The Vanguard article on the location of terrorists all across our beloved country Nigeria should ordinarily bring us a ray of hope. But it doesn’t, because we know what Vanguard knows. We wear the shoes, we know where they pinch.

Will our Military, do anything with this information? After all, they’re supposed to already have this intelligence, aren’t they? No they won’t.

In the original article titled “ATTENTION MILITARY: Over 100 terrorists’ hideouts  identified in Nigeria, Edo State tops the list with 24 different forests harboring terrorists.

Others are:

Benue with 18 locations, Borno with 14 locations, Niger with 11 locations, and Sokoto with 10 locations.

For the sake of this piece, I shall only include excerpts covering the Edo State Area. See other details HERE:

See excerpts below:

The abduction of 276 female students in Chibok, Borno state in April 2014 by Boko Haram insurgents was the first of such abductions in the history of this country. And the outrage that followed the abduction both within and outside the country was such that the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration never recovered from the incident as the ghost of the abduction continued to haunt the government until they were voted out in 2015.

The then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, led by General Muhammadu Buhari seized the momentum and made tackling insecurity as one of its three-point agenda. In fact, the APC vowed to crush insurgency within three months of assuming office. But seven years after coming into office, the little wound that the APC inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has become so festered that it is now threatening to consume the entire nation.

The terrorists now move from one school to another abducting students and keeping them in their camps located deep inside the forests for months until ransom is paid. The terrorists even killed some abducted students to warn the parents of the remaining students in their custody they meant business. It was that bad.

Commuters are kidnapped from the highways and taken into the forests while some who are unable to pay ransom immediately are killed. The terrorists invade communities at will, killing, looting, setting houses ablaze and abducting the residents.

Few days ago, the terrorists strolled into the runway of Kaduna airport and killed one security man. This was followed by the bombing of Abuja-Kaduna rail track which caused derailment of the train. Eight of the train passengers were shot dead by the terrorists who also abducted a number of them. One of the injured later died in the hospital, raising the death toll to nine.

Apart from attacks, the terrorists also impose taxes and other levies on the locals. The terrorists have now become very daring.

Three weeks ago, they attacked a military base at Polewire in Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State, killing 17 soldiers and injuring 40 others, after a fierce gun battle. The gunmen also killed three locals, razed four armoured vehicles and went away with military weapons after killing the soldiers.

A few days ago 106 innocent people were killed in Plateau, many of their houses raised.

As these mindless killings and abductions of residents by the terrorists were being perpetrated, the response from government was always to commiserate with the families of the victims and an assurance that the president had given a marching order to the troops to rescue the abductees.

But the marching orders had always produced nothing as none of the kidnapped victims had ever been rescued by the security operatives unless ransom is paid and the victims are released.

Nigerians had expressed surprise why our military had not been able to take the battle to the terrorists by storming the forests where these terrorists have their camps.

These forests are known not only to the residents but the security agencies. Retired military officers and many security experts had always expressed confidence that our military were capable of crushing the terrorists within a few months if those at the helm of affairs have the political will to do so.

Worried by the unending security challenge in the country, the Retired Army, Navy and Air Force Officers (RANAO) Associations of Nigeria, lamented the Federal Government’s inability to proffer solution to the problem.

While urging Nigerians to defend themselves against Boko Haram and incessant herders’ attacks and killings across the country, they argued that insecurity in Nigeria has been turned into a business venture.

Its National President, Major General Alexander Mshelbwala (rtd.), pointed out that Nigerians were turning insecurity into a business. He argued that the Boko Haram terrorists cannot spend more than five days in the bush without food, and wondered why the military should allow supply to the terrorists

Some governors; Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Darius Ishaku of Taraba State have resorted to asking the citizens to defend themselves against the bandits.

These governors have on different occasions advocated for the citizens to be armed, so they can defend themselves against bandits and other criminal elements.

The Minister of Defence, retired Major General Bashir Magashi had also told Nigerians to rise to their own defence.

In March 2018, a former Chief of Army Staff and Defence Minister, T.Y. Danjuma also called for self-defence.

Similarly, the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai had always insisted that the security forces should storm the forests and kill all the bandits. Governor El-Rufai two weeks ago admitted that the Nigerian authorities know the camps of the bandits, their identities and listen to the conversations of the terrorists that are terrorising large swaths of the North-west region.

The governor, who was speaking at an event to update Nigerians on what the government was doing to stem the tide of banditry in the state said “We know where their camps are, we have the maps, we know everything. We listen to their conversation on phone sometimes.
“We know what they (terrorists) are planning. We get the reports. The problem is for the agencies to take action. We should not wait until the terrorists attack before we respond. The Army should go after their enclaves to wipe them out, let the Air Force bomb them,” he said.

El Rufai lamented that the SSS has informants all over the place sourcing information for the service, but such attacks still happen. Renewing his call that security forces should bomb bandits out of existence, El-Rufai said he does not believe any innocent person could be in the forests, hence his call for air and ground bombing of the forests, as well as standby ground troops to kill anyone who escapes from the bush.

According to him, “With the declaration by the Federal High Court that these bandits are terrorists, nothing stops the military, the police and other security agencies from taking extreme actions to terminate these bandits without prejudice. This is what we have been pushing for, for the past two years”.

El-Rufai had even threatened to invite mercenaries to take the battle to the terrorists in their fortresses if the Federal Government was not willing to put an end to terrorist activities.

Also, the senator representing Katsina Central in the National Assembly, Kabir Abdullahi Barkiya in February this year declared that the hideouts of the bandits terrorising the people of Katsina state were well known to the government functionaries and security agents.

Barkiya who was speaking on the floor of the Senate while contributing to a motion wondered why banditry had not been totally eliminated in the state despite the fact that the locations of the criminals were well known.

Meanwhile, there were insinuations that the body language of the President Buhari does not encourage the military commanders to go all out against the terrorists.

Reference was made to Buhari’s warning before he came to power that the Goodluck Jonathan government should stop killing Book Haram members. And even when Buhari assumed office, his government has refused to prosecute sponsors of terrorism in the country who have been publicly identified.

The hideouts or forests in several states across the country where these terrorists attack from and run back to after operations are well known. But the surprise is that our military forces know these places as confirmed by Governor Nadir El-Rufai of Kaduna state but they have been very reluctant to invade these forests to smoke out the terrorists or for rescue operations, they only react after every operation.

Col Hassan Stan-Labo (retd), former Army Intelligence Officer, speaking on Arise News television on political interventions in the anti-terror war said “I know what the Nigerian armed forces can do but unfortunately for one reason or the other, we are not measuring up to expectations. We’ve got what it takes to crush the terrorists. As a country, with a strong defence force, having actually equipped your infantry, you go out there and crush the enemy. That is what I expect from Nigeria, we did it in Liberia, we did it in Sierra Leone. What is happening with us? Is this Nigeria? Our sovereignty is threatened, bandits have taken over this country and we’re watching? This is the only country we have and only the military can salvage it”.

With the spate of killings and kidnappings for ransom that occur almost every day, the terrorists have demonstrated that wreaking havoc and unleashing mayhem on the populace has become their way of life. And if it’s only the military that can salvage the situation, the question Nigerians are asking is, when will these savages that have taken over our forests be brought to their knees by our military?

The forests which these bandits have taken over are located in virtually all the states of the federation. Our special investigations have identified them for our military and the government in case they claim they don’t. It is part of our contribution to the fight against terror in Nigeria.

By Ozioruva Aliu

The entire forested areas in the three senatorial districts in Edo state have been taken over by criminal herdsmen who are into kidnapping, killing and raping of women and girls. This has made traveling a nightmare in the entire state.

But there is a curious dimension to the menace as there is an alleged connivance between the criminal herdsmen and locals who act as informants and negotiators because victims of the attacks had wondered how the bandits were so familiar with the terrain even more than the locals who have dwelt in these same places over the years.

Ahor forest
The notorious area for kidnapping in Edo South senatorial district, the largest area and most populated which is home to seven out of the eighteen local government areas in the state, is the Benin–Auchi-Okenne road.

The forest at Ahor by the bypass that takes road users to the Ugbowo axis of the Benin – Lagos Road is one of the dangerous spots in the area known for kidnapping. So many lives have been lost in that axis while many victims have also been rescued by security agencies. It is a large forest spanning several kilometers.

Ovia Forest, Ogbemudia farms
Ovia Forests and Ogbemudia farms near Okada along the Benin – Lagos road are also notorious for kidnapping.

Benin–Abaraka Road
The abandoned Benin – Abaraka Road, where there is a vast farmland in Orhionmwon Local Government Area is also notorious for kidnapping and killings. Many farmers in these areas have abandoned their farms and have relocated to the city to stay with family members.

Ugha, Igieduma, Iruekpen forests
Along the Benin – Auchi – Okenne roads

The Ugha, Igieduma and Iruekpen forests have also been taken over by kidnappers.

Ewatto, Igbanke forests
In Edo Central senatorial district, the forests in Ewato — Ewohimi road and Igbanke – Ekpon off Agbor Road are a hideout for kidnappers.

Ethonomics, Okpella, Uzebba, Ekperi forests
In Edo north senatorial district, the forest at Ethonomics in Etsako West Local Government Area along the Benin – Okenne – Lokoja Road is a fortress for kidnappers as well as the forest in Okpella, a boundary town between Edo and Kogi States.

The Auchi – Warrake – Iruekpen road, Uzebba axis along Ifon – Sobe road, a boundary area between Edo and Ondo states is also home to kidnappers.

Also in that area is the bush along the Ekperi – Anegbette road in Etsako Central. Speaking on the forest in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area which shares boundaries with Ondo and Kogi states, a leader of the vigilante group said “It is a terrible situation here, the kidnappers have completely taken over the forests”

Aiyegunle, Eshawa, Imoga forests
The forests in Aiyegunle, Eshawa, Imoga, and the forest between Lampese and Ogori in Kogi state have also been taken over by the terrorists. The terrorists move around these forests, so that if they are found in one forest today, the next day they will move to another location.

Dagbala, Ojiramito forests
There is also a forest after Ojirami by Dagbala and another one in Ojiramito Uneme-Erhurun which the terrorists have occupied
Enwan, Akuku, Sasaro, Ogbe, Ogugu hill, Okpe forests
According to the vigilante group leader, “we also find these kidnappers in the forests in Enwan and Akuku. Then the Old NEPA office in Igarra, there is a hill there surrounded by bushes which used to be a cattle ranch but terrorists have taken over the place. They are in Sasaro forest, they are in Ogbe, Ogugu Hill, behind Geoworks and they are also in a hill close to Gloryland Secondary School along Okpe road.