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As the circle of bloodletting in Nigeria continues to spread like wildfire with little or no effort by the government of the day to halt the barbaric killings, it was the turn of Sokoto State, the throne of the Caliphate, the Islamic religious headquarters in Nigeria and beyond, to feel the bitter taste of the nefarious activities of killer bandits in Nigeria.

Last week, over 39 armless and innocent villagers at Dogonyero in Gandi District of Raba Local Government Area of Sokoto were gruesomely cut down untimely by marauding bandits on the early hours of Monday. As usual, torrents of condolences from leaders and the lead floods the media space, as well as the familiar rituals by security agencies in condemning such act and often claim that they are on top of the situation.

What happened in Sokoto, the Caliphate City, is akin to a terrorist invasion of the Vatican City. Interestingly, conspiracy theories are already flying around on the possible cause of the attack on the relatively peaceful capital of Islam in Nigeria. Is the Caliphate the next target? There is a school of thought that it was probable that the act is a warning to Governor Aminu Tambuwal by some invisible forces to desist from criticising President Buhari’s administration. Or is it an attempt by the insurgent group to establish a new Caliphate to replace the Sultanate as the group threatened before? Why would anybody want to destabilise or threaten the Ccaliphate?

Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi-Central) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto-North) in a motion that condemned the killings alleged that indifference of the security agencies to the threat paved way for the wholesome killing. According to him, “The Senate notes with sadness the gruesome and unprecedented killing of innocent and defenceless people – 40 in number – in Sokoto by bandits on Monday morning at Dogonyero in Gandi District of Raba Local Government Area of Sokoto.

“The Senate is further concerned that the bandits are operating in the Zamfara forest where they carry out nefarious and barbaric killings of innocent people over a period of two years. The Senate further notes that they moved with motorcycles that carry up to three people, numbering about 30 motorcycles in all, meaning that the bandits were up to 90. The Senate is worried that the bandits sent two people to the village to buy food for them, and the villagers observed that the emissaries were armed and they were interrogated by the villagers and found to be bandits similar to the ones operating in Zamfara. The villagers apprehended and executed the two emissaries.

“The group sent advance notice to the villagers that it was coming to retaliate the killing of its members. He lamented that security agencies, who were alerted about the impending reprisal, allegedly withdrew their men after some days. The Senate notes with sympathy that the chairman of the local government and the village head alerted the law enforcement agencies to this notice of the bandits. Security was provided for a period of five days, after which they were withdrawn. Immediately the security agencies were withdrawn, the bandits moved in and started killing indiscriminately using AK-47 rifles”.

Recall that two years ago, precisely on Monday, April 25, Ukpabi Nimbo community, in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State was rampaged by Fulani herdsmen who killed scores of villagers, mostly farmers, and destroyed properties worth millions of naira in the process. This was despite the intelligence report made available to the security agencies in the state by the governor 24 hours before the ugly onslaught on armless villagers by killer herdsmen but nothing was done to forestall it.

We condemn in strong terms the killings in Sokoto State and call on the Federal Government as well as the National Assembly to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring those behind it to book, including those colluding with marauding bandits to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens as alleged by an ex army chief.

The incidents of security agencies not acting on intelligence report to prevent killings and crimes as being alleged in several reports should be given the highest scrutiny at the highest level. That is one of the reasons there is a general lack of confidence on the security agencies by many Nigerians.

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