Terrorists over run Zamfara state, killing and maiming helpless villagers and vigilante groups at random, reports Ifeanyi Chukwu Nwannah
The state has totally drifted to social and security uncertainties, as it is glaring that it is another advent of abysmal uncertainties. Armed bandits let loose gory episodes in the state, disrupting almost all legitimate endeavours of the citizens, unleashing reign of terror defying all reasons and sensibilities.
Penultimate Saturday, there was a massacre by unknown gunmen that claimed over 200 innocent lives at Yargaladima in Dansadau town. Eye witness account said the gunmen with camouflaged military uniforms came with over 100 motorcycles for the operation. It was an unbelievable glare because such brutal killing has not been witnessed in the history of the state since its creation in 1996. The general belief is that the killings in Borno and Yobe States are a child’s play compared to the rate of killings in Zamfara State.
When the state Governor, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Yari, the state commissioner of police and other security chiefs visited the scene at Dansadau axis and saw dead bodies in their hundreds, they were dumb founded. A public commentator interviewed by this medium said the commissioner of police and security chiefs should not be confused, pointing out that the operation that took place in broad day light and lasted for several hours, no securityman was seen at the sight until few hours after the gunmen had finished their operation and left that the securitymen came. He noted that since the brutal killings in Zamfara State, no security agent has confronted the gunmen on fire for fire action but they are always there when the operation is over.
He alleged that this has raised a lot of questions suspecting the police for what is happening. No suspect has been arrested, interrogated and paraded for the police to have useful information to work on. In a swift reaction, Senator Sai’du Dansadau who spoke through the BBC Hausa.com said he personally organized a meeting at Yargaldima so that the people can rise up for their defense since the state government and Zamfara police command have been turning down their complaints.
He said that the armed bandits have been terrorizing the village, stealing the people’s cows and goats and went further to stop the people from farming in their farm lands which was the reason for the meeting. According to him, the Governor, commissioner of police and the Emir of Dansadau should be held responsible for mass killing, saying that he is available if Governor Yari wants to arrest him.
Recently Governor Yari challenged the federal government, saying that if the federal government can give him the privilege to raise his own security outfit, he assured the world that terrorism in the state would be a thing of the past. Some commentators who analysed Governor Yari’s statement interpreted it to mean that the Governor has lost total confidence in the security set up. The commentators submitted that records available shows that Governor Yari has purchased 58 operational vehicles and logistics and allowances for the police. The same thing he has done to other security agencies in the state. They said that the insecurity situation in the state is beyond Governor Yari and his government.
Few days ago in Zurmi Local government area, 22 people were reported murdered by gunmen and in Birnin Magaji killing is going on, in Gusau the state capital, the situation is the same thing. These dastard acts are complemented by the rages of assassins who go with motorcycles for blood deals. By witnessing upsurge of killings and maiming, insecurity under various senses, many business men and women have relocated as the situation is seen to be beyond the control of the state government and the security agents who continue to pretend that something is being done to curb the insecurity. It is unbelievable that the gunmen can enter somewhere in broad day light and the security could not make any move, said one family member of the victim.
Some opinion makers are of the view that the perpetrators are not Nigerians but are guided by some Nigerians to destroy their environment. They fault the Nigeria Immigration Service in Zamfara for not taken holistic approach to fish out these illegal immigrants and deport them to their various countries. The commentators said that these illegal immigrants are linked to the insecurity situation.
If their claims are studied critically, there may be iota of truth in the claim because for many years now, the immigration service in the state has not paraded any illegal immigrant to give credit to their duty. Some of these illegal immigrants are employed by private security Guards companies and they serve as informants to the armed bandits to rob and waste innocent lives.
On several occasions the Zamfara State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested and handed over some illegal immigrants arrested as suspects for various crimes to Nigeria immigration service in the state which up till now the state immigration services has not told the general public the situation of the illegal immigrants in their custody.
On several occasions, newsmen have sought to know why the state immigration has not arrested any illegal immigrants or deport them if they were arrested but their defense is always short of logistics for operations. They claimed that the immigration has only one Hilux operational vehicle purchased for it during former Governor Ahmad Sani Yarima’s regime, adding that one operation vehicle alone cannot solve the problem.
Yet many people interviewed by this medium said it is not the responsibility of state government to provide all the logistics to work since they are federal government institution, saying that if the federal government cannot maintain them let them be scrapped off.
According to them, what the state government is doing is a privilege and not mandatory, pointing out that if the federal government is funding them adequately and they could not use the funds legitimately, why shouldn’t the federal government purge the security agencies.
Another school of thought disagrees that the armed bandits are illegal immigrants. They traced the history of security and social uncertainty to July 2012 when the state government led by Governor AbdulAzeez Yari retrenched 14,000 civil servants which the school of thought said most of them are youths in their prime of lives. sending Zamfara under siege.
But Governor Yari does not agree with in this school of thought. He insists that the security agencies are fully federal government institutions operating without adequate and less sophisticated equipment, pointing out that apart from many operational vehicles purchased for the security agents by the state government, they don’t have communication gadgets which he said are essential in their assignment. He confessed that the situation has turned to something else as Zamfara is disturbingly and notoriously in for insecurity and merciless undertaking of the armed bandits, noting that Zamfara State is today known for its crime rate. In fact, it can be rated the highest in the whole country, even worse than Borno and Yobe States. Yet there is no arrest of the real suspected gunmen. Violent demonstrations continue to ravage all over the state including Gusau the state capital unabated.
But some analysts said Governor Yari made a very wrong request from the federal to approve for him to raise his security agency even though they said the National Assembly has thrown away the issue of state police, pointing out that Governor Yari would have requested for a strong military base in the state to monitor every nook and cranny of the state. But then the federal government has not overcome the insurgency in Borno and Yobe States in spite of the state of emergency placed on them.
A senior police officer who pleaded anonymity said that the stormy security situating in the state is above the state government and security agencies. He said that the people are shouting condemning the police for not crushing the armed bandits. He noted that the weapons being used by the gunmen are far more sophisticated than those of the security agencies which he said are out dated. According to him, some people believe that those weapons are given to them by the police, saying that even the police don’t use such weapons. He said that any attempt to confront them means that the police would be dying regularly. “Let the federal government provide adequate and sophisticated weapons for the police to battle the armed bandits, otherwise the insurgency will continue to reign.”
The source said that these nefarious activities within the North are totally incongruent with the historical and economic struggle and political reality of the northern people. He said that it is very much glaring that the number two citizen of this country, Arch Namadi Sambo, is the vice president, the senate president, Senator David Mark is the number three citizen of the country and he is a northern and Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is the number four citizen of the country also from the north, so what is delaying these people from joining together with the religious, traditional leaders and of cause the Northern Governors Forum to come out and speak with one voice to free the northern people from the bondage. These people have already gotten a lot of condemnations from the public and all categories of the Northern people.
The fact is that many Northerners are not hiding their indignation on the security situation in the north. Few days ago, an oil merchant went to his house at Birnin Ruwa after a hard day’s job with the sales of the day amounting to N 3.7 million. He was in his seating room when about four gunmen came with motorcycles at about 9:00 pm. Before the gunmen entered the house; they fired three shots of bullets in the air to disperse people. They entered the house and collected the money without struggle, came out, left with their motorcycles.
Some neighours of the victim told this reporter that when the people entered the house for operation, they rushed to the police station in Birnin Ruwa but could not see any police man on duty. They wondered how armed bandits could enter the place where there is a police station but the police could not come to the rescue of the people.
They said that the police cannot tell a right thinking person that the armed bandits who came to the place and fired three gunshots in the air and the police in Birnin Ruwa did not hear. It is unbelievable they said. They said that 45 minutes after the people had operated and left, the police came with their operational vehicles trying to arrest innocent people as people began to run all over Gusau for their dear lives.
Where was the police when the operation was going on and why was there no police officer found in a whole police station but the operational vehicle was packed in front of the police station? Some of the aggrieved people at Birnin Ruwa described the police as “Weary transgressors”. They call on Zamfara police command to investigate where they were when the operation was going on, saying that they have already lost confidence in the police.
The shock is still ravaging Zamfara people as a result of the murder of the former permanent commissioner with Zamfara State civil service commission, Alhaji Yusuf Garba, who was murdered by two young men in front of his house just after evening prayers. A source hinted that after the prayers he was chatting with friends when the gunmen came with motorcycles and took his life, saying that nothing was taken and that nobody was injured.
No arrest has been made so far in the face of all these killings here and here every day people are perplexed that since terrorism has entered the state, nobody is safe. Upon all these killings, the police command continue to confirm the incidences, saying that evidence of criminality have been established against who? One thing that continue to baffle majority of the people is the indisputable fact that the chairman committee security and public safety in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bello Matawalle, is from Zamfara State, General Aliyu Gusau, the minister of Defence is also from Zamfara and the Inspector General of police, Dahiru Mohammad, is also from Zamfara State. Upon all these positions the rate of crime in Zamfara continues to escalate on daily basis.
The House of Representatives summoned the minister of Defense and the Inspector General of police to inquire about what is happening in Zamfara concerning crime and that invitation will just be thrown into a waste paper basket and another National propaganda because this is not the first time the National Assembly is inviting stakeholders on various issues but no beneficial result have been seen. As pundits observe, both the federal government and National Assembly cannot protect anybody as people have to pray fervently for divine intervention.