Zamfara Banditry: Blame defence minister, not Governor Yari – CSOs

Gov. Abdulazizi-Yari
Gov. Abdulazizi-Yari of Zamfara State. [Photo credit: THISDAY]

A coalition of civil society groups has put the blame of the insecurity in Zamfara State on the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, rather than on Governor Abdulaziz Yari.

The coalition made up of the Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights (PAIR), Society for Gender Equity (SGE), Network for Onward Nigeria (NeO), and The Peoples Collective (TPC) accused the defence chief of doing little or nothing to stem the tide

According to the coalition, Mr Yari has done what the constitution permits him by providing logistics, communication gadgets, housing and special allowances for police and the military posted to the state without commensurate support from the Ministry of Defence.

In a statement signed by Isa Yaro, national publicity officer of the group, on Sunday in Abuja, they said it was “tragic and unfortunate” that the federal government has failed to arrest the security challenge in Zamfara for over two years now, stressing that President Buhari ought to have sacked the Minister of Defence long ago.

“What we find happening in Zamfara state is not only unfortunate but tragic. It is inconceivable that two years on, the federal government has failed to address the orgy of killings in Zamfara state,” Mr Yaro said.

“All the blame trading and trying to put Governor Yari as the main culprit is reprehensible. We all know that governors are merely chief security officers by name without inherent powers. For long the governor of Zamfara state has raised alarm over the buildup of a vicious militia with those responsible at the centre doing little or nothing about it.

“From our findings, the Zamfara government has spent several millions in kitting, communication gadgets and allowances for the police and military posted to the state. What we need to ask is how much leverage has the Minister of Defence, who is from the state, leveraged to address the carnage?” Mr Yaro asked.

According to Mr Yaro, it was good that there is now deployment of Special Forces to the state. He appealed to Mr Buhari to learn from his past appointments in choosing those who will realise his ‘Next Level’ agenda come May 29.

On Saturday, some protestors marched in Abuja to protest the killings in Zamfara State. They blamed the governor for not showing “enough concern about the killings” in the state.

Kadaria Ahmed, a journalist and one of the conveners of the protest, accused Mr Yari of being unconcerned about the people of Zamfara State.

“Our people are being killed like flies and it does not seem to matter to anybody, so that is why we are here and that is why we are marching,” she said.

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