Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Northwest Nigeria, met with Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, September 2, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja over security issues in Kano State.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Ganduje said he told the vice- president about the efforts being made to address the challenges of insecurity in the state.
He said the military with support from other security agencies was doing its best to neutralise criminals who recently invaded the dreadful Falgore Forest.
“Just to brief him about security issues in Kano State, especially pertaining to kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and other criminal activities in the zone,” Ganduje said about his meeting with the vice-president.
He said the state was facing problems in Falgore Forest area where the military was trying hard to stop criminals,especially terrorists, from occupying to carry out terror attacks.
“We are working very hard on that,” the governor said.
Kano State is one of few states in northern Nigeria not seriously affected by terror attacks although it shares boundaries with Katsina and Kaduna states both heavily affected by terrorism and related conflicts.
However, some remote villages in the state have recorded cases of kidnapping and other crimes in recent times.
In Kore village of Dambatta Local Government Area, for example, Juwairiyya Kore, 20-year-old daughter of a Kano State lawmaker, was kidnapped on July 22, 2020.
The kidnappers were looking for her father but when they could not find him, they took his daughter after beating up her uncle.
She was released after the kidnappers negotiated the payment of ransom with her father who chose not to disclose the value.
The girl said that she was taken to a newly built house with many women inside.
Brief History of Terror
Falgore Forest lies within Tudun Wada, Doguwa and Sumaila local government areas of Kano State. It is on the boundaries of Kano State with Bauchi and Kaduna states.
The thick, vast forest has a bad history and reputation of serving as a hideout for different kinds of criminals, ranging from cattle rustlers to armed robbers.
The movement of terrorists in the forest was recorded in 2015 when villagers near the area said they saw some strange persons moving freely with guns.
“They came to Falgore with many animals, sometimes moving freely with guns. Most of them are youths, moving without family, indicating that they are not real herdsmen who normally move around with wives and kids,” the District Head of Doguwa, Alhaji Aliyu Harazimi, told Daily Trust at the time.
In 2015, Muhammadu Sanusi II, the dethroned Emir of Kano, called for maximum punishment for 72 cattle rustlers arrested in the forest.
The criminals were arrested after an encounter with the police in which three of them were killed. Those killed included Senegalese and gang leader, Umaru Dogo Ndaye, who led an attack on Sumaila Local Government Area of the State.
“Ndaiye was gunned down when he engaged our men in a gunbattle who were on special duty at Falgore Forest by Gazobi village,” said the then Commisioner of Police in the state, Muhammad Katsina.
In 2017, the Nigerian Army converted Folgore Forest into a training ground to forestall criminal activities.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai, said the army would ensure that the forest would become free of Kidnappers, cattle rustlers, armed robbers and other forms of crimials.
Returning on the Highway
In July 2020, the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Habu Sani, asked the police, especially those on Kano-Kaduna and Kano-Jos roads, to be vigilant and be ready for any form of attack.
About a month later in August, criminals attacked travellers around the forest.
Witnesses said the criminals who carried heavy arms, blocked the road for hours, kidnapped three people and injured many others. Among the people injured was the Hisbah Commander in Doguwa Local Government, Mallam Mukhtar Abdulmumin, who was returning to Kano.