Worried by the recent escalation of bandit attacks and kidnappings resulting in deaths and displacement of several communities in Zamfara State, the Democracy Watch Initiative (DWI) has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Zamfara State as the only remaining option.
Leading twenty-seven other Non-governmental-organizations, the DWI at a press conference read by its Spokesman, Sanusi Ali Mohammed, in Abuja said the call became necessary given the regrettably alarming deterioration of security situation in the State in the last two months.
The DWI noted that in spite of the previous the government’s efforts to curtail insecurity in Zamfara, the situation in the state has been steadily deteriorating with the state capital, Gusau, already on the verge of being completely overrun by bandits.
“We note that since June this year the audacious regularity of acts of violence perpetrated by the bandits and kidnappers who operate freely and at will have deteriorated with horrifying instances of women and children being raped, communities displaced, people kidnapped for ransom, citizens denied access to farmlands and many others, brutalized, traumatized and killed on a daily basis.
“Killers and other criminals appear to have sensed a paralysing vacuum at the highest levels of leadership in the State, hunger continues stalking millions of homes. Inflation is making life difficult by the day as eople are losing sources of livelihood.
“Even the State House of Assembly had expressed worries over the development, lamenting that it appears there is no government in the state owing to the disdainful way the bandits are having a field day in their killing spree,” the Group said.
It said that over 400 villages and communities are estimated as being controlled by the ravaging bandits in the state with the terrorists forming their own government in these areas and deciding what happens and what should be done.
“Without a doubt, Zamfara State has become a colony of banditry in the whole country with the rate of merciless killings, kidnappings, and rape becoming very uncontrollable.
“Records have clearly indicated that there are thousands of widows and orphans roaming the streets aimlessly due to banditry that killed their husbands and fathers, thereby increasing the volume of almajeris.
“By some specifics, in addition to the daily unrecorded incidences of attacks, four Policemen were Killed in an attack in Bungudu Local Government Area on July 10 and on 24 July, seven soldiers were reported killed as bandits attacked Kangon Garacce, in Dangulbi community of Maru Local Government Area,” it said.
Almost around the same time, DWI said, bandits attacked communities in Maradun Local Government Area where they killed many locals and abducted no fewer than 30 girls.
“This was as 31 villagers were killed by bandits in Janbako and Sakida villages, Maradun Local Government Area the following weekend. And just last Thursday armed Bandits abducted twenty five persons in Boko village in Zurmi local government area including twenty four women and one male adult. The women were abducted in their homes when the armed bandits invaded the Community,” DWI said.
The Group noted also that several thousands of fellow Zamfara citizens are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands of orphans, hunger and malnourishment, previously unknown, are now becoming alarming features of existence.
“Villages are being emptied as hundreds of people, due to constant attacks, are relocating to the already congested urban areas of the state and deepening poverty. Just on Monday morning, the bandits freely moved through farms to attack a police station in Bungudu, killing a policeman just as they simultaneously attacked Kwatar village killing scores as reported by many media outlets.
“A few weeks earlier, some policemen were killed close to Bungudu and a few days later, some innocent citizens were reportedly killed at Boko village in Zurmi local government, the same situation in Mada, Wonaka, Ruwan Bore.
“Also in Bukkuyum and Anka, the wave of insecurity is blowing all over the state and the PDP-led government under Dauda Lawal is doing nothing but lamentation which is a sign of failure on the side of the government,” the Group said.
The DWI condemned what it called, the way and manner the Governor Dauda Lawal-led administration is handling security issues in the state allowing killing of innocent citizens to become rampant with violent terrorists now in the state capital, Gusau.
“We call for the immediate proclamation of a state of emergency in Zamfara State because the people have shed enough tears and blood in the last two months without an appropriate response from a state government that appears to be helpless in the face of this mounting security crisis.
“We call the attention of the Federal Government to the reality that only the declaration of a state of emergency can assure the people of Zamfara that they have not been abandoned at the mercy of a rampaging banditry and kidnappings by a state government that has resigned itself to live with rapists and murderers,” the Group said.
It emphatically stated that only the declaration of a state of emergency can free the people from the stranglehold of the bandits and criminals who have understood that weak political will and total incapacity on the part of the current administration have weakened the resolve to fight them.
“By his show of insensitivity and indifference to the plight of the people that trusted him to lead them, Governor Lawal Dare has inadvertently acquired the reputation of being the worst in the history of Zamfara State in terms of any capacity to generate confidence in achieving credible goals.
Reminding Governor Dare that the people of Zamfara will at the fullness of time, tally up the days he spends outside the country or in Abuja, or how many months they went without salaries and pensions, and how many young people graduated into crimes and drugs during his tenure, DWI urged President Tinubu the security forces to fight the escalating security challenges in Zamfara State with resolve and awareness of their obligations under the law, as well as the knowledge that victory will only be pronounced when the nation achieves full cessation of hostilities, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in Zamfara and the entire northern region.
“With security, Zamfara can feed itself and feed the rest of Nigeria. But when cost of inputs become prohibitive, threats to lives limit productive capacities, herds are stolen or limited by weak government responses and damaging political interests, the economy of this otherwise productive segment of the country suffers,” the Group said.