By PR Nigeria
Victims of banditry in Niger State have gotten a reason to smile again owing to the ‘rehabilitative’ support they are getting from residents of Kagara town, PRNigeria reports.
Amid corrosive insecurity, hundreds of thousands of people have been sacked from their ancestral homes as a result of persistent banditry and kidnappings that have been ravaging the state and other parts of the country in recent years.
The displaced victims were forced to settle in neighboring communities under abject poverty, dehumanizing conditions and untold hardship.
But communal efforts are however beginning to turn the page as the victims are now heaving a sigh of relief, an investigation by PRNigeria has revealed.
A 46-year-old Ado Makeri, who relocated to Kagara three years ago after bandits ransacked his village, ‘Sufana’ is currently serving as a vigilante member and contributing his quota towards securing that very host community against the menace of violent non-state actors.
He revealed to PRNigeria how the bandits massacred 10 members of his family with the last one being ambushed alongside the Nigerian Army.
Though living in a rented house, Makeri told our reporter how the residents and the local government officials have been assisting them in a lot of things including the settlement of their rent to some extent.
Similarly, Shuaib Makeri, who is a blacksmith, did not abandon his inherited family business when he set foot in Kagara after fleeing Sufana village.
When PRNigeria visited his cottage firm, he was busy making farm implements such as hoe, axe, rake, sickle, knife, etc.
According to him, he earns his daily bread through that business as he is being patronised by community members without any form of discrimination.
Kabiru Musa from Unugu village who is a farmer and herbalist helps sick people in the neighbourhood in Kagara with traditional medicine.
He revealed that one of his children was still with the bandits who were demanding ransom for his freedom while the other one was able to escape and return home.
Nevertheless, Musa told PRNigeria how the community including the traditional leaders were assisting him.
A 70-year-old Mai Unguwa Dangana with walking sticks who was sacked from Tashan Dogo community by bandits, disclosed how the Rafi LGA Chairman settled his family in a government building in Kagara town.
He decried how terrorists kept chasing them away from their farms even though, farming is the only venture they are familiar with.
When Abdullahi Sarki and his family were dislodged from Sambuga village, he was left with no other choice than to relocate and settle in their inherited house in Kagara.
Apart from engaging in small-scale farming, Sarki also has a small Kiosk made up of zinc sheets along the major road that passes through Kagara where he charges phones and sells sachet water as well as soft drinks.
Reports indicated that Kagara itself has been invaded by bandits at least on six occasions.
The most disastrous attack happened in February 2021, when the terrorists in a night raid, invaded the Government Science College (GSC) Kagara and abducted about 280 students while killing another one in the school premises.
PRNigeria however noted that there is decline in the rate of attacks by bandits within Kagara town in recent times, a development which is not unconnected to the presence of two military bases located at the then GSC Kagara and Ahmadu Attahiru Secondary School, Kagara.
The soldiers have been guarding the town against the activities of non-state actors.
However, bandit attacks are still taking place unchallenged in villages surrounding Kagara.
Most of the abandoned houses in the sacked communities are now occupied by the bandits.
It was noted that some of the communities have now learnt to live with the bandits by paying taxes in exchange for their safety and lives.
They equally relinquish the ownership rights of their belongings including women to the..marauders.