Land Dispute, Population Growth Backbone For Attacks in the NorthWest – University Don

What began as an act of resistance to factors perceived to be against pastoralists in Northwest Nigeria, has grown to become organized criminal activities that many refer to as ‘Banditry’.

The depleting security situation in the North-Western part of Nigeria grew out of land disputes driven by environmental degradation, population growth, and government corruption over land rights.

Dr Murtala Rufa’i, a lecturer in the department of history at Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto said this in an interview titled ‘Criminal Gangs Destabilizing Nigeria’s North West’.

Dr Rufa’i said that those factors were at the expense of locals who found access to their historical grazing lands and cattle routes blocked.

“But when gangs recruited from disgruntled pastoralists started attacking farming communities and realized that they had the power, momentum, and ability to raid these communities at will, then the conflict took on a new dimension.”

Rufai also said the federal and state governments have not been able to acknowledge the gravity of the problem and have constantly downplayed it.

He admits that the government is not interested in understanding the dynamics and how these armed groups operate.

“Therefore, the government has never developed consistent or coordinated policies to address the rising kidnappings and raids conducted by these criminal gangs.”

Rufa’i said the recent government containment measures put the bandits on their heels for a moment, but they have adapted and taken advantage of the situation now.

Another interviewee, Kunle Adebajo, a journalist with HumAngle, explained how criminal groups currently operate for purely economic gain. “The groups make income from various means: stealing from locals, levying communities, or through ransom payments from individuals and government,” he said.

Adebajo said the gang attacks are worsening with time. He explained that previously, such attacks were done in rural areas but recently armed groups are extending their operations to bigger communities that are closer to federal highways.

“This is because many of those areas have been raided repeatedly and are increasingly impoverished. So bandit groups are turning their attention to urban communities to get more money, to rustle more cattle, and to get larger ransoms.”

The interview explored the escalating attacks on communities in northwest Nigeria by criminal gangs, who are responsible for mass kidnappings of school children and exploiting the limited security sector presence in the region.

Support Our Journalism

There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.

To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.

Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.

Donate Here

Of course, we want our exclusive stories to reach as many people as possible and would appreciate it if you republish them. We only ask that you properly attribute to HumAngle, generally including the author's name, a link to the publication and a line of acknowledgement. Contact us for enquiries or requests.

Contact Us

Zubaida Baba Ibrahim

Zubaida Baba Ibrahim is a journalist and a creative writer. Her works have been featured on Daily Trust, Premium Times and Guardian. She also has experience in broadcast journalism and is a graduate of Mass Communication from Baze University, Abuja. She tweets through @zvbaida

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Translate »