By Saleh Bature
When the Sokoto State Government broke out the news that bandits attacked, shot at a bus conveying travelers and burnt alive over 20 passengers, my heart bled for the victims. This is barbaric, pathetic, inhuman and most condemnable act of wickedness. I became angry, disoriented and prayed to Almighty God, who has power over all things to expose, destroy and punish the perpetrators of the dastardly act and have mercy on the soul of the deceased.
On that fateful day, I expected a public outcry against that despicable crime against humanity. Nigerians from all walks of life spoke in unison against the indiscriminate killings of innocent people by bandits and kidnappers and the worrying escalation of the crime wave across the country. The bandits have been emboldened, despised everyone and have for long crossed the line. They have the audacity to commit heinous crimes at will. They pillaged many villages in the North and enforced taxes on the people.
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Bello Turji, Dogo Gide, Sani Jalingo (alias Baleri), Dan Karami and other kidnap and bandit kingpins are the de facto rulers of many villages and towns in North Western Nigeria. The Gobir Community Development Association (GCDA) wrote in a letter to the President that Sabon Birni, Goronyo and Isa LGAs in Sokoto State and Shinkafi LGA in Zamfara State are now under the firm control of Turji. The atrocity and inhumanity of kidnappers and bandits know no bounds. They are dangerous and pitiless creatures masquerading as men. They kill, maim and rape the women abductees and they take delight in the suffering of their victims.
Therefore, Nigerians were happy with the gallantry of General Commanding Officer (GOC) of 8th Division of Nigerian Army Headquarters Sokoto, Major General Uwem Bassey, who led a military operation recently that destroyed the camp of the notorious bandit leader, Bello Turji and killed several bandits who have been terrorising the people of Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger States.
The successful operation against the terrorist Bello Turji, who was reported to have bragged and boasted about his ability to fight and defeat the military, is a victory not only to the military who eliminated the terrorists and burnt down their camp, or the local Yan Sa Kai who gave useful information to the soldiers, it was a victory to Nigeria and all lovers of peace.
Before the empty threats of Bello Turji, and his accomplice in crime, Baleri, a coward and soulless devil who prides himself as the kidnapper of students in Kaduna State, the man who bragged of killing seven out of every 10 abductees in his captivity to prove to the government that he meant business, there lived in Zamfara State a deadly bandit by name Buharin Daji. It was Buharin Daji who played God and threatened to kill any farmer who attempted to cultivate the farm in Zamfara State. Buharin Daji did not live to see the next rainfall. One of his lieutenants, the equally notorious kidnapper-cum-bandit, Dogo Gide, ended his life.
The debate going on about the faith of marauding bandits and kidnappers is needless. They are neither Muslims nor Christians. Their religion is violence. Violence is their work tool and raw material. They were born and bred in the jungle. This explains the reason they apply jungle justice to their hapless and helpless victims. They are a horde of wicked and heartless animals disguised as men. They do not respect or show compassion to children, women or the aged. Their existence poses a serious threat to humanity as a whole. They are our most common enemies that we must fight and subdue in order to survive.
The combined force of military, police and Yan Sa Kai should not relent on their onslaught on all those who do not respect the sanctity of life. General Bassey has opened our eyes. We’ll judge commanders by their courage and ability to lead the troops to the camp of the bandits in the bush.
Mercy is not in the dictionary of people who kidnap, rape, maim and kill innocent people for ransom. They do not know mercy not to talk of showing a modicum of it to the victims under their captivity. The only language they understand is carnage and wanton destruction. We should therefore help our security men to pay them in the same coin.
‘’The life for the life, and the eye for the eye, and the nose for the nose, and the ear for the ear, and the tooth for the tooth, and for wounds retaliation’’ prescribed by Islam offers one of the best solutions to this seemingly unending quandary. Bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements who kill us or endanger our lives are our common enemies. Each member of the society, therefore, has a special role to play in fighting the war against kidnapping and banditry.
Saleh Bature wrote in this piece from Limpopo Street Maitama, Abuja.