Politicians Should Collaborate To Resolve Banditry In Zamfara, Says Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi

Politicians Should Collaborate To Resolve Banditry In Zamfara, Says Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi

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The executive Director of Patriots for Advancement of Peace and Social Development, Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi has called on Political leaders to put politics aside and collaborate to put an end to the issue of banditry and kidnappings in the Northern part of Nigeria, especially in Zamfara State

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, Shinkafi decried that the surge of killings, banditry, and kidnapping for ransom in Zamfara State has reached alarming levels, with innocent citizens being displaced from their communities.

“The arm banditry in Zamfara state has some political affiliations. Banditry started in Zamfara state over 13 years ago and politicians have been using banditry as a tool to get votes during the election campaigns. Politicians should keep politics aside and join hands together to resolve the situation in Zamfara state.

“There is a need for political leaders, religious leaders and traditional rulers to come together to proffer this home-grown solution I am suggesting. Visiting the president by the governor is something we have seen in the previous administrations. Let them keep politics aside. In 2015, they used banditry to campaign, they did it in 2019 and this past 2023 is the worst”

He stated that the payment of ransom by victims has become a criminal enterprise for the bandits, funding the acquisition of arms and ammunition to sustain their reign of terror.

“The spike of killings, banditry and kidnapping for ransom and displacing of innocent citizens from their communities is highly alarming and that there has been a tremendous escalation, especially in Zamfara state and Zamfara is the hotbed and epic center of banditry and safe haven for bandits in the Northwest. Looking at the fact that Zamfara state shares a boundary with Niger Republic, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Kaduna State respectively. This is what gave birth to the escalation of kidnapping for ransom on a daily basis.

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“So, the kidnapping for ransom has become a chronic enterprise for the kidnappers. The payment of the ransom by the kidnapped victims on a regular basis is what is sustaining the criminal enterprise and that is the money they are using also to buy arms and ammunition to continue unleashing mayhem and continuing the business. Looking at what is happening in Zamfara, the state is no longer safe, it is under siege and if care is not taken, it will be ungovernable because these are armed bandits.”

Emphasizing that the present military personnel in Zamfara are under-trained, leading to the destruction of military assets by the bandits, he emphasized the need for a more robust military presence.

“The military personnel present in Zamfara state are over-stretched, under-trained and under-equipped. Many military APC carrier vehicles were burnt down by these bandits, and these were gun trucks.

“There is a need for heavy military presence and so the governor should look for and proffer home grown solutions. The governor should meet with the community leaders, traditional rulers. He has to keep the politics aside and even some political and religious leaders so that he can explore home grown solutions in Zamfara State.”

Addressing unemployment, corruption and lack of education as root causes, Shinkafi said it is time for leaders to prioritize the welfare of their constituents over political expediency.

He also opined that the existing community protection guards are limited in their capacity and by their lack of authority to bear arms.

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“The primary responsibility of every government is to provide security and welfare for the people. With the escalation of this banditry, people are being denied their constitutional rights to live and they have turned slaves in their own country and have been denied their birthrights by the activities of the bandits.

“The issue of the community protection guard, they are not well rained like a regular military personnel. The community protection guard are established by the government to complement the conventional security personnels in checkmating the activities of these armed bandits. The community protection guards have a limitation and they have no right to bear arms.

“The major problem is poverty, unemployment, corruption and the lack of education. The activities of informants and the activities of unpatriotic security personnels have also contributed to the issue of banditry. Most of the bandits in the areas are indigenous, so there should be a political will to pursue and fight the banditry elements.”

Chioma Kalu

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