-economy of Kaduna Heightens

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Recently, banditry and kidnapping have become major challenges and internal security concerns in Kaduna state, with some local government areas of the state as the epicenter.

In the last few months, the residents of the state have continued to live in fear over the rising reports of invasion of the bandits on communities, leaving the socio-economic activities of the affected areas which include Igabi, Giwa, Birnin-Gwari, Chickun amongst others in a comatose state.

Between March and April, 2021, two higher learning institutions were attacked within the state, as no fewer than 60 students were kidnapped, with another pocket of kidnapping incidents in the state.

In most cases, ransoms were paid in millions by either the victims or the families of the victims to the kidnappers. Within this period, banditry has evolved into a pattern of organized crime with immense criminal sophistication and efficiency, threatening the economic survival of the state, just as many residents of the state have said in an exclusive interview with Money Central.

However, kidnapping and banditry activities have been a threat to public safety and security in Kaduna state, leading to loss of lives, properties, displacement of people from their various homes and inflicting injuries on many and their businesses.

The havoc of the banditry means depletion to household income and communal resources of the worst affected communities.  The state is being viewed as one of the largest economies in northern Nigeria and symbolic capital of the north with a rising Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the recent time.

But the fear of not bringing these virtues to its knees has always been the concern of Kaduna residents due to the negative implication of the rising insecurity on the economy of the state and her teeming population.

Abdulganiy Abdullahi, a resident of Kaduna, in an exclusive interview with Money Central, blamed the rising insecurity in the state on the lack of intelligence gathering  by the government and the security agencies, just as he opined that effective means of intelligence gathering should be the first on the approach by government and security agencies to arrest the wanton killings, kidnapping, displacement of people from their various homes and the destruction of businesses necessitated by banditry activities in the state.

According to him, ” I am afraid, should the government fail to quickly address the issues of kidnapping that are on the increase on a daily basis, might not be good for the image and the economy of the state. And this is because many businesses have suffered from the activities of bandits especially in the affected (rural) communities. With the current situation, farmers could not access their farm lands and other businesses are already dying because a lot of people for fear of being kidnapped or killed have abandoned travelling to the affected communities such as Birnin-Gwari. The socio-economic activities are totally dead, just because travellers are no longer taking the route due to the insecurity.”

Abdullahi who is a businessman said, the victims of banditry in Kaduna state are individuals and communities with material valuables. ” Banditry in Kaduna state has reached alarming heights in the recent months with bandits terrorising villages, communities and schools that are within the city of the state with impunity without any solution from the government. Not all violent problems require violent solutions,” he said.

Cross section of residents interviewed decried the devastating attacks from armed bandits, which according to them are driven by many overlapping factors such as  proliferation of small arms and light weapons, youth massive unemployment and the rising poverty in the country. While some said that the rising insecurity is further compounded by the weakened security services and lack of political will by the government.

Also, a former lawmaker, who represented Kaduna Central, Sen. Shehu Sani,  has called for adequate security around schools in the country to check the spate of kidnapping, saying that the threat on the country’s education sector would lead to a huge setback if not nipped in the bud.

According to him on his twitter handle, ” the finance minister reported that N1.08 trillion was paid to the Army in 28 months and they also made a special request to the President which was approved. The Federal Government has actually funded the military, the irony is that the new Chiefs inherited an Army without adequate weapons and equipment.”

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