Nigerian soldiers and police officers stand at the entrance of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Mando, Kaduna state, on March 12, 2021, after a gang stormed the school, taking at least 30 students around 9:30 pm (20:30 GMT) on March 11, 2021.
Four state governments in northern and central Nigeria have compelled a series of limitations on residents in an endeavour to stop mass abductions and other violent vices.
Groups of criminals known locally as bandits have circulated fear among regional communities for years, but security forces have lately battled to contain deteriorating uproar.
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From Wednesday, weekly cattle markets are suspended in Niger state, local government spokesman Ahmed Matane said in a statement.
Petrol sales are capped and the use of jerrycans at fuelling stations is restricted in several locations, he added.
No further features were given to explain the choice of criteria but criminals in the region often use motorcycles and engage in cattle rustling.
“All filling stations should not sell petrol of more than 10,000 nairas (around $20) to each vehicle at a time and should be wary of vehicles or motorcycles coming for repeat purchases,” Matane said.
Carrying three people on a motorcycle is now criminal, he added, and transferring cattle by truck to other parts of the country is prohibited.
The authorities said they were “aware of the inconveniences” but amplified that the measures were needed to rid the state from “carnage and mayhem” caused by “bandits”.
A nocturnal curfew for moto-taxis and tricycles is also in place in several locations.
Similar measures were published in recent days in nearby Katsina, Kaduna and Zamfara states.
In Kaduna, the authorities also prohibited the cutting of trees in some locales due to beliefs that loggers collaborate with bandits.
“Citizens are enjoined to conspire with the government as important steps are brought against banditry and criminality across the state,” Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna’s security commissioner, said in a statement.
In Zamfara, the commissioner of police Ayuba Elkanah urged inhabitants to conform fully with the commands.
The “government and security agencies are very serious in their quest to end the lingering security challenges in the state”, he said.
Chaos in the region originated with communal assaults over access to land and resources. Groups set up camps in Rugu forest, in Zamfara, from which they initiate attacks in neighbouring states.
Nigeria’s armed forces first deployed to the area in 2016 but attacks have prevailed.
Since December, some of the bandits have turned to mass abductions, mainly of learners and schoolchildren, squeezing ransom money from parents and others.
More than 1,100 students have been abducted from their schools or universities across northwest Nigeria since December 2020. Mass abductions have more lately been carried out by armed gangs seeking ransom.
The latest kidnapping reportedly took place in a secondary school on Wednesday in Kaya, a rural town in Zamfara.
A member of staff at the school confirmed to Reuters news agency an attack had taken place and said the number of abducted children was not yet known as counting was underway. He said more than 500 children were enrolled in the school.
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