Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and Zamfara State’s Chief Executive, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari, is a sorely disappointed and frustrated man at the security situation in his State and the poor handling by relevant agencies in his domain
In addition, he feels let down that the present administration he worked hard to install in Abuja has a poorer record of securing his State than its predecessor.
It was initially thought that 18 lives were lost in Birani village of Zurmi Local Government Area last Wednesday, but latest figures show more.
According to Zamfara Police spokesman, Mohammed Shehu, it was a clash between hunters and herders. A herder was allegedly caught with animals believed to have been stolen.
His words: “The herder abandoned the animals and escaped into the bush. Unknown to the hunters, the cattle rustler went to Isah LGA of Sokoto State and mobilised bandits to attack the hunters.
“Police, military and other sister agencies, who reacted by combing the bush and its environs to salvage the situation discovered 18 dead bodies. While it is believed that the bandits took away their own persons that were killed.”
Overwhelmed by the loss of 39 lives in the hands of marauding bandits Yari said in Zurmi when he visited the Emir in the company of four other northern Governors on Friday: “I feel let down facing the people of this state whenever I remember the promise I made to them that when they elect President Muhammadu Buhari into power, these killings will end. But unfortunately, things are now getting worse.
“As such, I urge you security agencies to up the ante so as not to lose this war. If you let us take issues on our hands, anarchy will reign which is not what we hope us.
“On this particular incidence, we had intelligence reports 24 hours before it happened that the bandits were grouping and ready to attack. I alerted the security agencies but unfortunately they sent inadequate personnel to confront these people from where they came from.”
Yari caustic comments is becoming a recurring decimal among Governors, especially in the north, where local measures cannot withstand the fire-power of herders and bandits.
Emir of Zurmi also told of the bravery of vigilance groups that reduced the loss of lives among his subjects.
According to the Emir, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar: “They came on 200 motorcycles with three persons on each bike. Each of them was well-armed. We stationed 500 vigilante members who stood their ground and gallantly fought the bandits.
Unfortunately, these same bandits turned their anger on travelers and other villagers on their way here, that was why we had 39 people killed.
“These terrorists are known to us. Their major hideout is in a village called Kagara, very close to Bafarawa in Sokoto State, and a few kilometers from Shinkafi in Zamfara State. But despite several appeal to security agencies to storm the area, our appeals have failed.
“I need to state here that majority of weapons used by bad people in this country are brought in from this area. I had reason to personally inform Zamfara State Director of SSS sometimes back of a large cache of weapons being brought into the country but no concrete action was taken until the containers were moved away.
“I am happy that other Northern Governors are here because we believe the solution to this problem lies in cooperation among all of you.
“I don’t need to repeat here that we need a full battalion of soldiers here and in areas surrounding Maru, Maradun, Shinkafi and Zurmi LGAs.”
Earlier on Friday, President Buhari had ordered his Defence Minister to proceed to the area and find a solution to the menace.
Like Yari, the Emir fears that a resort to self help could lead to anarchy.