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    Categories: On the GoViewpoint

We can’t keep ignoring Zamfara

Not sure which one grate more, the fact that Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara State claimed to have ‘resigned’ from his responsibility as the chief security officer of the state on Friday, June 15, and that he was right on the podium on Tuesday, June 19, at a campaign event in Ado Ekiti to campaign for a friend of President Muhammadu Buhari as one of APC leaders told us.

Apparently, he did not think it is a big deal dancing on the graves of innocent lives killed in his state. The other one is how Yari’s ‘resignation’ has attracted little or no serious interrogation in the country.

The action raises critical posers about our continual existence as a country and the brand of federalism we practice or claim to practice. It also speaks about the paralysis and ineptitude our public officials display in fulfilling the basic constitutional obligation of security and welfare of citizens they are leading.

Further, it shows the helplessness of state governors in keeping their borders safe on the one hand, and their wickedness in drawing obscene amount as security votes without putting it to good use on the other. This is the second piece I will write on the killings of Zamfara, an issue so serious that one of my former editors, Kadaria Ahmed, wrote about it for the BBC. She hails from the state and used the piece to draw attention to the low intensity war currently going on there.

I relied on the News Agency of Nigeria for reportage of Yari’s action http://www.nan.ng/news/zamfara-killings-gov-yari-resigns-role-as-chief-security-officer/ and part of the reasons he gave is that he had no control over the security machinery in the state. “We have been facing serious security challenges over the years, but in spite of being governor and Chief Security Officer of the state, I cannot direct security officers on what to do nor sanction them when they err.” He bemoaned a situation where he could not strategize on how to protect the citizens and implement such strategy successfully.

That’s what we have in Nigeria presently that from the north to the south governors are seemingly helpless in protecting citizens. A former manager at my drycleaners who resigned late last year to contest for a local government chair in his home state, Kogi, recently lamented to me how herdsmen have rendered farmers impotent in his local government and others to the extent that they’ve abandoned farming completely.

A major fulcrum of the Buhari government is security but while much effort have been put into fighting Boko Haram, the Zamfara killings have become another herdsmen menace thereby not attracting the required attention. Beyond the mere directive of our president, nothing seems to have changed, a fact Yari lamented in the report I referred to above. One way the government is tackling the killings is by establishing a brigade in Zamfara but one wonder how quickly that will take off and what happens in the meantime? Citizens are traumatised and seemingly helpless losing interest in life not knowing whether they will live to see the next moment. Most likely, the president is not aware of what is going on in Zamfara just as he was not when the inspector general refused to relocate to Benue State as he ordered.

Maybe I missed it; it is also unclear what the senators representing Zamfara have done to draw attention to the horrors in their state. One of these folks is a former governor, Ahmad Rufai Sani, whose greatest gift to his state remains the introduction of Sharia law when he was governor. One would have thought that the state house of assembly too would have either commenced impeachment proceedings against the governor or seek to find ways of rescuing their people from the marauders but they are most likely busy looking out for the next allocation of funds to fund their sybaritic lifestyle. The boisterous social media crowd too could not care less as you rarely see a tweet or Facebook post about the savagery in Zamfara. But we can’t afford to close our eyes to the horror playing out in the state; we must call our government’s attention to their inaction and nudge them to do the needful.

How come we are beset with troubles on all fronts security-wise? I had written many times about the need to review our security architecture and properly guide against further attacks that can decimate our existence. To show how clueless some of our leaders could be, Governor Yari exhorted citizens of the state he was elected to protect to “be more faithful to God and embark on special prayers over the challenges facing the state” even when they are being killed? Don’t be surprised when you hear the news of special prayer sessions specifically convened on “helping Zamfara overcome the killings in the state” even as more people are being killed without a whimper from other Nigerians.