Abu Sanni, a self-confessed bandit kingpin, says insecurity has become a business everyone benefits from.
Sanni — who says he helped mastermind the abduction of students of Government Girls Science Secondary School Jangebe, Zamfara — was interviewed by BBC Africa Eye in a forest in Zamfara.
The 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit warlords of Zamfara’ was undertaken by Yusuf Anka, a journalist who crisscrossed remote bandit enclaves in the state.
Zamfara is one of the worst-hit states by banditry. According to a report by TheCable index, the state topped the list of reported killings in 2021, with 703 persons reported to have died as a result of insecurity.
The BBC documentary sheds light on the mindset of bandit leaders, the booming nature of the kidnap-for-ransom business — and how insecurity in Zamfara may have been triggered by ethnic war between Hausa and Fulani groups.
‘WHY WE KIDNAPPED JANGEBE SCHOOLGIRLS’
On February 27 2021, Nigerians woke up to the heart-rending news that bandits had invaded Jangebe in Talata-Mafara LGA of Zamfara and kidnapped 279 schoolchildren. Some weeks later, the schoolgirls were released by their captors.
Sanni said the schoolgirls were kidnapped by his gang as revenge against the government for sending the military after them. He said his gang demanded N300 million from the government for the release of the schoolgirls but N60 million was paid.
“When the rainy season ended, they sent the military after us. We decided to show the government they should not interfere in our problems. We went to Jangebe and took the students. We wanted to get the government angry,” he said.
“We demanded N300 million but after negotiations, N60 million was paid for their release.”
The self-confessed bandit kingpin said insecurity has become a business, adding that everyone, including the government, is benefitting from the violent attacks.
“Because it has become a business. Everyone wants money. That is why things are deteriorating, from the top to the bottom,” he added.
“They say when there is insecurity, the government gets money. Everyone is benefitting. We also get money. Though for our money, blood is split, so it continues.”