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NlIGERIAN INSECURITY MORE DEADLY THAN COVID-19 PANDEMIC: ZAMFARA COMMISSIONER

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Alh Abubakar Abdullahi (Doctor) is a Commissioner for Rural Development and Cooperative in Zamfara and also one of the strong political ally of Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa. He hails from Chafe, one of the local governments recently facing serial attacks from suspected armed bandits. Just few days ago, five communities in his local government were invaded and about 15 people were killed while hundreds were forced out of their homes and are currently taking refuge at neigbouring villages. In this interview with Anas Sani Anka  from Thunder Blowers news medium, he shares some perspectives on how to end the deadly bandit attacks in Zamfara and its neighboring states

What are your views on the Resurgence of Armed Banditry in Zamfara?
For me what is happening in Zamfara state especially in my own area where I am representing is actually a source of concern. Our experience in Chafe over the recent times is the resurgence of some cases of armed banditry attacks even after the relative peace enjoyed by the people of the state after the second peace deal was instituted. 
To the best of my knowledge, the state government has done its own part by providing all the needed support to the security agencies for them to carry out their operations but from the look of things the system is not working.
What actually happened at Chafe in recent days?
I am sure you have heard about series of attacks along Bilbis town. Many communities along that area have been invaded by these armed bandits and scores of people are being killed and this situation is making people scary again.
Recently there was a mass attack at Anguwar Rogo and other neighboring villages around Chafe and it was believed to be a reprisal attack because some members of vigilante were alleged to have intercepted and killed some members of Fulani groups and that incident brought a very serious setback to the security management of the whole area.
As a Commissioner from that area, almost every, day we receive complaints of attack or attempt to attack in one place or the other and as leaders we are not happy with this development. I think I have to make this point very clear that, Federal government needs to sit up and review lts strategies to defeat these bandits before they crush us as a state.
Where do you think the problem lies?
I think significant portion of the blame goes to the federal government because as a state the Governor and everybody including traditional rulers are doing their best but the strategies in which the military and police are fighting this criminality have failed and the federal government need to come back to the drawing board. 
Of course we cannot dispute the fact that, there is a big problem with our people because among them there are those who decided to connive with these bandits and continue to inflict hardship on us by serving as informants to these bandits and this issue of informants is adding much burden in the effort to end this tragedy.
Recently the Mr. President issued a marching order for dust-to-down operation in Katsina State and I think this same order needs to be extended to Zamfara, Kaduna and Sokoto States. Zamfara people are dying because of banditry and the federal government needs to hear us for the purpose of ending this tragedy. I know the state government is very much ready to support any decision that will help bring an end to the insecurity in the state. But it is long overdue something needs to be done.
Why do you think the strategies have failed?

The strategies have failed because if you take a typical example of the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the federal government ordered for the total shut down of the country. And from the beginning of this pandemic to date, not up to 250 people have died of this virus but imagine what federal and state governments have expended to manage this pandemic situation.
If federal government can order for the total closure of business activities in Nigeria for close to thirty days because it wants to fight a pandemic that killed less than 250 people what about banditry that killed over 3000 people in Zamfara state alone?
Government need to be logical because the negative effect of covid-19 pandemic is not as bad as that of banditry activities especially among the people of the North. So, more pro-active measures need to be instituted to manage this conflict in states like Zamfara. 
But the state government has entered into another peace deal with these bandits, are you saying the peace deal has also failed?
For me it has not failed entirely because after it was institutionalized at least some relative peace have been enjoyed by Zamfara people and many bandits have repented but it seems we heading toward the olden days again because some of these bandits are back again in some communities of Zamfara, from the time the peace deal was formalized to date, there had been numerous reported cases of banditry attacks from one community to another. 
The state government has done its own part by providing all what was requested to end this menace but very unimaginable, people of Zamfara are still battling to contain the excesses of these bandits.
For me if the peace deal cannot work as plan, as an option, federal government should be more pro-active with conventional operation to end this tragedy. 
If the first and second attempt to reconcile with this people has failed, let us have more viable military action that will prove to them that government is actually a government.
What makes Zamfara security situation unique?
I will specifically blame the porous nature of our borders. If you take for example, in Chafe alone, the
re are between 6-7 exit routes these bandits use to escape military action whenever they invade communities in Zamfara. Again, these bandits understand the terrain more than the military and police and the terrain is not motorable. So the combination of these factors contributed to the complex nature of operation along Zamfara forests.
Are you impressed with the manner at which our national assembly members from Zamfara state are blowing the security situation in Zamfara state on the floor of the national assembly?
Not at all, in fact I was surprised that, even the N10 billion Senator Marafa fought to secure as an intervention for the victims of banditry in Zamfara state cannot be released for the purpose they were appropriated for and nobody from Zamfara representing us at the national assembly is talking or making effort to see this matter is fulfilled. We have senators, we have members of the federal house of representative but no one is talking for the benefit of Zamfara people. It is unfortunate.
If the Governor can be supported by these national assembly members, the story would have been different but I believe something within the system is not working and that is terribly bad.
Don’t you think the State Governor needs to lead another delegation to meet the President on this issue of insecurity in Zamfara State?
That may be another option but to be candid, when I was a Special Adviser to distinguished Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, we visited the President multiple of times regarding this Zamfara insecurity and I see us getting same result. In my own opinion federal government should simply review its strategies on this insecurity and unless something serious is done the problem will continue.
But like I said, the federal and state governments need to be ready to fight these insurgents just the way they collectively fought Covid-19 Pandemic. I think Corona Virus is a good lesson for all of us

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THREE FMR. GOVERNORS, MINISTERS, AND TOP APC POLITICIANS HEADS MATAWALLE APC CAMPAIGN COUNCIL

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Former Governor of Zamfara Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi and Ahmad Rufai Sani were among the prominent APC politicians that are to head the gubernatorial campaign council for the second term bid of Governor Bello Matawalle.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tijjani Yahaya Kaura and former Finance Minister Ambassador Bashir Yuguda are among the leaders of Zamfara APC gubernatorial campaign council.

The campaign council also has many former and serving senators, members of the Federal House of Representatives as well as serving and former ambassadors.

Abdulaziz Yari who is the Chairman of the Campaign Council has formally issued appointment letters to the hundreds of APC power brokers that are to work at the various campaign committees and subcommittees.

He charged the members of the campaign council to work harder and justify the confidence reposed on them by making sure that the Governor and indeed all the APC candidates are returned elected in the forthcoming 2023 election.

He also warned politicians and party supporters to shun political thuggery and conduct a campaign that violent free.
He further said his committee would not allow anybody to carry any kind of weapons except the security agencies that are mandated to do so.

He assured that the campaign council would conduct a hitch free campaign devoid of any thuggery activities.

Abdul Aziz Abubakar Yari appeals to the people of Zamfara state to ensure that APC candidates are massively given all the necessary votes to win election in 2023 general election.

He further charged the council members to redouble their efforts as the committee would work for the success of the party in the state.

He called on the other political parties in the state to emulate his committee by not allowing anybody, particularly the youth to carry dangerous weapons during their political campaign and charge security agencies not to spare anyone caught carrying weapons during the campaigns of the political parties in the state.

Also speaking during the occasion the director general of the campaign council who was a former Minister and Senator Alhaji Tijjani Yahaya kaura Namoda charge members to be vigilant and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibility as they have chosen based on merit; therefore they must lead APC to victory.

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ZAMFARA SEN. YAU INAUGURATES 2023 CAMPAIGN URGES CONSTITUENTS TO VOTE FOR TINUBU & ALL APC CANDIDATES

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The Senator representing Zamfara North Sahabi Alh Yau has inaugurate his 2023 campaign at Kaura Namoda local government area, the headquarters of the Senatorial zone.

The campaign inauguration was attended by hundreds of party supporters and well-wishers who joined the campaign rally with jubilation.

The Senator who expressed satisfaction with the effort he has put in place so far in delivering to his 2019 campaign promises assured that if provided the opportunity again, he will do more to consolidate from what he has done and ensure that more federal opportunities are brought to the door steps of his constituents.

He took time to make a review of his stewardship and thanked his constituents for given him the opportunity to represent them at the Nigeria’s upper chamber.

On the APC Presidential candidature, Sen. Yau in insisted that, Tinubu and Shetima Presidential candidature is the best option for Nigeria especially with the effort put in place by the Buhari led administration and why the gesture need to be sustained.

He urged people of his constituency to massively vote for Tunubu and Shatima as well as all the APC candidates across the board.

AFormer Governor Mahmuda Shinkafi, former Sen. Tijjani Yahaya and a host of other prominent personalities from the Zone attended the campaign Flag off.

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ZAMFARA: WHY ENGR SULEIMAN GUMMI’S DESPERATE TACTICS WON’T SAVE PDP

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OPINION ARTICLE

By

Yusuf Idris Gusau

—————————————————————

This is no doubt the best of times for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara State.

The party and its many candidates deserve the sympathy of all for the current situation it finds itself in.

Having lost all hopes of making any impact in the forthcoming general elections, it has resorted to untoward means, behaving like a bull in a china shop, destroying anything and everything in its way.

But how can a party of PDP’s standing, which has been in power at some points for many years and its candidates behave like deranged women whose kids have suddenly gone missing?

In this moment of madness, there should be a sane member within the lot who could rein them in; a rallying figure who could calm the fraying nerves.

But when a ranking member of one of the country’s highest law making body, the House of Representatives, Suleiman Abubakar Gummi’s joined the fray, it then becomes obvious that the situation is irredeemable.

The party, as it were, is doomed and at a dire point of no return.

The honourable member of the House of Representatives has swelled the number of the PDP’s attack dogs whose targets include the ruling party and the state chief executive, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle.

In a press statement he recently signed on behalf of “PDP candidates” titled “On critical national alert” Gummi went the “dishonourable” path by throwing decorum to the wind and lunched viral attacks on person and personality of Governor Matawalle with no iota of respect for his seat as the father of the state.

In doing so he deployed uncouth, crude and abusive language symptomatic of those low level maniacs unleashed at every opportunity as dogs of war.

But why will anyone be surprised at the action of this charlatan who forgot that his behavior could rob off on the integrity of the lower chamber he represents and taint the reputation of his colleagues in that reputable and respected institution? He is PDP member in the state after all and their stock in trade is to cause breach of peace in the state.

In the said press statement, Gummi went a rigmarole quoting the respected late social crusader, Martins Luther King and dancing around in circle.

From all his outing and vituperations, the only take away was the supposed arrest on Monday, November 28, of the party’s candidate for Zamfara central senatorial district, Alhaji Ikira Aliyu Bilbis by the police on charges of vandalism, which he claimed were trumped up.

In trying to elicit public sympathy to himself and co-travelers, he lumped the current issue with the earlier arrest of the Nigeria Union of Journalists chairman in the state but as usual, his effort failed to invoke the emotion and public outcry he had envisaged.

But let us even give him the benefit of the doubt and interrogate the issues his outing threw up. He has informed the public why Bilbis was arrested, but said the charges were “trumped up”. Really?

How did Gummi who is a lawmaker come about such a position over an issue that is before a court of law? Why is he in a hurry to clear the accused even before the court adjudicate on the matter.

The police even from Gummi’s statement did the needful by arresting Bilbis. They (police) did not hold him or keep him for long in their cell but charged him to court after their investigation.

The onus is therefore on the accused to exonerate and clear himself of the allegations.

The court even went ahead to grant him bail as Gummi testified in his statement. So why is it anybody’s fault if the accused failed to meet the bail condition? And because his associate failed to meet the stipulated condition to effect his release, Gummi is now accusing the judge and police of being tools in the hands of Matawalle in his alleged witch hunt of the opposition.

If a sitting governor is desirous in tackling an opponent who is clearly linked with a crime it would have been easy to clamp such person in police custody and claim that investigation is still ongoing as has been the case everywhere.

However, in this case, the police did not waste anytime in charging the accused to court where he is expected to defend himself. The court and its presiding judge should be commended for the expressway it granted the accused bail instead of being needlessly vilified like Gummi is doing.

His allegation that Matawalle was trying to muzzle the main opposition to whittle down their power and influence in the forthcoming elections is laughable because the PDP is not in reckoning and not a threat to APC in anyway.

He even went ahead to list those he thinks Matawalle will go after including the party’s governorship candidate, Lawal Dauda Dare. Waoo! Is this not absurd? Is Lawal Dare even in contention for the governorship race with all the court cases dangling over his head?

The so called governorship is still traumatized over his defeat at the federal high court, which nullified the primary that produced him and recently, the Appeal court.

It is fundamental to note that his ordeals were from his own very party and has nothing to do with Governor Matawalle. So it’s absurd to blame others for PDP’s misfortune and allege that anyone would hunt it’s candidates whose political future are uncertain.

And resorting to violence as a means to an end like the party and its members have been doing could only heighten the already tensed atmosphere which Matawalle has been working round-the -clock to manage.

The billboard saga wasn’t the only violent imprints the party has left on its route to 2023, a rally at its governorship candidate’s home had led to lost of Iives even as many were wounded. It’s sad that Gumi left out such important development from his statement.

As per the NUJ chairman which Gummi tried unsuccessfully to lump Bilbis case with to draw inspiration, he should have done the needful by telling the public the background of the affected person and the circumstances leading to such state of affairs to enable them appreciate and interrogate the issue based on its merit.

It’s imperative that Gummi calls a press conference or issue another statement to shedlight on the matter.

Having come from an honourable family, one would have thought Gumi will keep the legacy of the parental training we thought he received, unfortunately, even if he had such grooming as he was growing up, elements of bad politics and the fear of losing in the upcoming 2023 general elections have infuriated to throw away his sensibilities and turn disrespectful, dishonourable and regardless.

Certainly, with the overwhelming wind of mass support and mass mobilization going on in the APC, the likes of Gumi will not even be noticed when the electorate cast their votes to bring in APC at all levels in the coming elections.

As it were, rep Gummi achieved nothing by his recent desperate tactics. The PDP is doomed and irredeemable, and by 2023 the party will go into permanent extinction in Zamfara State.

Yusuf Idris Gusau
APC Publicity Secretary
Zamfara State
4th November, 2022

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