Peace Returns to Munya Communities in Niger State after Six Years of Bandit Attacks

After enduring six years of terror at the hands of armed bandits, over 30 communities in Munya Local Government Area of Niger State are now witnessing a gradual return to peace, with locals cautiously rebuilding their lives.
The newfound calm in these communities is attributed to the sustained presence of joint security forces in the general forest area, where bandits once held sway.
According to Channels Television a recent visit to some of these communities revealed a landscape scarred by years of conflict. Abandoned telecommunication masts and deserted homes dot the roadside, serving as poignant reminders of the region’s turbulent past.
For Esther Aboyi, a local businesswoman, the return of peace offers a glimmer of hope amidst years of uncertainty. She recounts the challenges faced by residents, including the constant threat of bandit attacks disrupting daily life.
“It is affecting us because sometimes  we can’t go out for our businesses. This hasn’t made life easy for us,” she said.
“Sometimes whenever we want to go out, we would hear that the bandits have blocked the road, and we have to go back. Sometimes we would want to sleep, and we would hear that the bandits had arrived, and we would have to run away from our homes in search of a safer place to stay. That is how we have been managing our lives”.
Similarly, Sunday Moses, another resident, highlights the urgent need for government intervention to rebuild homes destroyed during the prolonged conflict. Basic amenities such as water, schools, and healthcare facilities are sorely lacking, further compounding the challenges faced by returning residents.
Na’imatu Lawal, a mother of seven, shares her story of displacement and resilience, echoing the sentiments of many returnees who seek government support in rebuilding their shattered communities.
The impact of bandit activities extends beyond the human toll, affecting vital sectors such as transportation.
Haruna Yusuf, a transport union leader, describes how dwindling passenger numbers have crippled the local transportation business, further exacerbating economic hardships.
“Yes, the thing affected us seriously, that people were coming from outside there were blocked from coming here. We used to go to Minna sometimes three times a day, but now, our vehicle will go just once. Before more than one hundred vehicles will go up to two to three times each in a day, But now, just like between 30 to 50 vehicles go there once a day,” he said.
However, amidst the lingering scars of conflict, there are signs of progress.
Deputy Governor of Niger State, Yakubu Garba, commends the efforts of security personnel in restoring peace to the region. He acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead but remains optimistic about the prospects of lasting stability.
He said, “At this moment, I am fulfilled because I have travelled throughout the local government, and today, I am here in Mangoro. This formation here is a formation that came to being after we won the election. The governor directed that it should be formed so that we can curtail the inflow of bandits into these communities. This formation is strategic because it interconnects so many routes the bandits take advantage of to hit the Bikoro local government and others.
“Immediately the bandits cross from Kaduna, this is their major route to get to our people. But with wisdom, the governor directed that a formation should be erected here, and you can see a combination of specialised hunters, local vigilantes, local hunters, and even the military that has curtailed 60 per cent of the inflows of the bandits into our communities. And for the past ten months of this administration, we have never found an opportunity to visit this place. But today, I am here with my team on behalf of His Excellency to encourage our vigilantes and other security men on the ground so that we can boost their morale to be able to tackle these men of the underworld. As you can see some civilians are starting to return to this Mangoro because there is progress in combating insecurity here, and I think I am fulfilled,” he said.
Garba reassures the returnees of the government’s commitment to providing security and support, emphasizing the need to prioritize stability before embarking on reconstruction efforts.
 “At this moment, the issue of rebuilding or reconstruction does not even arise because we are still in the middle of a war. Until we achieve peace before you even start to think of how to reconstruct the structures. As it is now, our major task is to ensure that we have completely calmed the reoccurrence of insecurity in these communities. Again, our people don’t even need you to rebuild houses for them.
“All you need to guarantee them is security, and by the time you come back here in the next year, you will see how they would have turned this place around. And we are doing everything possible to secure the communities,” he said.
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