Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, Monday said traditional rulers sympathetic to criminal elements in the state were fuelling killings in the state. He also said 10 illegal AK-47 rifles have been returned to the state government at N1 million each.
Yari made the disclosure while fielding questions after he had met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the State House, wondering why, “in 2015, with just about 250 soldiers, the crime rate was low; but with over 1,600 soldiers of different categories, we cannot contain crime in the state.”
The Governor spoke against the backdrop of last week’s killing of dozens of Police officers in an ambush by the bandits who reportedly operated in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state.
The bandits have regularly attached communities in the state. The bandits often target herders for their livestock, farms for their produce and even kidnap persons for humongous ransom.
On what his administration was doing to address the precarious situation, alleged compromise on the part of the traditional rulers, hence the menace has continued to fester.
He said, “some of the traditional rulers are supporting the banditry activities or taking advantage or taking money from them or relationship; that is very dangerous. To give you trust to manage people through tradition and then you are taking part, directly or indirectly, that is not acceptable.”
Yari dismissed calls for a declaration of state of emergency to frontally tackle the challenges, noting that Zamfara was not the only state bedeviled by insecurity in the country.
“Are there no killing of security officers anywhere else in the Nigeria, except Zamfara? Why shouldn’t they call for that in the other places,” he fumed.
On the seven monarchs recently deposed by his administration in the state, the Governor said, “What we are trying to do is to kind of teach a lesson because the problem we have in Zamfara State in the North-west is kind of a peculiar problem.
“Any one that we find wanting in this, definitely he must face punishment. And we are trying to use every avenue that we have to ensure that we fish out those that are within us – within the traditional rulers and outside.
“That is why we hired intelligence, the civilian JTF and all of them, so that they can help us by giving us the details,” he said.
“We have about 2600 men and women that are working against these bandits but still it is not enough because of the terrain. The terrain is not known to them, so we have employ sons of the soil that will lead the security agencies to their doorsteps and we have been getting very serious results to our advantage.”
“The total number of traditional rulers is about 300. So, if we find any one! Anyone! Underline the word ‘anyone,’ found wanting, he would go!”
When reminded that the preferred candidates of Ibukun Amosun of Ogun State and Rochas Okorocha of Imo have defected to other parties and what was his next move, Yari responded, “If you want to discuss politics, you can go to party secretariat.”