Bulwark Intelligence

political thugs



In two months’ time, elections are expected to be undertaken across the country; however, the implications of insecurity affecting the integrity of the polls form a fraction of the criticism of the government’s ability to provide a secure environment for the conduct of a peaceful and transparent election. Pockets of disruptive attacks by non-state actors are seen as an unavoidable occurrence given the presence of a diverse range of existing threat actors engaged in political violence across the country. Several security operations remain adequately active, having recorded feats over the past months such as the arrest or neutralization of threat actors, increased aerial interdiction, upgraded arsenals, and most importantly, vibrant intelligence-driven coordination towards arresting criminal activities across the North and South; however, despite these mentioned feats, criminality and all sorts of manifestations of insecurity continue to take a huge toll on the civilian population. One major contributing factor is the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs), which has resulted from illegal and porous national borders manned by a weak border security system heavily impacted by corruption and negligence. This is fueling Nigeria’s security challenges as armed groups have been able to fortify themselves thanks to easy access to illicit firearms. According to Muhammed Akinyemi’s human-angle report titled Nigeria’s Coat of Arms, “With ₦15,000 ($34), you will get a local gun. A single barrel long-range [can be bought] for ₦25,000 ($57).” The proliferation of illicit weapons encourages acts of terror, gradually pushing the population into despondency, and also likely to encourage apathy, the political issues associated with this is looked into in Yusuf Gupa’s Dynamics Of The 2023 Elections. This article looks to discuss some of these security threat actors, their evolution, their strengths, and their impact on the elections in 2023.  Bandits Ragtag bandit groups, which are decentralized, unidentified armed groups generally operating in areas where states have shown an inability to exercise their authority in Nigeria’s northwest and northcentral regions, have contributed considerably to a surge in security threats associated with bandit terror campaigns such as violent assaults on commuters and villages, murder, kidnappings, and skirmishes with security services, the latter of which has triggered heavy kinetic offensives by the military.  For 11 years, banditry has persisted, with civilians bearing the brunt of crimes that have resulted in high fatalities, displacement, and severe economic shocks. The reign of bandits has evolved over time to encompass parallel administrations, in which they manage towns under their control, encouraging tax collection, forced marriages, and combatant recruiting. Bandits’ threat has been sustained during the pre-election season, primarily comprised of kidnapping and small-weapons attacks against political chieftains and election officials, with no clear motive to support or oppose the elections. A typical example of these attacks include; Kaduna Kajuru LGA – Around 1 April 2022, a Kaduna militia abducted seven persons related to the PDP chairman in Kajuru LGA. One abductee was released earlier on health grounds, one was killed after the ransom demands were not met. Chikun LGA – On 22 September 2022, a Kaduna militia attacked some chieftains of the APC, wounded three people, killed two, and abducted others at Tashar Icce near Kujama (Chikun, Kaduna). The victims were coming back from a political meeting in Kujama. Kagarko LGA: On April 25, 2022, a Kaduna militia killed an APC ward chairman and several others when they attacked several communities in Kagarko LGA (Kaduna). Scores of residents were abducted, others were seriously wounded, and some cows and household animals were seized. Kajuru LGA—  Around April 2022 (as reported), members of a Kaduna militia killed one of the seven abductees related to the PDP chairman of Kajuru LGA over the non-payment of ransom. Katsina  Katsina LGA – On 3 September 2022, policemen clashed with a Katsina militia who abducted three people in the Katsina metropolis (Katsina, Katsina). One of the abductees was the candidate for the Kankia zone state house of assembly from the PDP, his wife, and the registrar of Isa Kaita college of education. Niger Mariga LGA – On 25 May 2022, members of a Niger communal militia killed four PDP delegates between Mariga and Tegina (Mariga, Niger) while they were on their way home from Minna. The vehicle the victims were travelling in was shot at by the assailants. Zamfara  Anka LGA – On April 1, 2022, members of a Zamfara militia abducted an unspecified number of commuters, including two APC members, on the Anka-Zuru federal highway in Dajin Daki Takwas, Anka LGA (Zamfara). Nasiru Yari (APC), who was one of the abductees, was released. Bukkuyum LGA – On 29 June 2022, Zamfara militiamen abducted an unspecified number of persons from Gadar Zaima, coded to Bukuyum (Bukkuyum, Zamfara) on the village market day. The abductees include the village head, a political secretary of a political party from Kyaram. Tsafe LGA – On 6 June 2022, Zamfara militiamen abducted a former permanent commissioner of the Zamfara Independent Electoral commission alongside his younger brother at Gidan-Giye, near Tsafe town (Zamfara). The abductees were trying to fix their car which developed a fault. Zurmi LGA – On 28 October 2022, a Zamfara militia led by Gwaska Dankarami simultaneously invaded two residences and abducted two persons in Dauran Birnin Tsaba (Zurmi, Zamfara). The abductees were a district head and an APC chieftain, the militia leader called the abductee’s relative to confirm the abduction which he claimed was a reprisal for the seizure of his motorcycles by security operatives. The majority of the group’s activity has been propelled by various ineffective initiatives in dealing with the situation, which evolved from genuine anti-marginalization agitation to pure terrorism and criminality. The porous environment, on the other hand, over time allowed for the massive proliferation of SALW, which fell into the hands of these groups ushering acts of terror and, in fact, drawing the interest of several other actors, including organized armed groups such as Lakurawa [an armed militia group from Mali] in Sokoto State, armed religious sects such as Dar-Salam scattered in Nassawara, Niger, and


10 arrested, 4 injured as political thugs fight in Jigawa

The Jigawa State Police Command on Tuesday said 10 suspected political thugs have been arrested for fighting during a political gathering in Gwaram Local Government Area of the state. The Police Public Relations Officer for the command in the state, SP Abdu Jinjiri, who confirmed the arrest to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in […]

10 arrested, 4 injured as political thugs fight in Jigawa

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