Rising tide of insecurity in the North: Katsina in focus, By Ismail Misbahu

“Peace is not everything but everything is nothing without peace” ~ Willy Brandt, 1971.

From Borno to Zamfara to Katsina — the trajectory has always been dreadful. Life there has almost attained the Hobestian state of nature i.e. of being ‘short, nasty and solitary.’ The dare dreadfulness, intense rancour and despair — all ensued. Life has become desoltary with no clear purpose and enthusiasm.

On the ruin of the Northeast, a thriving economy began to appear. A brilliant description of the situation by Fatima Abubakar shows opportunities arising from global and local organizations, researchers, artists, photographers and writers intent on “helping the needy” or “being the voice of the voiceless”. It is no longer ‘insecurity’, it is a booming ‘War Economy’!

To discover new niches for the ‘economy’ to prosper, new spheres of influence were carved westward, the Yandoto and its grandmother, Katsina! The business at a start, unlike the current state of the Northeast, is of ‘predator and prey’! Zamfara and Katsina have fallen prey of irrational predators! Who knows whether the ‘proprietors’ were the dreaded Boko Haram boys, the “ex-servicemen”! Who knows whether it’s their syndicates — both are all involved. Who knows whether they involved the weak poor, whose fear and worry, is licked back on his boot and now he’s fearless — such a niggerly penny-pinching “informer”, a desperate criminal.

At the midst of it all, is the kind politics manifesting everywhere in the country. This time around, not in the 2-words capturing phrase of Mallam Aminu Kano, “man management”, but the politics of human destruction. The bloodthirsty politics in this time around, does not begin in areas where there’re millions, but where there’re thousands — in the nearby villages on the outskirts of cities and towns, and in the remote ones. This sets the opposite against the Lenin’s theorization that “politics begins where there’re masses, not where there’re thousands; but to him, ‘where there’re millions — that’s where serious politics begin.”

Katsina, like Zamfara and the rest of the north, has fallen victim of bloodthirsty criminals and armed bandits whose elation comes only after horrendous killings, gory attacks and blatant act of kidnapping innocent citizens. From all the lines of its geo-political zones — from Daura in the north — to Batsari, Dutsin-Ma, Danmusa and Safana to its southern districts: Faskari — Dandume — Sabuwa etc, many villages and towns along this north-south pole were violently shaken and erased by series of grisly crimes. Like a ‘baby-sitting bedtime tale’, the perpetrators of these ungodly acts were even sending priors of alert, and eventually followed up at the least expected, sometimes in broad day light! Alas, it all fell in deaf ears! The business is so lucrative that silence has given all the approval! There’s really no choice as innocent citizens couldn’t have desired to acquire weapons and protect themselves, even though such has not been comfortably fortunate. Ain’t they worth a life? The game of the predator and prey has already overtaken the scene! What a Pity!

In the peripheral areas of Funtua zone: Faskari, Dandume and Sabuwa, people are quivered in the breeze. They were killed and wounded — others were kidnapped. Women, girls especially are raped and taken away. Houses and properties were set ablazed. Life has become full of qualms. People kidnapped and taken to ‘horror zones’ are left ill-starred. No home, no hope — nowhere. They’re deserted!

These unfortunate ‘human species’, hit villages like Yankara, Shawu, Unguwar Goga, Kamfanin Layi, Samanja etc. These acts were rather copious and even more dangerously from the earlier ones reported to have occurred in Sabuwa, Dandume — and surrounding villages (Kadisau, Layin Maigora, Damari etc)! Migrant refugees as from 12th October, 2020, especially from the remote villages of Faskari and Dandume are increasingly becoming frequent than before! Funtua, where these migrants are moving into, has become chary of accommodating. It’s a wary state of life, such unsavoury! News are only filtering from the people within! Their worry and fear has been to no one’s attention! The deep feeling of disgust among the victims and the rest of the living population, is only desperately expressed as “Allah Shi kyauta”! Besides, nothing more serious, not even a plan of action is considered! So pathetic!
Rural markets, and even urban market connecting these villages, are abysmally operating. Buying and selling has been encumbered by the growing rate of circumspection and mistrus. The fear and worry of the possible disruption of these markets by armed bandits and kidnappers turn everybody a ‘stuck-up snob’.

It’s a pity that the perpetrators or rather the ‘proprietors’ of this business allegedly include politicians from the state who see nothing bad to implant innocent citizens as seeds of terror for which they could cultivate money! Their corrupt passion and covetousness have made Saytan their intimate soulmate. While criminals are labouring the crime, security agencies are seen as allegedly investing! At the top of such allegations is that building in Katsina, which hosts the office of “Buka”, and is all fraught with such files of financial wrangling and mishandling! Thanks to Dr. Mahadi Shehu who took this allegation beyond the prove of justifiability to more of an issue that demands a warrant for arrest!

The level of ungovernability among the northern leaders is at its highest exhibition. The words of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed aptly captured the sorry state of the region:

“When the presidency creates a chorus line on an alleged attempt at regime change and the dangers of social media, you see evidence of the pronounced denial of responsibility for the causes of the protests against insecurity, particularly in the north. You saw that in the president’s address; in the communique released after the meeting in Kaduna involving the highest levels of northern leadership; in the levels of sympathy extended to losses from the south by northern leaders, even as northerners there, were also killed and their assets stolen or destroyed and places of worship destroyed.”

The hope for the future is bleak as the future itself is unpredictable! The armed-robber in khaki ― a soldier on the high way! Criminals in police gowns ― police in permutation! The era of ‘professional criminality’! A killer has his master in Abuja, and the master is someone who have the control of the judiciary! The trajectory is one-round-ending-at-one-point! There’s really something alerting the world! Something eternal that keeps up with the speed of time.

Nigeria, like elsewhere in Africa has become irony ― a big irony that, while Africans had reportedly sold their fellow Africans on board for slave trading purpose, today they are seen either on the desperate moves towards the West, or ‘depositing’ their fellow Africans in ‘dirty corners’! Kidnapping of innocent citizens has reached a high heaven for cleansing! Who knows whether on the demand of the expending ransom, a close enemy is involved! The era of ‘money is the soul’ ― money makes all the believe! Little wonder one colonial master predicts that “there will come a time when Africans appreciate the West and call back colonialism”! Is it the time? ― The era of human banditry! So what? After all, the colonial menace may not strictly differ from the pain-in-the-neck! ― may be the pain of the West may allow one to swallow!

At the end of it all, I captured the Frantz Fanon’s powerful admonition that “man is YES — yes to his life; yes to his love — and yes to his generosity. Man is “NO — no to scorn of man, no to his degradation, no to his exploitation; no to the butchery of what is most human in him: Freedom!”

Ismail Misbahu
From Funtua,
Katsina State
[email protected]