THE security situation in Zamfara State and adjoining areas in the North West has almost gone out of control. How else could the recent “resignation” of Governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, as the Chief Security Officer of the state over his inability to control the security apparatus to save his people from rampaging bandits and cattle rustlers be described?
How else could one view the exodus of over 3,500 internally displaced persons to squatter camps in neighbouring Katsina State? These innocent Nigerians whom the constitution mandates the federal and state governments to protect, fled their state because they no longer felt safe there.
Zamfara has joined Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states as Nigeria’s flashpoints of violence and senseless killings by anarchists masquerading as Islamist fighters (Boko Haram), armed herdsmen, bandits and cattle rustlers. The Zamfara theatre of violence continues to balloon in spite of many publicised efforts of the Federal Government to increase the presence and activities of the armed and security forces, including the recent deployment of attack helicopters.
Many concerned Nigerians have called for a rejig of the country’s security architecture to tackle the spreading violence. Some even believe that the current crop of service chiefs have outlived their usefulness and should be replaced with new officers who are hungry to break new grounds in protecting our people.
Much as we see some merits in these viewpoints, we strongly believe that the steps needed to solve the security situation of the country at large and Zamfara in particular, go beyond mere cosmetic personnel changes. There are obvious indications of inadequate security command and control. The Federal Government must do the needful, mindful of the fact that security of lives and property will be a major issue in the unfolding political season towards 2019.
Besides, if care is not taken, foreign terrorist groups could capitalise on the growing anarchy and start new fronts of insurgency in the North-West, if they have not already done so.
Due to pervasive poverty, underdevelopment and the infiltration of foreign agents with evil intentions into the country, criminality has become more complex than the current centralisation of power can cope with. The call for decentralisation of power to enable the people take charge of their own affairs can no longer be ignored. The Federal Government alone lacks the resources and capacity to protect Nigerians in the remotest areas. This fact has nothing to do with partisan politics or regime coloration.
Governor Yari’s albeit symbolic abdication as the Chief Security Officer of his state while still holding onto the gubernatorial mantle, is highly regrettable. What Zamfara people need right now is a strong, inspirational leader to confront the agents of darkness.