ZAMFARA AND THE RECURRENCE OF TERROR
In a matter of few years, terrorism has had a far-reaching and frankly devastating impact on Nigeria as a country. Lives have been cut short while many livelihoods have been obliterated as terrorism has continued to evolve in the challenge it poses to Nigeria as a country.
Even before Boko Haram upped their game in 2009, the rumbles were considerable. The fact that in spite of the signs which were out there for a long time, Nigeria did not rally to put in place measures to counteract something that was more than capable of becoming an existential threat, was telling of the crop of leaders Nigeria had had until that time and since then.
Every part of Nigeria has been affected by what has been a metamorphosis of terror. The fear and the fatalities have been widespread even if not evenly distributed.
While in the beginning, Borno State was its base, Boko Haram soon spread its terrorist tentacles to other states of the northeast and even the northwest. But the deleterious effects of Boko Haram’s activities did not stop there. In fact, it is fair to say that the constant attacks on Nigeria’s security architecture by Boko Haram sowed the seeds of other forms of terrorism of which banditry is quickly proving to be the most destructive.
For Zamfara State, the last few years have been a study in horror. Relentless attacks on the long-suffering people of the agrarian state by bandits have pushed many in a state which was historically one of Nigeria’s poorest and least developed states to the edge.
People have been attacked, their bodies torn apart and their farms and houses razed. Many, especially women, have been abducted and forced into unspeakable forms of slavery. As the authorities have withered in the face of the terrorist onslaught, terror kingpins have been conferred with chieftaincy titles, and effectively handed over the control of vast swathes of one of Nigeria’s most iconic states.
Matters got to a head sometime this year when faced with the danger of annihilation, the Zamfara State Governor asked the people of the state to defend themselves. That injunction whipped up a ruckus. But it was not quite like the tantrum the government threw when some media organizations in a display of defiant courage aired a harrowing documentary titled ‘ The bandit warlords of Zamfara’ which was put together for the BBC by Yusuf Anka.
The documentary drew hefty fines for the media organizations but sufficiently informed and horrified Nigerians about the carnage going on in the state.
Many months later, in the face of the attacks which have continued in Zamfara State, imperiling even the 2023 general elections, the fines imposed on the media organizations by the National Broadcast Commission, which came after the ministry of information described the documentary as ‘a glorification of terrorism’ seem laughable and even utterly farcical. If anything, the attacks have been unrelenting.
On Sunday November 20, 2022, more than a hundred Nigerians were abducted in Zurmi and Maradun local government areas of the state to continue a string of kidnappings that have rocked the state in recent times.
The security situation of the state is indeed dire as it appears that people cannot stay in their homes or go about their daily activities without fearing for their lives and limbs.
This has become a recurrent challenge and if those Nigerians who live outside Zamfara State can strain enough, they may just hear the long-suffering men, women and children of Zamfara State questioning their place in the increasingly fragile project called Nigeria.
Kene Obiezu, @keneobiezu