DAILY COURIER |
David Arin – Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said terrorists are consolidating their grip on communities in the state with a “parallel” government and “permanent operational base.”
The governor, who disclosed this in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari, sighted by Premium Times, warned the president of the terrorists’ consolidation.
The chairman of Birnin Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), Ishaq Usman Kasai, had recently warned that Ansaru terrorist group has tightened its grip on most of the communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna, where it currently holds sway.
The group, he said holds Shari’a court sessions for locals who lodge complaints with it.
In 2021, 1,192 people lost their lives in Kaduna State due to banditry, terrorism, communal clashes, violent attacks, and reprisals. In the first six months of 2022, 645 people lost their lives in such circumstances across the state, the government said.
Governor El-Rufai, in his memo in late July, warned of how the terrorists have infiltrated and dominated communities and formed “a parallel governing authority”, exercising control over social and economic activities and dispensation of justice in the area.
He said the terrorists have advanced in their plans to make Kaduna forest areas their “permanent operational base” for the North-west region, citing a “series of intelligence reports.”
“Observed movement patterns and intercepted communications of migrating terrorists have shown a clear interest in setting up a base, with the stretches of forest area between Kaduna and Niger states strongly considered”, he wrote.
As the political activities towards the 2023 general elections pick up steam, El-Rufai told Buhari, that the terrorists have promulgated a law to ban residents from participating in the forthcoming elections.
“The insurgents enacted a law in the District, banning all forms of political activity or campaign ahead of the 2023 elections, especially in Madobiya and Kazage villages”, the governor wrote.
The Ansaru terrorists are known to have an extremist ideological posture against democracy and secular authorities.
In 2021, the census enumeration exercise could only hold in two of the 11 wards that form Birnin Gwari due to the threat of armed banditry and terrorism, officials in both the Kaduna State Government and the population commission, confirmed to the Media.
The ban on political activities, the governor said, followed a recent wedding ceremony involving the terrorists.
“According to actionable intelligence, members of the Jama’atu Ansarul Musulmina Fi’biladis Sudan (aka Ansaru), hibernating in Kuyello district of Birnin Gwari LGA, recently conducted a nuptial ceremony during which they married two yet-to-be-identified female residents of Kuyello village.
“The ceremony was attended by various Ansaru members and witnessed by residents of the area. After the marital rites, insurgents in attendance reportedly conveyed the brides to the dreaded Kuduru forest, in the same District”, El-Rufai added.
In the area of adjudicating disputes, El-Rufai said the terrorists “fined one Mu’azu Ibrahim, a resident of Kuyello community, the sum of One Million Naira for selling plots of land without the consent of the owners.”
In addition to the government becoming removed from rural communities, leaving them at the mercy of violent criminals, terrorists, the governor said, the terrorists are manning the ungoverned space and extracting revenues from the people.
“Multiple reports also exist of bandits and terrorists exacting protection levies and similar taxes from farmers and communities, in return for permission to cultivate their fields”, the governor wrote.
Contacted, the Governor declined comment, insisting that his correspondence was supposed to be confidential communication to the president.