Jabir is an indigene of Zamfara. He lives in Kaduna and recently had engagements in Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto. For a horrifying reason associated with Zamfara – the state that will link him to Kebbi and Sokoto, Jabir could not embark on his journey. What was his reason? Fear. The fear of the unknown. The fear of being kidnapped in his beloved state. The fear of being robbed or killed on his way. The fear of hearing awful stories from citizens of the state. Fear and trepidation wrapped Jabir whenever he spared a thought of travelling for his pressing engagements. Jabir gave up; his conclusion was the journey by road was suicidal.
How did we get to this level? Indigenes fearful of visiting their hometowns because of serious security challenges? Zamfara is amongst the poorest states in Nigeria. The state has lacked the sort of leadership that will steer it in the right direction. Past leaders have made little or no effort towards the growth and development of the state. And things have really been tough for people in the state.
Daily Trust of 30th March 2019 reported some scary figures associated with the insecurity in Zamfara as confirmed by the Executive Secretary of Zamfara Emergency Management Agency. The figures are 38 deserted communities, 31,402 displaced persons; also, from December 2018 to March 2019 up to 408 people have been killed, 126 injured and 227 kidnapped. I am not surprised that some residents have resorted to the possession of arms and amulets for self defence.
Zamfara is currently grappling with a number of challenges, such as unemployment, poverty, poor infrastructure, among others. All these are being compounded by the rising security challenge in the state. These have manifested in the form of farmer/herder clashes, banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping. The ones we call bandits do not just live by plundering. They kill, maim and rape. They torch and raze villages. What joy do they derive in inflicting pain on their fellow human beings? Is there any satisfaction in killing or making people homeless? The agenda of the criminals is to make life difficult for Nigerians.
These criminals have succeeded in creating a state of disarray. They have caused so much pain and panic in Zamfara. Families have fled their bases to avoid night attacks. The people sleep with one eye closed. The once peaceful north western state is now a danger zone. There is so much apprehension, anguish and anger in the land. Having seen how bad things are, it is a no brainer to declare these criminals as enemies of the state. With all due respect to the efforts put by security agents, they can only be applauded when things improve.
Solving the security problem requires a multifaceted approach. This should involve initiatives for poverty alleviation and human capital development. This can be done in addition to strategic security decisions and actions that are holistic and methodical. Taking care of security and welfare is the basic responsibility of governments. Regrettably, neither the state nor federal government has done well for Zamfara in this aspect. It is high time government responded better. Under this dispensation Zamfarawa are more impoverished and troubled despite always aligning with Muhammadu Buhari.
In politics consolidating a base is essential. The people of Zamfara have consistently supported Buhari throughout his political career. Despite being in this dilemma, Zamfara voted for Buhari during the 2019 polls. One would assume that Buhari will take a swift approach to come to the aid of his fellow citizens. Especially his “day one fellas”. Sadly, it seems PMB has been inconsiderate to the predicaments of these people. Women are raped, men are lynched and children are orphaned. Still Buhari finds it difficult to visit Zamfara or send condolence messages.
All it takes to release condolence message are mobile data/network and electricity. Are these missing in the Villa? President Buhari should take a cue from prime minister of New Zealand. A non-Muslim went to the mosque and killed Muslims. She denied the perpetrator the notoriety he sought. She visited the bereaved and victims, making sure she respected the victims’ culture by wearing scarfs during the mourning period. She used the Muslim standard way of greeting “Salaam” in all press statements and communications.
Immediately it happened she swung into action by ensuring that her government changed the poor gun laws that led to the killings of innocent Muslim worshippers. This is how a leader should act. Lest I forget, she is a non-Muslim and did not discriminate.
This same PMB administration deployed a DIG, an AIG and two CPs for a re-run election in Kano State to make sure they delivered the state. At no point did they ever send these high level security chiefs to Zamfara to aid with securing the lives of innocent Zamfarawa against the senseless blood suckers. Do they really care about the safety and lives of innocent people? Are they really working for the people?
We now hear that the operation Harbin Kunama is to continue and the police are also making efforts.
The kneejerk approach is happening due to pressure from citizens in Nigeria and abroad urging PMB to #EndTheZamfaraKillings via the massive protests.
–– Khalifa Musa Muhammad, Kaduna