The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District of Kaduna state in the National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, has declared that that northern leaders have refused to speak up on the mass killings, abductions and related crimes in the region for fear of being persecuted by the federal government.
Apart from fear of reprisal by the government, the former APC lawmaker who recently defected from to the Peoples Redemption Party also said the elders’ soft spot for President Muhammadu Buhari may equally have been the reason they are not criticising the nation’s security architecture which appears not to be working.
According to him, the elders have the belief that Buhari was doing his best to contain the menace of the armed bandits who have gone beyond cattle rustling, to outright burning of houses, mosques, farmlands, schools and other secular institutions.
The senator stated this in a tweet yesterday, stressing that it was the northern political elite were silent due to fear, their belief that the government was doing all that it can to curb kidnapping/killings, or simply a case of indifference, as the poor are those most affected.
“Northern political elite are silent on the frequent killings and kidnappings in the north out of any of these three reasons; FEAR not to be seen opposing the Government; BELIEF that the president is doing his best; INDIFFERENCE because it’s the poor that are dying,” the lawmaker tweeted.
In another tweet, the Kaduna lawmaker lamented that “mourning and funerals have become part of the daily lives of the people of Zamfara and Birnin Gwari.
“Because of the frequency of killings, the FG and states have run out of condemnations and sending condolences to the families of the victims, the press too no more treats it as a cover story.”
Sani was reacting to the news of the attack on Magami village in Maradun local government area in Zamfara state, where bandits killed a number of persons on Saturday.
IDPs protest killings
Meanwhile, the Internally Displaced Persons in Tsafe town of Tsafe local government area of Zamfara state yesterday staged a violent demonstration, calling on both the federal and the state governments to end the wanton killings in the state.
The demonstrators set ablaze the secretariat of the local government and burnt down 18 vehicles and motorbikes, in protest against the incessant killing of citizens and residents of the state.
As at the last count, hundreds of people have lost their lives in the wake of the banditry, kidnapping and other related crimes which have become common place in the state.
The latest of the dastardly acts was the killing at the weekend, of 17 residents of Sauna village in Tsafe local government area of the state.
And as demonstration of their anger, the IDPs set vehicles and other items ablaze in Tsafe local government.
Also vandalised were the CDGP office in the secretariat, project computers and motorcycles, as well as UNICEF WASH programme vehicle.
Travellers along the road which is the major link between the state and Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi states, were held hostage for hours.
Though security agencies have taken over the control of the situation, Blueprint learnt that much damage was recorded.
It was gathered that the protesters came from the surrounding villages, and converged on the local government headquarters, and teamed up with others whose villages had come under attacks by the bandits.
An eyewitness told Premium Times that the protesters destroyed political billboards of President Muhammadu Buhari and the state Governor, Abdulaziz Yari.
The protests later degenerated into a riot.
“The protesters began by blocking the highway and burning tyres, but as we speak, the local government secretariat in Tsafe is on fire,” an eyewitness, who declined to be named for security reasons, said.
The eyewitness said the protesters chanted derogatory terms against the defence minister, Mansur Dan-Ali, who hails from the state, and Governor Yari.
Commenting on the development, the council Chairman, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar condemned the development, and vowed to appease the aggrieved protesters.
He further claimed that some unscrupulous politicians instigated the IDPs’ demonstration.
In an interview with the BBC Hausa yesterday, Abubakar, expressed concern over the deteriorating security in the state, and pleaded with the federal government to come to their rescue.
He recalled that the bandits on Saturday night killed a district head and burnt houses at Asaula community, adding that more than two thousand people are taking refuge in Tsafe, apart from those staying with their relatives.
Apart from Tsafe, other Zamfara local governments most affected by the attacks include Zurmi, Shinkafi, Maradun, Maru and Birnin Magaji, hometown of the defence minister.
When contacted, Mohammad Shehu, the Zamfara state police spokesperson, said the situation had been put under control by the police.
He said the state Police Commissioner, Usman Delel, and the heads of other security agencies in the state had visited Tsafe to help restore normalcy.
He said the police commissioner had deployed more mobile police officers to complement the efforts of the existing security officials in the area, even as he claimed the protest was championed by some miscreants.
He said no death was recorded, and that the police had arrested many miscreants with dangerous weapons, stressing that investigation was ongoing.
The police authority further confirmed the arrest of 23 persons, believed to be involved in the unrest.
Enough is enough -Buhari
And in a reaction, President Buhari yesterday, condemned the killings, describing the development as horrendous.
“These horrendous acts of violence are crimes against humanity. This violence must stop,” Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, quoted the President as saying.
While expressing his deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attacks, the government and people of Zamfara state, the president also wished those injured a speedy recovery.
The president, who has authorised an assessment trip to Zamfara and Sokoto states by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Baba Sadiq on Christmas and Boxing days, reassured residents of states plagued by armed bandits, including Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger and Taraba, that their safety is an enduring commitment of his administration, and he will continue to ensure that security agencies work round the clock to protect local populations.
To this end, a major operation by the Nigerian Armed Forces, Police, Department of State Services (SSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, is being considered to restore peace and stability in the region.
President Buhari conveyed his strong support to the Nigeria Police Force, which has already deployed Special Forces in each of the local government in Zamfara state and the Defence Headquarters’ deployment of a Special Military Intervention Force, comprising more than 1,000 personnel to respond to the security challenges in the affected states. .
These measures, among others, will be intensified to flush out the bandits from wherever they are.
The president commended Nigerians for their support to security agencies who have continued to demonstrate dedication, commitment and bravery even in very difficult and complex operations.