There comes a time that community leaders or in this case, Zamfara leadership of all persuasions should stand up, and that time is now.

The deaths regularly recorded, if not daily recorded have become a crying shame to both man and God. Like we pointed out previously, what we have in Zamfara presently is no longer “banditry” but plain and obvious insurgency. The fact that Nigeria can be confronted with such bloody festival in 2019 tells the story of failures at all levels and its been long in coming. What is happening in Zamfara is also a pointer to the complete breakdown of societal order, ethos and communalism. Times have changed yet we keep reminiscing of a past gone by.  Merely remembering how peaceful we used to be isn’t a solution to the complex security challenge we are dealing with now. We need to think deeper.

For the purposes of emphasis, no matter how far we want to run away from it or how pretentious we have become or how cynical our debate may sound, corruption and impunity is the root-cause of the problem in that state. Corruption will breed bad leadership, poverty, divisions, and moral morass.  In Zamfara, what is going on there isn’t governance and at this point, it is clear that something drastic will have to happen before the entire North western region is engulfed in insurgency as bits of it have crept into Sokoto, Katsina and Niger states. Some commentators suggested that state of emergency be declared in the state with the hope that the governor is removed and the military takes over completely, we forget that the Supreme Court has ruled on this matter in the past. The president has no powers to remove a governor.

As a result of the continued killings in the state, over the weekend some Abuja-based natives of  Zamfara State embarked on a peaceful protest to the Presidential Villa in the FCT, calling for an immediate end to the current wave of killings and kidnappings in the state. The angry natives stated that the state of insecurity in the state has resulted in apprehension, displacements of communities and loss of lives. The convener of the protest, Fatimah Mustapha said that their action was to call the attention of government to the gruesome killings and cases of kidnappings going at home. According to her, perpetrators of these evil acts are getting bolder day by day with little action taken by the authorities to arrest the situation and stop the act. She alleged that the government of Zamfara was not doing anything to arrest the situation hence the protest in the nation’s capital, Abuja, the seat of government.

Also speaking, journalist Kadaria Ahmed, who participated in the protest, urged the President to direct security personnel to rise to the situation. “We have the challenge of security situation all over the country, but that of Zamfara is clearly bad. We are tired of mass burial and that is why we are calling on PMB to intervene. Nobody is talking of these killings now among our leaders, and this is apparently disgusting. This issue involves lives and people deserve to be safe wherever they live in this country,” she said.

Aliyu Dansado, another native, said the killings and kidnapping had affected farming activities in the state, adding that he was unable to go to his farms for some time because of fear.

“Government should rise up to action to end the killing and kidnapping, we have been paying ransom to kidnappers for the past five years now, people are killed on daily basis, government needs to do something now,” he said.

On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari has maintained that security of lives and property are critical matters that dominate his mind.

“There is no issue that dominates my mind every 24 hours like security because, as an elected President, protecting the citizens of my country is one of the primary functions of my administration, he said. He asked communities where banditry is active to support and cooperate with the security agencies, particularly the recently launched Operation Puff Adder to battle bandits and kidnappers. The President said it was regrettable that bandits have informants within some communities and utterly reprehensible that certain communities have signed protection deals with bandits at the expense of other communities, thereby creating complications and frustrating government’s intervention.

Going forward, we hope that Abuja together with other stakeholders should open an engagement forum. The crisis in Zamfara has gone beyond just arms and ammunition. Security summit, special envoy and regular engagement at the community level will help stem the tide.