Background of the study
A bandit is a robber or outlaw belonging to a gang, who uses weapons to steal or rob from the people and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area of a country. Banditry is a term used to refer to acts of robbery and violence in areas where the rule of law has broken down (Collins, 2000). Banditry consists of the organization of armed bands for the purpose of attacking state or social institutions or enterprises or individual persons. Participation in such bands and in the attacks committed by them is equally regarded as banditry (Collins, 2000).
Historically, banditry has existed and operated in different parts of the world since the 19th century when bandits riding mostly on horse backs move from their hideouts to attack villages and then retreated back to their hideouts. In Europe, bandits have existed in mainly mountainous areas of Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey (Cassia, 1993). In Asia, bandits have existed in several countries such as Iran, Philippines and India (Bankoff, 1998). In India, bandits are called Daku in Hindi Language which the British colonialist coined as dacoity during the colonial period. Thus dacoity has become a term for banditry in the Indian subcontinent where bandits have operated for many years in north and north central India. One of the notable dacoits was Gabbar Singh who inspired the famous 1975 Bollywood film Sholay (Flames) based on his life. Therefore, banditry has a rich and lucrative history throughout south Asia and despite continued anti banditry efforts, the problem of banditry persists in India presently (Dmella, 2018). Banditry is another security challenge in Africa where bandits have continued to ravage the horn of Africa, East and Central Africa and the trans-Saharan trade routes from Niger Republic all the way to Libya (Aregbesola, 2020). Banditry has existed in parts of Chad and around Lake Chad and they also have significant presence in parts of Southern Africa (Aregbesola, 2020). In West Africa, the prevalence and severity of banditry has contributed to the rising increase in regional insecurity with a potential threat to regional integration of the subregion (Abdullahi, 2019). Reports have shown that some of the bandits from some countries of the West African sub-region such as Niger Republic and Mali were invited to carry out large scale attacks in some countries of the
sub-region. They moved through the porous West African borders with their arms to assist their fellow bandits in carrying out large scale or reprisal attacks. In Nigeria, banditry came as a result of nearly four decades of unresolved conflicts between settled cultivators and nomadic herding communities that wander on the high plains of northern Nigeria particularly the North West geo-political zone in states such as Zamfara. Banditry in Zamfara State started since around 2009 and increased in 2011 especially after the general elections (Anka, 2017). In fact, Zamfara state has been the epicenter of banditry in Nigeria, where most of the bandit’s leaders were based and from Zamfara state forests they would move riding on motor cycles to other states such as Katsina, to operate and return to their forest dens (Farouq and Chukwu, 2020). Therefore by the year 2010, banditry had started in Katsina State primarily in the seven Local Government Areas (LGAs) that shared boundary with Zamfara state namely Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Danmusa, Kankara, Faskari and Sabua. Since banditry involved acts of robbery and violence on the people particularly rural dwellers who mainly engaged in farming, cattle rearing and other food production activities it is bound to have impacts on food security. Food security according to the World Food Summit 1996 “exists when all people at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active healthy life” (FAO, 2008). The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 2010) simply defines food security as the availability of food in terms of production, distribution and consumption. Any form of violence that leads to insecurity in rural areas where majority of the people are farmers is bound to affect food security anywhere in the world. The United Nations in September 2020 observed that attacks by AlShabaab insurgent group will deepen food insecurity into the year 2021 in Mozambique (Channels, 2020). In Nigeria, the Federal Government has realized that banditry has posed a serious threat to farming communities in the northern parts of the country. Therefore in April 2017, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in conjunction with the Minister of Interior initiated the formation of a special unit of AgroRangers Corps to protect farmers and farming investments throughout the country (The Sun, 2017). The use of the Agro-Rangers was expected to forestall attacks on farmlands and boost farmer’s confidence to work on their farms without fear of attacks, thereby guaranteeing the Federal Government avowed food security plans (NSCDC, 2020). On the occasion of the June 12 Democracy Day Speech President Buhari announced the deployment of 5,000 Agro-Rangers to offer protection to farmers and farming investments across the country (Oyeleke, 2020). In December, 2018 the Minister of Interior observed that the persistent attacks on residents of Zamfara state by bandits would affect food security in Nigeria as a whole during an onthe-spot assessment of the activities of bandits in the state (Agency Report, 2018).
There’s no more effective solution than forceful inland and frontier policing. Such policing must deal with the region’s peculiar circumstances of diverse borderlines, forest lands and hinterlands. This requires a tactical synergy between grassroots vigilantes and the state security operatives. The federal government’s current counter banditry effort, based on military reconnaissance and raids, is good and commendable. But it has failed to bring about the needed respite, owing largely to the operational challenges arising from insufficient knowledge of the terrain. This makes the involvement of local vigilantes and community watch groups, who have a better knowledge of the terrain, more important. However, to guard against possible excesses and abuse, people in these structures must be properly trained, equipped and supervised. The way forward, then, is the development of grassroots policing, enriched by local personnel and intelligence.
Statement of research problem
The rising incidence of cattle rustling as a part of the problem of rural banditry may not be unconnected to the problem of small arms and light weapons that have found their way into the hands of non-state actors, now a part of the wider challenge of human security confronting Nigeria. Although it is difficult to obtain reliable data in Nigeria, it has been suggested that between 7 and 8 million illicit small arms and light weapons are in circulation in West Africa alone, with a huge number entering Nigeria (Chuma-Okoro, 2013). This is largely as a result of porous borders,including the affinity between border communities which consider any stringent border control as an infringement upon the social and cultural rights ofthe people (Chuma-Okoro, 2013). This estimate is far above the figure of 1-2 million illicit small armsin the early 2000s (Egwu, 2014). Public policy responses must recognize that most of the factors potentially driving the proliferation of small arms and light weapons are linked to the decline in state capacity and the human security dilemma facing both the state and citizens. For instance ungoverned space provides a power vacuum, which is at times filled by religious extremist groups and/or criminal elements who have taken over remote areas where the State presence is reduced or non-existent(Aning, 2009
Objectives of the study
The primary objective of this study is as follows:
1. To find out the causes of banditry Northern part of Nigeria.
2. To find out if government have intervened in reducing banditry in the Northern part of Nigeria.
3. To find out how banditry in the Northern part of Nigeria can be reduced or eradicated.
4. To find out how government can improve on the strategy been used in fighting banditry in the Norther part of Nigeria.
The following questions have been prepared for this study:
1. What are the causes of banditry in Northern part of Nigeria?
2. Do you think there is government intervention in reducing banditry in the Northern part of Nigeria?
3. How can banditry be reduced or eradicated in the Northern part of Nigeria?
4. How can government improve on the strategy been used in fighting banditry?
Significance of the study
The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:
This study will assess the causes and government intervention in reducing banditry in the Northern part of Nigeria.
The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, security agencies, NGOS and academia.
Scope of the study
This study intends to assess the causes and government intervention in reducing banditry in the Northern part of the country. The study is delimited to GUMMI local government area in Zamfara state and as such will be used as a case study
Limitations of the study
This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:
just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data
Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires
Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher
Operational definition of terms
Assessing: evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of
Government intervention: is regulatory action taken by government that seek to change the decisions made by individuals, groups and organisations about social and economic matters.
Banditry: is a type of organized crime committed by outlaws typically involving the threat or use of violence