About 3,000 persons were killed in Zamfara State by bandits in the last two years, with over N1.2 billion paid as ransom to secure the release of residents abducted during the period.
This was disclosed by a former Senator Sa’idu Dansadau during a press conference in Abuja yesterday. He said the killings took place between June 2016 and June 2018.
He said 682 villages and towns were sacked by the bandits causing residents to flee to neighbouring states of Katsina and Kebbi. The former lawmaker said 2,706 farms were also destroyed, just as 13,838 cattle, and 11,088 sheep and goats were looted.
Reeling out the statistics of the banditry, Dansadau said of the 682 villages and towns destroyed and deserted, residents were only able to return to 374 of them because of the intensity of the crimes. He said the bandits during the period under review stole motorcycles totalling 2,244.
Dansadau, who urged President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of the residents of the state, said he arrived at these figures by multiplying the figures obtained from Dansadau state constituency by 22 other constituencies affected by banditry.
He said of the 25 state constituencies in Zamfara, only three had not suffered from similar or worse losses occasioned by the activities of the bandits.
During the briefing, the former senator provided documents containing the names and villages of people killed, names of people abducted and the ransom paid, as well the list of villages destroyed, at least that the Dansadau state constituency.
He urged former Head of State retired General Yakubu Gowon to lead other members of the Council of State to plead with President Buhari to declare an emergency rule in Zamfara state.
“Any remedial measure taken by the federal government short of declaring an emergency will not produce any positive result,” the former lawmaker said.
He said the military operation in Zamfara State is not yielding result because a section of the most senior functionaries of the Abdulaziz Yari-led government are “informants of the criminals.” Dansadau didn’t provide any evidence to back up this claim.
He said the fact that Governor Yari had since resigned as chief security officer of the state “depicts his incapacity, unsuitability, and impropriety to continue to function as governor and expect people of Zamfara State to be safe from the criminalities of these terrorists.”
The former lawmaker said he’s aware of the Supreme Court judgment that said the president can’t remove elected governors and their deputies excerpt as provided in Sections 143 and 144 and Sections 188 and 189 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We are not requesting President Buhari to remove Abdulaziz Yari from office by declaring state of emergency but to suspend all elected public officers in the stare for six months to enable Major General Abubakar Maikobi, the Force Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke II with operational Headquarters in Gusau, Zamfara State, consult widely in executing the military operation which Governor Yari refused to do “in spite of all entreaties from different quarters.”
In a letter addressed to Buhari, dated June 18, 2018, entitled “Re-request to take extraordinary measures in accordance with the constitution to halt the high level of mass killings in Zamfara State,” Dansadau said emergency rule in the state is inevitable because of Yari’s inability unlike his counterparts in Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger states “who brought the situation under control” in their states because of their proactive approach.
Daily Trust reports that this letter is a reminder to an earlier one with the same subject dated June 14, 2016, written to Buhari by Dansadau.
He said the governors of these states with borders with Zamfara substantially reduced the banditry in their states “they (governors) reside in and work from their states, consult with their elders, and traditional institutions.”
He, however, lamented that Zamfara’s situation “has gone out of control because the governor would do none of those things.” He said the inability of the police to safeguard the people of Zamfara may be linked to the “disconnect” between them and the governor “who is rarely in Zamfara to provide leadership as the chief security of the state.
The former lawmaker renewed his appeal to the president to “invoke his powers under Section 305 (3) (c) (d) and (f) & (5) of the Constitution and declare State of Emergency in Zamfara state to deal with the rampant, horrific, indiscriminate and daily killings and violations of innocent people of Zamfara by an emboldened band of criminals in order to restore normalcy.”
Dansadau part of Zamfara’s problems – Yari’s aide
Reacting to Dansadau’s comments last night by telephone, Governor Yari’s special adviser on public enlightenment, media, and communication, Malam Ibrahim Dosara, said: “the governor won’t join issues with him (Dansadau).”
He said already the governor has set up “a committee of elders to fish out anybody involved in banditry in whatever capacity – be it informant or bandit. It is good for Dansadau to go back to his emirate and give his advice.”
Dosara said for saying no action has been taken to end the killings, Dansadau “is unreasonable and irresponsible in his calls and utterances against both the federal and Zamfara states governments.”
On his call for emergency rule, the governor’s aide said removing officials democratically elected by people is not as easy as what Dansadau thinks it to be.”
He said Dansadau “is one of the people engineering the crisis in the state by sabotaging efforts geared towards ending the banditry, therefore he should be ashamed of challenging the federal and Zamfara state governments on the killings.”
Dosara said at one instance, the former lawmaker “led a team of an outlawed vigilante group, Yan Sakai, despite a clear order by the federal and state governments as well as security agencies banning their activities.”
He said as a result of the former lawmaker’s behaviour “over 200 people were killed at ‘Yar Galma village. Even when a committee of elders was set up, Dansadau shunned the committee and acted alone.”
The governor’s spokesperson said that instead of holding conferences in Abuja, Dansadau should return home and showcase his achievements to the people of the state if really, he needs Yari’s job in 2019.