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ZAMFARA IN THE FACE OF THE EXISTING PEACE ACCORD: MATTERS ARISING By Anas Sani Anka

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 One of the leadership crises confronting states in the North Western part of the country is the renewed violence by suspected bandits who are alleged to have violated the peace agreement reached between some Governors especially the Governors of Zamfara and Katsina State and the bandits.



In Zamfara State for instance, since 2011, the state has been battling with serious security challenges ranging from cattle rustling, armed banditry and kidnapping which resulted to the death of hundreds of lives including that of women and children with economic losses worth over 10 billion naira according to some sources.

Before the exit of the immediate past Governor Abdulazeez Yari, records showed that, his administration invested a lot in terms of finances and logistics support to the security operatives aimed at ending the lingering security crises with almost little or no result.


Yari for instance in one of the media briefings alleged that his administration had been investing nothing less than 600,000,000 naira monthly as security votes meant to support the police, army and other security agencies operating in the state, an investment the former Governor himself admitted had failed to yield any positive result.

He had also entered into a peace deal with the suspected criminals through his former Deputy Governor but the agreement did not last long due to the alleged failure of the bandits to suspend their gun and murderous actions against innocent civilian communities in the state.


The current Governor, Bello Matawalle took over the mantle of leadership of the state amidst serious security challenges which Governor Matawalle alleged that the former government failed to tackle and vowed to bring his old experience being a former chairman of the national assembly committee on security and intelligence in ending the bandits’ attacks in Zamfara.

At the inception of his administration, he came up with series of initiatives that many stakeholders lauded considering how those initiatives brought back relative peace among the warring factions of the Fulani and local people.

He for instance initiated series of activities aimed at reviving the psychology of the typical Fulani people to feel a sense of belonging, the spirit they claimed they were denied for long. He reached out to them as a person and urged them to surrender their arms unconditionally.

He also entered into the second peace deal with the bandits and mandated the State Commissioner of Police to take charge and follow all modalities. The peace deal has no doubt resulted to many powerful bandits surrendering their arms and embracing the peace.


It also led to the release of many abductees through the help of some repentant bandits who supported the dialogue. Governor Matawalle himself declared during one of the media briefings in July, 2019 that his administration had secured the release of over 300 abductees from their captors as well as re-united them with their familes.

From July 2019 at various occasions, the government paraded over hundreds of released abductees to news men as well as briefed the media regularly on the development regarding armed recovery made by the peace committee.


But while this development is appreciated by all well-meaning citizens of Zamfara State, the story began to change especially with the resurgence of fresh killings by those who the government referred to as ‘’un-repentant bandits’’.
They have been launching spates of attacks on various communities with consequential number of death recored.

 For instance, in May this year, they attacked five villages including Kajera and Magazawa in Tsafe where they killed five people. In June they also attacked several communities in Talatar Mafara and Maru where conflicting figures were issued by the community and police regarding those killed in the two days attacks.


Just yesterday, they struck at Tofa community and killed fifteen people while injuring several others as reported by the BBC and other Nigerian local media outfits. This is besides other unreported cases which are not on the domain of the of media people yet.
Since then there had been reported cases of abduction in some areas of the state. Example just three days back 25 persons have been kidnapped by some suspected bandits in Bindin a situation that prompted the State Police Commissioner in collaboration with the military to mobilize a joint security squared to give adequate protection to the people.

  
In February 2020, the district Head of Gayari and his son were abducted and release after alleged payment of ransom. Again in the month of March 2020 three legislative council members from Gummi were abducted and ransom of 40 million naira was placed. Later on one was released according to the report, one died in captivity and the other one was release on negotiation. 

Also in March 2020, the District Head of Wuya in Anka and two others were abducted was kidnapped by some suspected bandits. Before the State Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs announced their release alongside 13 other abductees.
While this development trailed Zamfara state, the neigbouring states of Katsina and Sokoto are also facing same tragedy by the bandits. For instance THISDAY reported that,sometimes in May 2020 gunmen attacked Tsawwa and Dankar villages in Batsari local government area of Katsina state where 30 people were killed. Another report have it that, suspected gunmen attacked Faskari community killed fourteen people and abducted a custom officer.

Within same month of June 2020 gunmen attacked Batsari local government and killed its party chairman and in an interval of twenty four hours they stormed Yantumaki town and killed its District Head. In couple of five days again they killed another traditional ruler in Matazu local government area of the state. 

Similarly in same Katsina reports have it that, gunmen attacked communities in Dutsinma killed 74 people and rustled hundreds of cattle

In the neighbouring Sokoto State the story is not different on the 29th of May 2019, 74 people were killed in a one day serial attack on Garki, Danadua, Kuzari and Katuma towns of Sabon Birni area of Sokoto State.


This came barely less than two days after Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal paid a condolence visit to Tangaza community where eighteen people were killed by the suspected gunmen.


This cross the border security challenges has continue to constitute a threat to the people of Zamfara state especially with the recent pronouncement by the Katsina Governor that he has suspended the peace deal and that military should stage forward and save the lives of the people.

 

There has been spates of  peaceful demonstration by the concern citizens of Katsina as they claimed that, Federal government has failed to secure and protect them. The first one started at Yankara and Sheme and later extended to Mairuwa in Funtua local government area of the State. The larger one was done in the metropolitan city of Katsina.

Earlier than that, Sokoto State Governor has met with President Muhammdu Buhari to discuss the lingering security issue bedevilling his state of Sokoto and he was later joined by the Kaduna state Governor Malam Nasiru Ahmad El-rufai who allay his fear that, if these bandits that are being fought by the soldiers in Katsina are pushed off from their present locations they may relocate to Kaduna and constitute a big threat to his people.

Now the most critical security concern to the people of Zamfara state is the effect of the bandit activities in the neighbourhood states of Katsina and Sokoto and how it will impact badly on the people of the state.

For instance when the insecurity reached its pick level in Katsina the President issued a matching order to the army to fight the bandits in Katsina State to the finishing without mentioning the faith of Zamfara state.


Again all the security chiefs led by the National Security Adviser Major General Monguno retired paid a sympathy visit to Katsina and Sokoto without mincing visiting Zamfara State and that alone has fingered a lot of fear that, the security situation in Zamfara is not taken much serious. 

Even though some commentators were of the opinion that, there is no way anybody will
take Zamfara insecurity  serious hence those that are saddle with the responsibility of managing our security situation always pretends that, all is well.


Another critical issue is the conflict of interest between volunteered vigilante groups in Zamfara and government. Many a times Zamfara state government blamed these organized vigilante people for doing jungle justice to the Fulani group.

In one of the recent interview we have with the state Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs Abubakar Dauran he reiterated the resolve of the government of Zamfara state in banning the activities of the organized vigilante for the simple fact that, their action of jungle justice to the Fulani herdsmen led to the present deteriorating  security situation in the state.


Now Zamfara state government has renewed its commitment to adopting its strategy of stick and carrot in fighting the armed bandits. Even on Saturday, Governor’s Special Adviser on Public Enlightenment Media and Communication Malam Zailani Bappa has issued a statement re-affirming the position of the state of fighting those bandits who refused to embrace peace and accepting those who have repented.

This in the opinion of many stakeholders is an indicator that, the second peace deal initiated by the government has partly failed because military are seriously fighting the bandits in the forest and with the pocket of attacks and counter attacks people believed Zamfara state government need to take the path of Katsina by declaring total war with the bandits.


This many stakeholders said is the only option hence the neighbouring states need to adopt a united strategy of either renewing the peace deal again or fighting the bandits squarely.

Again government of Zamfara need to urgently look in-ward to implementing the recommendations of the MD Abubakar led committee since there are other factual revelations that can help in chatting the way forward.

The current steps of renewed joint operation in Zamfara which is championed by the CP Usman  Nagogo is actually minimizing the internal conflict among security agencies hence joint operation is now being intensified to fish out the miscreants who refused to accept peace.

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HOW CP YUSUF KOLO IS CHANGING THE SECURITY  NARRATIVE IN ZAMFARA STATE

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Monday Editorial

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It has become clearly imperative for this medium to blow the trumpet for the newly deployed Commissioner of Police Mr. Yusuf Kolo who since his deployment has helped change the security narrative about the genuine fight against armed banditry in the state.

 

The deployment of this experienced Police officer has no doubt assisted greatly in improving the security situation of Zamfara state especially the stellar measures he adopted which are increasing social and economic stability in the state.

Reading about his CV and the career he has built in the service of the Nigeria Police Force, it has no doubt raised the hope of the people because for sometimes now Zamfara people had been agitating for deployment of capable Police officer who is vast in terms of security management and fighting insecurity.

 

For sometimes now, Thunder Blowers had carefully observed that, there is effective patrol and surviellance along the major highways in Zamfara State From Gada-Biyu Round about to Bimasa the Zamfara border town with Sokoto, one may clearly understand that this fine Police officer and gentleman Mr. Yusuf Kolo is ready to deliver his best to the restoration of security architecture  in Zamfara state.

This strategy is also effective at the Gusau-Kaura-Namoda and  Gusau-Gurbin Bore border with Katsina and Gusau-Tsafe-Yankara highways respectively. Within the capital city of Gusau again, there are various check-points mounted within all the strategic positions of Gusau and criminality has really reduced to the barest minimum.

 

It is evident that, there is serious stop-and-search operations in all the strategic locations in the state. and the recent arrest of some miscreants involved in various criminal activities is a clear indicator that, things are getting better with the new Police Commissioner’s arrival.

 

It is on record that, since his  assumption in office there has never been a major armed banditry attack in Zamfara except that of Zugu which took place at the bridge of his taking-over of the mantle of leadership of the State Police Command.

His tour of the divisions and formations across the state and his interaction with the officers on Duty Posts has really risen the hope of the people of the state. More importantly, the visitation to the traditional institutions and his engagement with them which had surely manifested in his recent achievements recorded.

 

We were keenly apt at the manner at which the Police Commissioner is personally moving round the streets of Gusau at the dark of the night to monitor the conduct of the operations of his men. His pictures are all over the social media moving with the other galant police officers working with full force to ensure that people slept with their two  eyes closed.

Residents of  areas of Gusau and outskirts including Damba, Tsunami, Mareri and  the rest are all grateful to this visionary tactical Police officer Mr. Yusuf Kolo for his commitment to ensuring that their hearts are at rest. For instance,from Lalan  to Damba,the level of Police enforcement along that area in the night is adding to the relative stability of the people.

 

What inspired people more is the manner at which the Police Commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo has effectively but tactically engaged the Nigerian Bar Association to develop strategies on how to jointly speed up the administration of criminal justice system in the state.

Our prayer is for the Police Commissioner to passionately sustain the momentum and continue to work hand in hand with the critical stakeholders to double this commitment, It is indeed wonderful and promising if the momentum is sustained.

 

Our conclusion on the steawardship of Police commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo is that his achievements speak volumes that he is matching his  academic credentials, his experience with these practical achievements.

 

We at Thunder Blower wish  you all the best as your partners in the fight against crime and insecurity in Zamfara  State.

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ONLY GENUINE MECHANISM OF RECONCILIATION CAN ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF APC IN ZAMFARA

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By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of Governor Bello Matawalle family and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness. It is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.
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Hon. Abubakar Yanware is a die-hard supporter of the former Governor of Zamfara Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar and a strong stakeholder in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in Zamfara state.

He was among the APC aspirants that contested for the State Assembly post from Tsafe and wanted to contest the APC Primaries for 2023 elections with the current Deputy Speaker of Zamfara Hon. Musa Bawa Tsafe before the APC reconciliation dashed away the hope of  people like him.

He shared his perspectives with the Managing Editor regarding the political reconciliation in the Zamfara APC and raise his concern on matters arising and also shared his perspectives on what is to be done to ensure that the party remains strong and united.

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WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE ON-GOING RECONCILIATION IN ZAMFARA APC?

Well, people have their own ways of assessing a political situation or rather have their different ways of reacting to a situations especially when issues involved politics and political developments but for me, there are more to see than one can understand about the Zamfara APC reconciliation.

The leaders namely former Governor Yari, Governor Matawalle and Sen. Kabiru Marafa may be entering into the peace deal with all sense of sincerity because they may want to bring an end to the lingering crises in the APC, but that may not be a true reflection of the mindset of their supporters.

And remember, they have a limit to which they can influence the same spirit into the minds of their supporters because decision-making in politics goes with the perception of the game players here I mean the party supporters.

So, the leaders of the APC in Zamfara, especially Governor Matawalle and former Governor Yari need to take time and make review of the progress recorded from the reconciliation and begin to reach out to their genuine supporters.

I will say this with clear voice our supporters from the site of Yari the former Governor still have reservations with this reconciliation arrangement within Zamfara APC and something very urgent needs to be done to save the party from collapsing.

FROM YOUR PERCEPTION, IT SEEMS MANY PEOPLE WITHIN THE APC ESPECIALLY FROM THE CAMP OF YARI AND MARAFA HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THE RECONCILIATION?

This is the reality of the situation many people have reservation about this Zamfara APC reconciliation and our leaders need to accept this as the true reflection of what is on the ground and begin to reach out to their supporters.

I am not part of those objecting to the reconciliation and all my supporters are with the reconciliation move hundred percent because I make sure that the moment the political reconciliation was perfected by our leaders I came back home and put my house in order by appealing to my supporters to forget the differences and join hand with the former Governor Yari in the new move.

But I am telling you, many of my political status across the (14) local governments especially those from the camp of former Governor Yari can not convince their supporters to accept the peace initiative entered into by our leaders and this shall be seen as a big problem because you cannot be relying on uncertain political structure to win election.

The feedback we are receiving from the communities is that people cannot be forced to continue to accept decision in the APC without them being properly consulted and this is the exact problem with the current arrangements entered into by our leaders, and for me, their resistance is a concern that need to be addressed with all sense of urgency.

BUT ARE YOUR POLITICAL LEADERS ESPECIALLY FORMER GOVERNOR YARI AWARE Of THIS DEVELOPMENTS?

I am sure he must be aware because he has ears to the ground and I believed from the exit of strong party men like Maibuhu Gummi and rest the former Governor must understand that all is not well with the reconciliation move within his camp.

The Governor, on the other hand, must understand that Yari is facing resistance from his supporters because steps that are supposed to be taken to ensure justice and fairness to all party members were not instituted.

Former Governor Yari may not speak this out for some strategic reasons but as wings to the politics of Yari we have to say this with all sense of modesty that politicians from Yari camp need to be accommodated so that their supporters can feel a sense of belonging politically.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU WANT GOV. YARI TO DO IN MANAGING THIS TYPE OF SITUATION.

I think the former Governor has done his best because since when the political reconciliation started he has been taking steps to ensure that his supporters are contacted, and I know how active he has been working to ensure that sanity is restored within his camp.

I believe it is not enough because time is not on our site and campaign will soon start and there is strong need to reach out to the people because the resistance is really telling bad of our political chances.

Recently, we have lost many people to PDP, and it is not to our best interest politically and all these are happening because there are no extended consultations with the members of the party at the grassroots.

If it means the former Governor should form a committee of consultation, so be it because it is important we get this problem addressed before the main campaign started.

WHAT DO YOU THINK, GOV. MATAWALLE SHOULD HAVE DONE TO SUPPORT YARI CAMP WHO ARE MOST AGGRIEVED IN THIS ARRANGEMENT?

The Governor needs to open his government and accommodate those serious hands from the camp of Yari so that they can have a sense of belonging politically.

By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of his family members and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness and it is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.

We knew the Governor may be facing similar challenges from his camp also, but that is the spirit of political reconciliation because the arrangements shall be “no-winner-no loser”.

Yari camp shall be given posts of Commissioners, Special Advisers and Council Sole Administrators that is justice and if this is done many concerns coming from supporters that have made sacrifices for Yari can be addressed.

Many of my readers would be looking at my position to be too primitive, but that is the only way out. If you go to my local government Tsafe, there are many powerful political forces from Yari and even Marafa camps that are abandoned to their fate, and you think this is healthy democratically?

At least certain percentage of appointments need to be sacrificed to Yari camp so that he can be able to step into the heart of his people, but for now, the Governor had to understand that there is no magic Yari can do to bring stability into his political camp than getting his supporters accommodated.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CHANCES OF THE APC CANDIDATES IN THE FORTH-COMING 2023 ELECTION IN ZAMFARA?

My answer to this question may not be different from my earlier position. Let the APC leaders in Zamfara- the Governor, former Governor Yari and rest put in genuine mechanism of reconciliation and be just and fair to their followers. Anything short of this no one can predict the end result of the APC political journey in 2023.

I am saying this because I know the kind of reaction that is coming from the people, and it is only justice that can help resolve the current state of uncertainty in the APC of Zamfara.

We know there are many candidates that are more popular in their respective constituencies, but the reconciliation had dashed their hope and political chances and these candidates are left without any arrangements.

You know this is a fact that those who had the opportunity to secure the ticket were only considered for some strategic reasons of reconciliation, not because they are better than the rest in terms of their political popularity.

YOU CONTESTED FOR THE POST OF STATE ASSEMBLY BEFORE THE RECONCILIATION EDGED YOU OUT OF THE ARITHEMETICS WERE YOU CONSULTED BY THE PARTY ORTHE CANDIDATE WHO HAPPENED TO BE DEPUTY SPEAKER?

Neither the party nor the candidate reached out to me since after the party primaries and it was the same thing with all the other aspirants that were aged out as a result of the political reconciliation.

What I expected the party to do was to set up a genuine reconciliation mechanisms that will make people like us who invested in the development of the party have a sense of belonging.

The implications of what is happening within the APC Zamfara is that people like us will be made to move aside and be watching things as they unfold, since the party does not consider us as stakeholders that are needed to win election.

But the APC needs to know that stakeholders like us cannot be abandoned to their fates because it can constitute a political redline to to the party.

It has been the same complaint all over but I wish the party can see reason why it shall reach out to us and carry us along as critical stakeholders.

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POWER OUTAGE: ZMSG TO FIX BRAND-NEW ELECTRIC TRANSFORMER IN TSAFE

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Zamfara state Governor had deployed a powerful delegation to inspect the condition of power distribution transformer at Tsafe power station on Monday.

The delegation was headed by the State Commissioner for Health Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe, Special Adviser to Zamfara Governor on Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET), technical staff of the Directorate as well as some powerful politicians in the local government.

The Commissioners who listen to the technical brief by the Directorate officials said the Governor of Zamfara Bello Matawalle was deeply worried when he received the news of the power outage at Tsafe and instantly ordered for on the spot inspection of the power transmission station.

Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe said based on the briefing by the DURET, the transformer which is measured at 2.5 (mba) was too small for the power consumption of Tsafe town, and it’s environ.

He said hence it was suggested that the new transformer to be installed be upgraded to at least 7.5(mba) he will intimate the Governor immediately and get the commitment of the state government in making sure that the problem is addressed out rightly.

He assured that the Governor will do what is right for the people of Tsafe local government by fixing brand-new transformer of high capacity since the existing one is no longer serviceable.

Furthermore, he thanked the people of Tsafe for sustaining their loyalty to the government of Bello Matawalle and assured that the government will do all that are needed to making Tsafe people comfortable.

In a remark, the Special Adviser Directorate of Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET) Alh Muhammad Shinkafi commended the Governor for his prompt response to the plight of Tsafe people and urged them to continue to extend their support to the government.

One of the elder statesmen in the local government Samaila Mudi Tsafe commended the Governor for taking the appropriate step of responding to the complaint of power problem in the Tsafe local government area and urged him to speedily fulfilled the pledge so that citizens of Tsafe can have a sight of relief.

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