•50 killed in fresh attacks on Zamfara communities
•Arewa youths protest over incessant killings
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The abduction of the District Head of Daura, Alhaji Musa Umar, who is also the husband of President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece, Hajiya Bilki, has shown that security agencies are not giving any town, including the president’s, preferential treatment, the presidency said yesterday.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, stated this in an interview on Kakaaki, a breakfast television programme of African Independent Television (AIT).
He said: “Well, that has happened but I think that brings the message home that it is a national problem and that because the President comes from Daura, is not to say there cannot be crime in Daura or Daura will be specially treated.
“The Army said two days ago that there are clear pointers that these problems are beyond criminality.”
Shehu, however, scored the Buhari administration 98 per cent in the fight against insurgency.
He said: “If you ask me about the biggest security (challenge) we met on the ground, it is Boko Haram terrorism and I will score this administration 98 per cent coming this far because Boko Haram is now confined to the fringes of Lake Chad. As a matter of fact, they jump in and out and mainly occupy communities that have not been re-occupied by their owner.”
Responding to a report by the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu’s, claim that 1,071 persons lost their lives in crime-related cases across the country in the first quarter of 2019, Shehu said despite the recent spike in killings, banditry and kidnapping, the statistics was still better than that of the previous administration.
Shehu said although he would not want to compare figures, the facts remain sacred.
He said: “Yes, there has been a recent spike (in attacks) but this is not to suggest that this has never happened in the country and they are beginning just now because President Buhari is out of the country.
“You mentioned the numbers but I want to say from our own point of view in the presidency, we have avoided comparing numbers because it will lead to the same criticisms that some people have made of being insensitive because even if it is one life of a Nigerian that is lost, it is important, it cannot be justified, it cannot be defended.
“But anybody who takes the trouble to check the presidential website; at some point, Femi (Adesina) had done the numbers and the staggering numbers put on display coming from the past are nothing comparable to these numbers but we will not take it lightly.”
50 Killed in Fresh Attacks on Zamfara Communities
Bandits at the weekend attacked some communities in Zamfara State, killing more than 50 people and injuring 31.
The attackers invaded communities under Dangurgu, Kunkilai, Birnin Magaji, in Maru, Gusau and Birnin Magaji Local Government Areas of Zamfara State.
The bandits on Saturday morning, according to a reliable source, unleashed their terror on Kunkilai village when villagers were attending a naming ceremony.
The bandits armed with sophisticated weapons started shooting sporadically immediately they stormed the community, killing 31 and wounding six in the process.
The wounded persons are said to be currently receiving treatment in Dansadau General Hospital.
The attack, according to a source, went unchallenged before the bandits went back to the forest they came from, adding that no security operatives came to their rescue until after the attack had ended.
When contacted the State Police Public Relation Officer, Mr. Muhammed Shehu, however, confirmed the attack and disclosed that only 10 persons were killed.
Also, armed bandits on Friday stormed a village in Magami District, Gusau Local Government Area of the state, killing about 20 people while about 15 sustained injuries and sacking more than 20 communities.
Four military personnel sustained various injuries as soldiers engaged the bandits who were said to have invaded the community in motorcycles around 10 a.m.
Confirming the attack, Acting Director, Force Information, Operation Sharan Daji, Major Clement Abiade, disclosed that the four soldiers who sustained injuries were quickly evacuated and taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Gusau for treatment.
He said soldiers successfully repelled an ambush by bandits on their way to defend the community under attack.
Meanwhile, five people were also killed in bandits’ reprisal over the killing of their six leaders by a mob on Saturday.
Six leaders of the bandits who went to the hometown of Nigeria’s Defence Minister, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan Ali to negotiate with the villagers over cows they claimed belong to them, were killed in the process.
Arewa Youths Protest over Incessant Killings
Following the attacks on the state, Arewa Youths Federation yesterday held a peaceful protest over alleged incessant killings by bandits in the state.
The peaceful rally was held in Gusau the capital of Zamfara.
The President Arewa Youths Federation, Mr. Adamu Matazu, said the protest was to highlight the level of insecurity in Zamfara and the entire North-west zone, so as to elicit positive action to contain it.
Matazu said: “This breach is now extending from killings to targeted abductions that are intended to be high-profile; these crimes are also beginning to spill into neighbouring states.
“In spite of the well intended steps so far taken by the federal government and implemented in part by the nation’s security and military services, the situation remained unabated.
“This has confirmed our earlier fears that the criminality is orchestrated by political elites and traditional rulers in some parts of the country.
“The crux of the matter is that these elites are operating illegal gold mines….knowing fully well that the practices violate local and federal laws.
“They are also aware that their activities which thankfully have been stopped by the federal government are detrimental to the state economically, environmentally, security-wise and socially.
“The Arewa Youths Federation hereby calls for an end to killings in Zamfara and the whole of the North West Nigeria.”
APC Expresses Worry over Spate of Kidnapping, Banditry
Meanwhile, the ruling APC has described the cases of kidnappings, banditry and ethno-religious crisis in the country as a source of concern.
The party advised Nigerians to avoid divisive messages and actions.
In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu, the party said President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to relevant security services to deal with these security threats and bring back normalcy to the affected areas.
It said: “The cases of kidnappings, banditry, ethno-religious and resource-fuelled crises and other violent crimes recorded in some parts of the country are undoubtedly serious sources of concern. While the President Buhari administration is adopting multifaceted approach to permanently tackle the conflicts and crimes, the president has equally given marching orders to relevant security services to deal with these security threats and bring back normalcy to the affected areas.
In the message marking the commencement of this year’s Ramadan fasting, APC urged Muslims to use the holy month to pray for the peace, security and development of our dear country.”
According to APC, the President Buhari-led APC administration has laid a solid foundation for national development, peace and progress.
The party said the result is apparent in the “strengthened economy, improved electioneering, refocused value system, waning corruption, social investments, massive infrastructure drive, better standing and influence in the comity of nations, in line with the promises contained in our Change Agenda for Nigerians”.
It said: “We are set to consolidate on work done so far and do more as we gear up for the Next Level of our renewed mandate.
It said Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement, sacrifice and increased devotion and worship.
In the statement, APC implored Muslims to follow and apply the teachings of Islam in our relationship with our neighbours- Muslims and non-Muslims, adding that they should remember and cater for the less-privileged in our midst, stay humble and abstain from all bad deeds.
“It is our inalienable right as humans to safely go about our daily activities and to live in peaceful coexistence with our neighbours. Hence, in our places of worship, educational institutions, socio-political gatherings, markets, social media and all other public spaces, we must resist divisive agents and their equally divisive messages and actions.
“We must report to relevant authorities agents of destruction who disguise as ethnic or religious champions to achieve their diabolic, selfish and heinous agenda by exploiting our perceived differences,” it said.