Niger, Katsina, Kaduna and Zamfara states have imposed a series of restrictions on residents in an attempt to control the skyrocketing rate of kidnappings and other violent crimes.
The federal government in Nigeria have stood by as gangs of criminals known locally as bandits spread fear among local communities since the beginning of the year; a worsening problem security forces have failed to contain.
From Wednesday, weekly cattle markets are suspended in Niger state, local government spokesman Ahmed Matane said in a statement.
Petrol sales are capped and the use of jerrycans at fuelling stations is prohibited in several locations, he added.
Here are a few other imposed restrictions:
- Petrol stations are prohibited from selling petrol of more than 10,000 naira to each vehicle at a time. Attendants should be wary of vehicles or motorcycles coming for repeat purchases.
- More than two people on a motorcycle is now illegal. Transporting cattle by truck to other parts of the country is also restricted.
- A nighttime curfew for moto-taxis and tricycles is also in place in several locations in the states.
- In Kaduna state, authorities have banned felling of trees in some locations due to fears that loggers collaborate with bandits.
Kaduna’s security commissioner, Samuel Aruwan has asked that citizens of the state work hand in hand with the government as necessary steps are taken against banditry and criminality across the state.
In Zamfara, the commissioner of police Ayuba Elkanah urged residents to comply fully with the directives.
The “government and security agencies are very serious in their quest to end the lingering security challenges in the state”, he said.
Violence in the region originated with communal clashes over access to land and resources. Groups set up camps in Rugu forest, in Zamfara, from which they launch attacks in neighbouring states.
Nigeria’s armed forces were first deployed to the area in 2016 to curb violence, but attacks have persisted.
Since December, some of the criminals have turned to mass kidnappings, mainly of students and schoolchildren, squeezing ransom money from parents and others.
More than 1,100 pupils have been kidnapped from their schools or colleges across northwest Nigeria since December 2020. Mass kidnappings have more recently been carried out by gangs armed with sophisticated weapons seeking ransom.
A recent bewilding attack took place at the Nigerian Defense Academy in Kaduna State on August 24,2021. Two senior officers were killed at the scene while the abducted Major was later found dead hours later.
According to local reports, the kidnappers demanded about $500,000 ransom to free the officer before eventually killing him.