Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State in North-Western Nigeria, has foreclosed the possibility of any fresh peace deal with the killing ring that is terrorising the state.
This is even in spite of the fact that the blood spillers, according to the governor, are more equipped than the entire armed security forces deployed to combat their bloodletting activities.
According to him, the killers have stockpiled as much as 500 AK-47 rifles in only one armoury. Arguably, if the state government knows all that, what is preventing them from containing the rebels murdering the peace of the state?
Yari who spoke after holding a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, claimed that the stockpiling of such a volume of killer weapons became an open secret when a team comprising some people in the state met with them during a dialogue session involving the Department of State Services (DSS), the Army and Police recently.
Last December ending, the Coalition on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights in Nigeria (CCRHRN) released a report on killings in the troubled Sharia state.
The group said they conducted a preliminary investigation into the anti-bandit protests held by youths in parts of the state following reports that the rights of citizens have been violated.
CCRHRN Executive Director, Maxwell Gowon, while presenting the report said findings have shown that the protesters were legitimately expressing their grievances against perceived lack of action against bandits that have been killing people in some parts of the state, noting that the protests were hijacked in some instances by hoodlums that specifically recruited for that purpose by some political players.
According to Gowon, ‘’property were destroyed and some people injured by the hoodlums. They then tried to shift the blame for this destruction on the responding security agencies that were drafted to the scenes to maintain order.
‘’The military was deployed to contain the situation when the protests became unruly and violent beyond what the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) could manage.
‘’The military, with other responding security agencies, managed the protests consistent with the recognized rules of engagement. There was no evidence that the military massacred, brutalized or indiscriminately arrested protesters.
‘’The reports carried by some sites, on large scale extra-judicial killings, were not reflected in the mainstream and legacy organisations. The content of such reports did not stand up to scrutiny and were totally at variance with the accounts given my respondent. The Federal Government should review existing conflict zones in the country and properly identified the ones that warrant the deployment of military personnel.
‘’That matters that are deemed as falling within jurisdiction of the Police should be so assigned in order to minimise the distractions to troops from the military being deployed to deal with what the police should is able to deal with in other climes. The Federal Government should urgently investigate the identities of those facilitating the bandits’ attacks. It must also those unmask the identities of those that hijacked the protests.’’
Until 1996 Zamfara was part of Sokoto State. This bleeding state is populated with the Hausa and Fulani peoples. Major groups of people are the Zamfarawa, Anka, Gummi, Bukkuyum and Talata Mafara Local Governments areas.
Gobirawa populated Shinkafi Local Government. Gobirawa actually migrated from the Gobir Kingdom. Burmawa are found in Bakura and Fulani peopled Bungudu, Maradun, Gusau and are scattered all over the State. In Tsafe, Bungudu and Maru Local Governments are mainly Katsinawa, Garewatawa and Hadejawa. While Alibawa peopled Kaura Namoda and Zurmi.
The peoples of Zamfara have over the years struggled for autonomy. It was not until 1996 that the then military administration of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha detached the state from Sokoto.
With an area of 38,418 square kilometres, it is bordered in the North by Niger Republic, to the South by Kaduna State. In the East, it is bordered by Katsina State, President Buhari’s home state, and to the West by Sokoto and Niger States. It has a population of 3,278,873 according to the 2006 census and contains 14 local government areas.
Meanwhile, the embattled Governor Yari has ruled out the possibility of his All Progressives Congress (APC) administration dialoguing with the killing ring, claiming that he tried such thrice but failed.
Yari who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum said when his administration offered to grant the killers amnesty so that they could surrender their arms, they declined, pointing out that the dialogue was at the instance of the blood spillers because it is easy to fish them out during the dry season as against the rainy season when the forest would have been overgrown with plants.