In recent days, Nigeria’s military has elevated the offensive against bandits in the northwest and northeast following the targeted attacks against family members of politicians and elites. Bandits operating in Zamfara State are feeling the pressure and fleeing.
Governors in the northwest of Nigeria, particularly the governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, have taken some drastic measures including the shutting down of mobile communications infrastructure, canceling market days, banning the sale of petrol in cans, and prohibiting phone charging spots.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s new directive to the service chiefs may have seen to the current ground and air offensive by the Nigerian military, leaving scores of bandits fleeing their hideouts in their hundreds.
In the light of the recent onslaught, the governor of Zamfara State has begun to speak tough against the bandits, saying his administration was not ready to negotiate with criminals.
However, controversial cleric, Shiekh Ahmad Gumi has opposed this new offensive against the bandits, calling for dialogue with the armed group. The cleric even compared the groups to the END SARS movement.
He stated this in a post on his Facebook page last week. In the message titled: Zamfara: The flaring of Crisis, Gumi argued that “this conflict can be resolved by active engagement with the agitators just as we saw how EndSARS agitation was swiftly managed after an initial scandalous failed military confrontation, was peacefully resolved by the government, likewise, the herdsmen crisis can be.”
An ex-DSS officer who spoke on conditions of anonymity said the change in tactics could be as a result of logistics. Nigerians on social media appear to be thrilled at the new dimension of the fight against the insurgents.