The governor’s note to the president, which was leaked, alerts the president about the terrorists’ advanced intentions to establish a permanent operational base in the Northwest.
According to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, terrorists are tightening their hold on towns in Kaduna with the help of a “parallel” administration and “permanent operational base” in the northwest of the country, close to Abuja, PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively reveal.
In a late July memo, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. El-Rufai warned the president of the militants’ cohesion.
When Ansaru al-Musulmina fi Bilad al-Sudan, or simply Ansaru, split from Boko Haram in 2012, it’s thought that they relocated to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State.
The terrorists that founded Ansaru are said to be responsible for some of the high-profile attacks that Boko Haram claimed responsibility for prior to the split, according to intelligence reports and human sources interviewed in further reporting for this story.
These incidents included the August 2011 bombing of the UN building and the kidnapping of a few foreign nationals. The sources claim that Ansaru, who has been linked to numerous high-profile kidnappings and violent attacks against the police in Kaduna State, pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in 2020.
However, according to experts and negotiators who are familiar with how terrorists operate, a coalition of terror organizations, including the original Boko Haram (also known as JAS), ISWAP, Ansaru, and bandits, is developing.
In Kaduna State in 2021, terrorism, banditry, confrontations between different communities, violent attacks, and retaliation claimed the lives of 1,192 individuals. According to the authorities, 645 individuals died in such incidents during the first half of 2022 across the state.
In his memo from the end of July, Mr. El-Rufai outlined how the terrorists had penetrated and ruled over villages, created “a parallel governing authority,” and controlled the region’s social and economic activities as well as the administration of justice.
Citing a “series of intelligence reports,” he claimed that the terrorists have progressed in their efforts to establish Kaduna woodland regions as their “permanent operational base” for the North-West region.
“Observed movement patterns and intercepted communications of migrating terrorists have shown a clear interest in setting up a base, with the stretches of forest area between Kaduna and Niger states strongly considered,” he wrote.
In order to prevent citizens from voting in the general elections in 2023, the terrorists, according to Mr. El-Rufai, have created a legislation, he told Mr. Buhari.
“The insurgents enacted a law in the District, banning all forms of political activity or campaign ahead of the 2023 elections, especially in Madobiya and Kazage villages,” the governor wrote.
Terrorists from the Ansaru group are well-known for holding an extreme ideological stance against secular government and democracy.
Due to the threat of armed banditry and terrorism, the census enumeration exercise could only take place in two of the 11 wards that make up Birnin Gwari in 2021, according to authorities from the population commission and the Kaduna State Government.
The governor claimed that the prohibition on political activity came after a recent terrorist wedding ceremony.
“According to actionable intelligence, members of the Jama’atu Ansarul Musulmina Fi’biladis Sudan (aka Ansaru) hibernating in Kuyello district of Birnin Gwari LGA recently conducted a nuptial ceremony during which they married two yet-to-be-identified female residents of Kuyello village,” Mr El-Rufai wrote.
“The ceremony was attended by various Ansaru members and witnessed by residents of the area. After the marital rites, insurgents in attendance reportedly conveyed the brides to the dreaded Kuduru forest, in the same District.”
In the area of adjudicating disputes, Mr El-Rufai said the terrorists “fined one Mu’azu Ibrahim, a resident of Kuyello community, the sum of One Million Naira for selling plots of land without the consent of the owners.”
Terrorists, according to Mr. El-Rufai, are manning the ungoverned space and extorting money from the populace as a result of the government’s retreat from rural areas, which has left them vulnerable to violent criminals.
“Multiple reports also exist of bandits and terrorists exacting protection levies and similar taxes from farmers and communities, in return for permission to cultivate their fields,” the governor said.
According to terrorism specialists, a significant source of funding and sustenance for terrorists is the income from taxes and levies imposed on ungoverned regions, which are brought about by the failure or limited capacity of the government.
ISWAP terrorists situated on the Lake Chad islands are also extorting enormous sums of money from the local pastoralists and fishermen, much like the Kaduna situation Mr. El-Rufai described.
When approached, Mr. El-Rufai stated that he would not comment on this issue because the correspondence he had with the president was meant to be private.
A similar “secret” letter warning that the Buhari administration was losing steam just over a year after taking office was written by him to the president in 2016.