Ado Aliero, a wanted bandit leader based in Zamfara, has revealed that he storms villages and kills citizens as a form of protest against the Nigerian government.
Aliero made this known in an interview for a BBC Africa Eye investigation released on Monday.
“We only protest with guns. We know no journalists. We don’t know where to protest. Our protest is to take up arms and storm villages. That’s when the government will wake up and acknowledge our problems. If they ask, we will tell them our problems,” Aliero said.
An unnamed bandit leader said taking up arms was a way of fighting against the marginalisation of the Fulani people.
“Tell me, where can we rear our animals now? Are the cattle routes still there? In the rainy season, you have to carry the cows on your head. You have to walk on the roads or take them on rocky paths where they fall and die. Even in the forests, warplanes chase us and kill our animals,” he said.
“How have the Fulani become so worthless in Nigeria? There is no veterinary hospital. We have nowhere for them to drink. Don’t cows have value? Everyone needs meat, everyone needs milk. Walk into town, and it’s like they’ve seen a hyena. Many Fulani have university degrees.
“The government never considers them. If 1,000 Hausa sit for an exam with one Fulani, they will pass every single Hausa and fail that single Fulani. There is no one to help us, only GOD. If you see Fulani resorting to so-called terrorism, it is because of this.”
Aliero said that he had his followers kidnap the victims while he killed the vigilantes who confronted him. “Honestly, I have lost count of the number of vigilantes I killed. I have lost count,” he said.
Abu Sanni, one of the bandits who kidnapped 279 school girls in Jangebe, Zamfara, said that he felt no guilt for the abduction. Sanni revealed that bandits kidnap to “inflict disgrace on the government”.
“When the rainy season ended, they sent the military after us. We decided to show the government they shouldn’t interfere in our problems. We went to Jangebe to take the students. We wanted to get the government angry,” Sanni said.
“In our world, terrorism is the right punishment for government. The right way to teach them that they are wrong. If they didn’t interfere, we wouldn’t have taken the students. All I know is that we inflicted disgrace on the government. We demanded 300 million naira but after negotiations 60 million naira was paid and we released the girls. We bought more rifles [with the ransom].”
However, the Zamfara State Government claimed it did not pay the terrorists a ransom shortly after the release of the Jangebe students in March 2021.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.