How Informants, Other Collaborators Fuel Banditry

When security men stormed her home in Malumfashi, Indo Abdullahi (not real name), was terrified. The aged widow was puzzled as to what could have been the reason for this welcomed visit by a detachment of armed personnel. With no time spent on offering answers, she was hurried into a waiting vehicle and driven for an hour to Katsina town, the capital of Katsina State.

While at a security facility in Katsina, the woman, still in shock, could not fathom why she was of interest to not just local leaders in her community but to the ‘big men’ in Katsina. But the phone in her possession tallied with the one tracked for weeks by security personnel working out of a new centre established to use phone-tapping technology to track bandits and their collaborators in the state.

Recalling the operation, a source told Daily Trust operatives were confused on finally nabbing the woman in Malumfashi. Could she be the one? The question was asked repeatedly among those involved in the operation.

As part of the interrogation process, the woman was asked if anyone else was using her phone. She answered in the negative. “You don’t give anyone your phone?” She was asked again. It took a while to have the traumatised woman calm down and search for the answer. She remembered a young woman from the neighbourhood who often would come and beg to use her phone. 

The woman in question would sometimes plead to use her own SIM card on the woman’s phone, or recharge the old woman’s line and make her calls. There was an incentive–she would always leave behind the remaining units for the phone’s owner.

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