THE AGONY OF ZAMFARA
Kene Obiezu writes that the experience of one of Nigeria`s backwater states has been one of malignant terrorism
Like a cancerous cell, terror has continued to metastasize in Nigeria to leave the Giant of Africa precipitously perched on the edge of a cliff. For what is to be said of a country where the poorest citizens have been left at the mercy of ravenous beasts? What words can be used to sufficiently parameterize the plight that plagues a country where vulnerable communities have been left at the mercy of gun- crazy and drug-drenched terrorists?
Can such a country still be said to have a government? If there indeed remains any detritus of governance in such a country`s corridors of power, isn’t there an urgent need to sweep clean such Augean stables and free them of walking corpses so that a clean slate can be given to those who do not wish to remain stuck in a sorry past?
For years now, each time Zamfara State in Northwest Nigeria has thought it had witnessed the zenith of terrorist attacks, a new dimension has been quickly added to the deadly mix. The experience of one of Nigeria`s backwater states in the last few years has been one of malignant terrorism. Students have been abducted from their schools, women have been raped, countless people have been slaughtered and many homes and farms burnt to the ground. In all these, both the Zamfara State government and the federal government have appeared clueless at best and helpless at worst.
Sensing the confusion chopping up critical decision making at the highest levels, the terrorists have quickly set up quasi governments in some areas of Zamfara State. The iron fist which they have brought on so far appears only a tip of the iceberg on what they will do were they to acquire more territory and power.
As surely as the day follows the night, killings have followed killings in Zamfara in recent weeks. About two weeks ago, 48 persons were reportedly killed in three communities of Sabon Gari Damri, Damri and Kalahe in Bakura Local Government Area of the State. A few days ago, terrorists again attacked Kwan-doka, Gidan kada and Kaura-dawa communities of Gusau Local Government Area of the State where they killed about seven persons. Their audacity also saw them move from house to house, searching for valuable food items as well as carting away animals and food items. The animals rustled included camels.
Also at about May 15, 2022, in Faru village of Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, seven persons who had defied the stern warning of the terrorists not to go to their farms were denied the right to life as they were slaughtered by the terrorists.
The attacks that convulse Zamfara State practically every week show just how much terrorism has upended Nigerian lives perhaps irreversibly. Every week, all over the country, Nigerians, including security personnel, are killed to compound the country`s insecurity crises. Wherever one turns, death lurks in the shadows.
Asking poor innocent villagers whose only means of livelihood is farming not to farm is akin to death. To rustle the domestic animals of people who count animal husbandry, a type of farming, as their means of livelihood is to cruelly leave those already on the breadlines without as much as bread crumbs. While this goes on, the authorities stand by as helplessly as those directly caught in the cycle of violence.
For a while now, there have been reports that having had its fill of death and destruction in Nigeria`s Northeast region, the charabanc of terror was steadily making its way to the Northwest region with Zamfara and Kaduna facing its backlash. With the violence that has
steadily gripped both states for some time now, those reports would appear confirmed.
Nigeria`s security architecture has been slowly disintegrating for a while now. The slow disintegration has emboldened criminals who were hitherto crawling in the shadows to come out of their hiding and launch attack after attack on innocent Nigerians. Events in Anambra State in the last few months painfully captures this reality.
With an administration that has been mostly clueless about how to handle Nigeria`s multifaced challenges set to leave office next year, the heavy sigh of relief Nigerians are preparing to heave must be preceded by the collective demand that those who will lead Nigeria as from next year at various levels must show that they have the credentials to combating the corrosive insecurity eating up Nigeria.
Nigerians can accept no less especially seeing that those who first pledged to combat insecurity and corruption in 2015, rinsed and repeated the pledge in 2019, have joined vulnerable Nigerians to scamper for safety from terrorists after ladling out pardons to convicted thieves.