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Sultan of Sokoto says Boko Haram, bandits are one

The frontline religious leader asks the government to intensify intelligence capabilities to check mutating criminality.

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, has traced the recent abduction of school students by armed bandits to activities of Boko Haram insurgents who are against Western education and democratic system.

Mr. Abubakar, in a statement by the JNI secretary Khalid Aliyu, bemoaned the recent abduction of 29 students of Government Science College, Kagara by armed gunmen, two months after over 300 students were kidnapped in Kankara, Katsina State.

Noting that the recent havocs by bandits are becoming “the new normal”, he said the abduction would have been averted if there was adequate security surveillance around boarding schools.

“Worst still, Kagara town and by extension Niger State has become infamous, given the serial attacks by bandits and other criminals in recent past.”

“Isn’t intelligence part of security networking?” Sultan asked while expressing worries that Nigerians may not conscious of the repercussion of the bloodletting and criminalities.

Mr. Abubakar said the government seems not to have learnt lessons from the Chibok, Dapchi, and Kankara debacles, “unfortunately, these hapless situations appear to have escaped our memories. What perplexes us in recent years of these kidnappings and abductions is that criminals brazenly act unchallenged.”

Although Mr. Abubakar appeared factual in drawing an equivalence between the widespread killing, maiming and destruction of properties being carried out by both Boko Haram elements and armed bandits, experts have, nonetheless, warned that bandits have not yet met the criteria to be declared a terrorist group. A terrorist group by international definition has a declared political or religious end, which bandits operating across the north and central parts of Nigeria have not done. But Boko Haram had long declared its political and religious aim of overthrowing the Nigerian secular Constitution to install a caliphate under the dictates of Sharia.

He queried the silence of the federal government on the rescue process, which according to him will ease the worries of parents and guardians of abducted students.

“What could be the factors and why is there no information from government quarters relating to efforts made in the rescue process, so as to assuage the anxieties of parents and guardians of the affected victims?”

“Let it be known to all discerning minds that with the ongoing offensive onslaught against Boko Haram insurgency in the Northwest region by the security, other regions must remain very alert against infiltration,” the frontline religious leader said.

The spiritual leader, who challenged the government to set their priorities right on the spate of insecurity before it worsens, said “make no mistake, the abduction is a classic example of the philosophical foundation of Boko Haram- that western education is forbidden. That’s why their targets are always on boarding schools, especially science schools, considered atheistic in pedagogy.”

Speaking further, he said Nigerian citizens should see the insecurity challenge “as a national disaster” that requires collective efforts to combat, just as he advised that suspicious activities in their domain are reported to security agencies.

He also advised that “the government should, as a matter of national emergency, secure all forests in Nigeria by engaging willing Nigerians under whatever nomenclature to help clear off the forest reserves from the undesirable elements, while maintaining our natural environment and eco-system.”

He, however, commiserated with zwfamilies of murdered students in Kangara, the government of Niger state and other ravaged states.

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