- We commend Zamfara’s example to states with similar problem over banditry
The report that the Zamfara State government has removed the Emir of Maru, Alhaji Abubakar Cika Ibrahim, and the district head of Kanoma, Alhaji Ahmed Kanoma, for their alleged complicity in the banditry that has claimed many lives and property in their domain is worrisome. What the accusation means is that constituted local authorities may have been aiding the banditry in the zone. When the Ministry of Defence raised the accusation not long ago, traditional rulers in the state denounced the allegation as false.
In fact, the royal fathers had asked the military to name those allegedly conniving with the bandits to run the state aground. Now that those allegedly involved have been named, or at least some of them, we hope the traditional rulers would gird their loins and join the state authority to bring the rampaging banditry to an end. Even as the traditional rulers are called upon to examine the conduct of their subjects, it is necessary for state and federal authorities to join forces to rout banditry in that zone.
The north-west zone in recent time descended into a near state of anarchy, with claims that it was a cultural and tribal conflagration between the Hausa and Fulani. Various reasons were offered for the rupturing of ethnic harmony that had existed between the people over a century. While the Hausa were allegedly engaging in cattle rustling to hurt the Fulani, the Fulani in turn were said to be engaging in acts detrimental to farming. The tit-for-tat reached a stage that the immediate past state governor Abdul’aziz Yari offered to resign his position as chief security officer of the state.
For some time, the people in the locality had been up in arms against the two traditional rulers for their alleged involvement in the armed banditry in the state. Indeed, recently when the state governor, Bello Matawalle, visited the area, the people protested against the rulers, asking the state government to sack them. The duo had also been rough handled by the people over those allegations, necessitating their investigation by a committee set up by the state government. That investigation confirmed their alleged involvement in the armed banditry.
The committee, with a mandate to investigate the uprising against the emir and district head, was headed by former Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar. Of note, since the intervention of the new state government, in reconciliation and peace building process, the state police commissioner claims that banditry in the state has reduced drastically. We believe the information is correct, considering that until recently, there were daily cases of banditry and kidnapping in the state, and of course, cattle rustling.
We therefore commend the state governor and the committee for the job they are doing to bring peace back to the state, and urge them to take necessary steps to ensure a long lasting solution to the crisis. Without gainsaying, Zamfara State, though richly endowed with gold deposits, is amongst the poorest in the country, and to allow large-scale banditry in the state can only further drag the state backwards. Again, the mainstay of the state is agriculture, and without peace and free movement of people, it cannot thrive.
We therefore urge the Federal Government to support the peace efforts by the state government, and reconsider its stance on the establishment of state police. After all, it is the Federal Government that controls all security agencies, and as such, has the primary responsibility to ensure maintenance of peace and order. Indeed, it was out of helplessness that the former Governor Yari offered to give up his responsibility as chief security officer.