To say that Nigeria is not safe would be the understatement of the decade. If anything, the country has become a safe haven for kidnapping, herder-farmer clashes, attacks by unknown gunmen, and banditry — words now so familiar and frequently used, that many Nigerians have become increasingly numb to the incessant carnage. While the South West and South East contend with secessionist agitation, attacks by unknown gunmen, and bloodshed, the North East has been at the forefront of a humanitarian crisis spanning over a decade, courtesy of Boko Haram. Meanwhile, the North West has become the hub of illegal mining, ethnoreligious conflicts, and banditry. As it stands, Nigerians are certain of only one thing: no one is safe.
At the center of the banditry is Zamfara, one of Nigeria’s poorest states, which has remained at the top of the country’s league table of violent deaths. Known simply as “bandits”, these heavily armed gangs continue to terrorize Nigeria’s rural northwest, raiding villages, boldly killing citizens, kidnapping young children, and forcefully removing people from their homes. In the hopes of getting to the heart of this terrifying crisis, BBC Africa Eye brings viewers face to face with some of the most feared bandit leaders in this new documentary.
In a series of gripping encounters, the BBC’s investigative team, BBC Africa Eye, explored the immediate and remote causes of the problem by hearing from both sides – the Fulani-dominated bandits and the Hausa-dominated vigilantes, otherwise known as ’Yan Sa-kai. As reported by a law student, Yusuf Anka, the 50-minute documentary gives viewers a rare look at the full extent of the horror that has swallowed up the state and exposes just how little has been done to remedy the situation. The documentary also includes the only media interview ever granted by Ado Aleru, a notorious Fulani gang leader who is wanted by Katsina police for leading a massacre in the village of Kadisau in June 2020.
Watch the documentary below:
Over the years, many of us have been left with more questions than answers, and despite all the news surrounding the attacks and massacres, there has been very little on-the-ground coverage, making it difficult to get the facts and details of the matter as they are. With this film, Mr. Anka and BBC Africa Eye have offered us a much-needed dose of clarity.