WITH the alarming upsurge in banditry in Zamfara State, the Save Nigeria Coalition of Patriots has alleged the state governor, Abdulazeez Yari as being behind the crisis.
The coalition of several civil society groups made this known through its National Convener Comrade Yusuf Msheliza at a press conference, Wednesday, in Abuja.
According to Msheliza, the recent spate of killings in the Northwestern state is politically motivated, noting that the state Governor has hands in it.
It will be recalled that the sudden crisis came to the fore after the state’s aborted, controversial All Progressive Congress (APC) primaries in October.
Governor Yari reportedly tried to impose his preferred candidates on the State, including Finance Commissioner, Mukhtar Idris for governor.
However, this was greeted with stern resistance, thus failing to meet the deadline Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for nomination of candidates .
While acknowledging past incidences of violence, the Save Nigeria Coalition of Patriots said it was rather unbelievable how swiftly it has escalated.
“ The turn of event in Zamfara State is as troubling as it is baffling. Here is a state that was peaceful was set to becoming a replacement economic hub for what the country has lost in the Borno State axis where farming and fishing in the Lake Chad Basin have been disrupted by terrorists. The same Zamfara State has now metamorphosed into a killing field where unknown killers are now on rampage, “ he said while addressing journalists.
“We of course acknowledge that the state in the past had occasional incidents of cattle rustling and incidents of robberies like any other part of the country or even other countries of the world. The state graduating to banditry on an industrial scale was quite a surprise. But the surprise was only up till the time that information has now trickled out to provide details about how the political bigwigs in the state have been stoking the fire of banditry, especially upon their rejection by their party members as flag bearers in the 2019 elections.
“There is no point dilly dallying about what we have found out. The upsurge in banditry is politically masterminded by the Zamfara state Governor Yari. The governor, unfortunately, is supported by some All Progressives Congress (APC) members in his camp. These elements who lost out in the primaries are embittered that they were unable to get tickets as candidates. It is no coincidence that bandits have gone on killing spree since they lost out.
“Nigerians will therefore not tolerate a situation where politicians, irrespective of whether they lost primary elections, release killers in the guise of bandits to create another security threat for the country. Our Coalition will ensure that anyone that fails to heed this timely counsel and is later indicted would be dragged before all the courts possible on earth.
“Our demand to Governor Yari and his supporters in the APC is unequivocal. They need to respect the sanctity of life and call off the killers they have contracted to cause mayhem in Zamfara state without further delay. They must also public renounce violence in any guise in addition to distancing themselves from acts that amount to endorsing violence as the answer when the permutation does not favour them.
“The Governors of the neighbouring states must do their part, which would in a way reassure Nigerians that they are not part of the political syndicate that is encouraging bandits to launch attacks against communities in the area.
“We urge the Federal Government to step into the situation before ti gets out hand. While the state governor presently enjoys immunity, his aides that do not enjoy immunity and found to be complicit in the banditry related killings in the state must be shown the full wrath of the law. Again, we warn that we must not have another Boko Haram in the country before steps are taken to bring those behind the carnage in Zamfara to book.
“We appeal to the international community to call Governor Yari and his associates in the APC to order before it is too late. They must impress it on the Federal Government that it owes the responsibility of providing security to citizens and that it must live up to this task.
“The Federal Government must not allow consideration for their APC membership to slow the law from running its course; it is important that the country makes an example of persons indicted of sponsoring violence against citizens.”