‘N20k to transport AK-47, N5k for ammunition’ – insider account on banditry cases in Zamfara
Murtala Rufa’i, professor at Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto, claims that according to a 10-year study he conducted on banditry in Zamfara, people make money carrying weapons.
In his report titled “I Am a Bandit: A Decade of Research into Gun Banditry in Zamfara State,” Rufa’i said studies have shown that there are more than 60,000 weapons in circulation in the state. North West.
He said that weapons such as anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenade tubes, general-purpose machine guns, AK-47, AK-49, G3 magazines, among others, have been found in various bandit camps in the state.
According to Rufa’i, he has interviewed bandits and also visited parts of the state, adding that the gunmen generate income through the arms trade, while a significant percentage of these funds are spent on drugs, women, betting, phones and other goods.
“Most of the arguments on the source of the weapons revolve around the thesis of the porosity of the borders and the inability of the security to respect the more than 1,950 official borders. ” the report, which was presented at a seminar on September 9, states.
“There is an absolute labor shortage and officers want to be posted to lucrative borders. Armed smugglers mainly used these minor entrances for the supply of weapons into the country. “
He said some officers at the border posts would have facilitated the flow of arms around the country.
According to him, this could be one of the reasons that Muhammed Babandede, former comptroller general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), ordered in 2020 that more officers be deployed at the borders.
“Thus, the broader assumption is that the arms supply to Zamfara comes mainly from the Nigeria-Niger borders located around the Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina axis,” the report said.
“This is a plausible hypothesis because there are certain border communities in these states with a significant number of individual shooters, whose primary role is simply to move weapons across the borders.
“Some of these illicit traffickers are well known in their communities, while others remain unknown. Calamity could befall any community that exposes these vendors to security agencies.
“Since Nigerian security officials have complained about a grossly understaffed staff, besides being unable to defend the population against the rural warlords, the best thing is to observe a ‘conspiracy of silence’ for peace reigns in the villages.
“There is also the use of women and children as arms smugglers along the border. It is very difficult to get a courier for female arms, but if you have it, it is the safest and easiest way for cross-border movement of arms.
“Depending on the distance and the terrain, an AK47 rifle is transported to a neighboring village from the border at a cost of N 20,000, while a bag containing 100 rounds of ammunition costs N 5,000.
“Thus, the transport of ammunition is much easier due to its size and could be divided into different portions, which the locals called Geron Hajiya.”
He said some of the gunmen dislodged several agents who supply weapons and became either importers or local arms carriers.
Rufa’i quoted an informant who spent five years as a bandit in the Dan-Sadau region as saying, “I wasted five years for nothing. If I had known, I could have been a shooter sooner. There is more money, more peace and more pride in being in the arms supply chain ”.
Over the years, armed men have attacked communities in Zamfara, despite the state’s decision. grant amnesty to bandits.
However, Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, announced on Friday that his administration would no longer offer amnesty to bandits since they “refused to embrace peace”.