• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

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“Ravaged Communities in the North West Constantly Decry Bandits’ Attacks with Impunity” – International Alert

  • Women and girls in the communities suffer sexual and gender based violence without justice
  • Partially neglected in both the state and federal governments’ overall security plans
  • Suffer recurrent human rights violations and Police brutality with impunity

In an effort to promote stability and increase access to justice in most of the communities in the North West States in Nigeria such as Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina that have constantly been ravaged due to spate of insecurity perpetrated mostly by Bandits and extremists, International Alert with support from UK International Development through the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) launched a project code named in Hausa “Samun Adalchi Shi Ne Kwanciyar Hankali” which literally means “Promoting stability, Access to Justice and accountability in North-West Nigeria“‘, in English.

This project, according to Dr Paul Benshima Nyulaku, Country Director, International Alert, seeks to create a community of practice in dealing with several narratives that have impeded access to justice by understanding the key drivers of violent extremism in these North West States.

“Speaking at a workshop in Abuja yesterday Nyulaku said: “Few months ago, we convened a key stakeholders’ meeting in Sokoto State with religious leaders and media practitioners in attendance as we tried to understand the negative narratives behind the violent extremism; narratives that have impeded justice as well as promoted gender based violence in the north west.

“Most of the negative narratives discovered, had created state of hopelessness for many marginalized communities in the North West”

“The residents of these communities decry partial neglect, constant human right violations and Gender Based Violence by the extremists and bandits amongst others.” He said.

Paul added that all these narratives were reviewed at that meeting. And it was resolved that strategic communication (STRATCOM) of the Northwest be carried out, and the outcome of STRATCOM brought about this workshop.

“Therefore, the objectives of today’s workshop is to share lessons insights and messages that fuel radicalisation and alternative narratives and communication tools that may be used to address them.”

“Key findings from our recent STRATCOM assessment conducted in Kaduna and Zamfara states will be analysed. The workshop also aims to stimulate discussions and generate diverse perspectives for enriching the evidence on the use of STRATCOM for addressing violent behaviour in the North-West” he said.

Recounting their untold agonies in the hands of the bandits and extremists at the workshop, community dwellers from 3 states in the Northwest said kidnapping and abduction of innocent citizens have become the order of the day in northwest.

“Abduction of 287 girls while in school in Chikun LGA Kaduna is one of most recent ones. And all our efforts to secure the freedom of these innocent young girls have been difficult because the ransom these kidnappers demanded were too high for poor people like us” said Buba, a resident of Chikun, Kaduna State.

“The kidnappers demanded 4 trillion Naira ransom, how do we get such amount of money?”

Buba added that, where 287 schoolgirls abducted from, there is no single police station around there that could have prevented the perpetrators from such act.

Mohammed, another researcher and journalist, who had first hand experience of how Bandits were raping and sexually assaulting the married women in some communities in Zamfara State said people living in those marginalized communities have lost hope and confidence in what both the state and federal government can do to get justice for them.

In his words, “one of the reasons, we don’t get to read stories like that in the news is because these marginalized Communities dwellers no longer trust the government.”

“They believe government are behind their troubles, so they resorted to solving it their way by willingly giving out their female children and wives to the bandits to rape them, so that they would be free from bandits’ attacks” Mohammed said.

Aishat, a Fulani woman from a community in Kaduna State while sharing her tribal stereotype and Police brutality experience said Security operatives such as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in her Communities would randomly and unjustly arrest and torture their male children for being Fulanis.

Aishat who narrated her ordeal in Hausa, said:
“SARS have maimed all our male children for being Fulani. They stereotypically profiled and accused them of kidnapping and robbery”

“They have turned all our male children to handicap due to torture. We had thought they would protect us from insecurity but rather they are the ones perpetrating insecurity, she said with tears in her eyes.

By News Editor

Our News Editor, Muyiwa is an information management expert and Development Blogger with more than a decade experience in investigative reporting and journalism. He is passionate about human angle stories to all social issues in Nigeria and Africa.