Apparently overwhelmed by the spate of killings in their domain, indigenes of Zamfara State have implored the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the state with a view to initiating series of actions that would address the ongoing crisis in the area.
A group of concerned citizens of the state who made the call in a statement they issued yesterday lamented that in the last few years, Zamfara has been subjected to massacres and the killing of thousands of innocent citizens, mainly rural folks.
Leading the call that a state of emergency be declared in Zamfara is a governorship candidate in the state, Senator Saidu Dansadau.
Dansadau said President Buhari should embark on the move to rescue the state from bloodletting.
According to him, the crisis in Zamfara today is “beyond the knowledge of every individual, and unless something positively is done, no one knows where finally the state will find itself in”
He alleged that the top echelon of the state government are accomplice and urge the federal government to urgently declare emergency rule.
The stance of the people from the state is a reiteration of the position taken by LEADERSHIP in its front page comment published in the July 31 edition of the paper that the federal government should quickly intervene and stop the bandits in Zamfara “that kill for sport, apparently because they hardly encounter any resistance or face any consequence”, from the state government.
In the statement made available to LEADERSHIP, the group noted that the brutality with which these attacks are carried out are unprecedented in recent times in any part of Nigeria.
The statement was jointly signed by Prof Jibrin Ibrahim of Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja; Dr Abubakar Siddique Mohammed and Prof Massoud Omar of Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Zaria, as well as Dr Salihu Zubairu Mustapha and Malam Mohammed Abubakar Nasiru of the department of history, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The Zamfara people called for the dispatch of Special Forces to the forests and affected villages to root out the terrorists and kidnappers.
According to them, government should interact frequently with community leaders and other relevant stakeholders in the search for lasting solution to the crisis.
They also called for a renewed commitment of the leadership of the security agencies to accelerate the war against terrorism, insurgency, mass kidnapping and mass murder.
The concerned citizens pointed out that the outbreak of riots in Tsafe local government of the state on Saturday December 22, 2018, which led to the deaths of over 100 people in the villages of Asaula, Kwadawa, Dogon Kawo, Mandaba, Yanza, Kulutu,Sakkya and Fegin Dakai, all in Eastern Tsafe, has again brought to the fore the issue of insecurity in Zamfara State.
“On Monday, December 24, thousands of scared citizens in the state came out en masse to protest, demanding that the Nigerian State protects them from killers and bandits who have killed over one hundred people in the past two weeks, burnt their houses and destroyed their farmlands and rustled their cattle”, they noted
The group maintained that the reckless pronouncements and ineptitude of the government of Governor Abdul Aziz Yari have further worsened the security situation in the state.
They said the destruction of the campaign posters of President Muhammadu Buhari is a manifestation of the extent to which people are aggrieved against the efforts so far put in place to contain the problem.
The Zamafara natives pointed out that the carnage is not only limited to Tasfe, but is widespread all over towns and villages of Zamfara, while innocent citizens, made up of defenseless men, women and children are slaughtered routinely with no help in sight.
“Women and young girls are raped in the presence of their parents and husbands. Some are kidnapped, carried into the bush, subjected to incessant rape, impregnated and sent back to their villages”, they added.
Establishing the basis for their call for a state of emergency in the state, the group said, “So far, the security measures put in place in Zamfara have failed. The massive demonstration that took place in Tsafe yesterday against the failure of the security agencies, which degenerated into the riots, indicates that people’s patience has run out.
“All these happenings indicate that there is a leadership vacuum in Zamfara state and that whatever security measures put in place has failed woefully. This therefore calls for drastic measures to arrest the situation and prevent the descent into total anarchy, with dire consequences to Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna states and the neighbouring states of Niger Republic.
“The Zamfara crisis should become a turning point indicating a renewed determination of the Nigerian State and its security agencies move from condemning such wanton killings to checkmating the activities of the attackers”.
Noting that it is time for President Buhari to take immediate and drastic action, the concerned citizens recommend immediate declaration of a State of Emergency in the state to enable the federal government initiate a series of actions that would address the crisis”, as well as “the dispatch of special forces to the forests and affected villages to rout out the terrorists and kidnappers”.
They also urged the federal government “to interact frequently with community leaders and other relevant stakeholders in the search for lasting solution to the crisis”, just as they called for “renewed commitment of the leadership of the security agencies as part of a renewed effort to accelerate the war against terrorism, insurgency, mass kidnapping and mass murder”.
4000 Zamfara IDPs Take Refuge In Katsina
Meanwhile, about 4000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from communities attacked by bandits in Zamfara State are currently taking refuge in two camps at Faskari and Kankara local government headquarters in Katsina State.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the victims of the gory attacks in several villages in Tsafe local government area of Zamafara were transferred from public places in Sheme, Yankara and El-Malami villages across Faskari local government area to the model school in Faskari town.
Their counterparts who camped at Dansabau village in Kankara local government area at the border of Katsina and Zamfara State were moved to Model primary school, Kankara.
The public relations officer of Katsina State Emergency Management Agency, Umaru Mohammed, who confirmed this yesterday, said the victims of banditary were moved to the two local government headquarters for prompt delivery of relief materials and security reasons.
According to him, no fewer than 1, 664 women and children that were initially camped at Sheme, Yankara and El-Malami villages were moved to Fasakari, while the IDPs numbering 2, 166 including those who initially escaped to Dansabau village before their transfer to Kankara were counted at the Kankara Model primary school camp as at Tuesday.
He said the officials of the Katsina SEMA are doing their best to provide victims of insecurity in Zamfara with relief materials, food and other materials, including drugs since they were rendered homeless in their states.
Again, PMB Sympathises With The People
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed grief over the loss of lives in the attacks on communities in Zamfara State by bandits and cattle rustlers.
According to a statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the president assured that the federal government will do everything in its powers to bring to an end the horrendous attacks.
Shehu noted that in a telephone call he made to Alhaji Garba Mohammed Tambari, the Emir of Maradun in Zamfara State, President Buhari said he was extremely saddened by the loss of lives and destruction of property following the attacks.
He urged the Emir to console his people and citizens in the entire state over “these heart-wrenching tragedies.”
Buhari gave firm assurances that his administration will do everything it takes to secure the state and the nation in general, and will bring such attacks to an end.
In a related development, President Buhari has also called the leader of the Izalatil Bidiah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS)in Jos, Plateau State, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, to condole him over the death of a number of his followers in a road accident in Jigawa State.
Shehu said the president also commiserated with him on the kidnapping of his other followers in Zamfara State.
“The president gave assurances that the law enforcement agencies will make the best efforts to free the kidnapped followers of the Sheik”, the statement noted.
Killings Will Affect Food Security, Says FG
Meanwhile, the federal government yesterday gave what it termed last warning to the bandits terrorising the people of Zamfara State, saying it has devised stringent measures to deal with the situation.
The minister of Interior, Alhaji Abdulrahman Dambazau, stated this in Gusau during an on-the-spot assessment of the activities of the bandits in the state.
“This is a final warning; the bandits must stop these acts forthwith because the federal government has devised more stringent ways to deal with them. I want to assure them that they cannot withstand the consequences”, he warned.
Dambazau noted that the persistent attacks on residents of Zamfara by bandits will affect food security in the country.
“Since those affected by the killings are largely the agrarian rural dwellers, the activities of the bandits will have a serious impact on agriculture and food security,” he said.
The minister disclosed that stakeholders in the security sector in the state will meet to fine-tune the new measures that would be used in tackling the threat posed by the bandits.
He, however, advised the hoodlums to immediately surrender and embrace peace, just as he expressed President Buhari’s condolences to the people of the state over the attacks.
“This administration will continue to go to any length to protect the lives and properties of the citizens because any single innocent life lost has a devastating effect on the nation and is unacceptable,” he said.
Responding, the acting governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Alhaji Sanusi Rikiji, lamented that the security situation in the state was getting out of hand.
“This crisis started as a farmers/herdsmen conflict but has now escalated to the killing of the innocent, rustling and kidnapping”, he said, adding that getting rid of the criminals will require the concerted efforts of all stakeholders.
Rikiji who commended the joint efforts of the security agencies at all the flashpoints noted that the hoodlums have devised fresh tactics to evade confrontation with security personnel.
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