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How 11 Zamfara monarchs lost thrones over alleged links with bandits

Recently, some traditional rulers in Zamfara State were sanctioned for “aiding” bandits in their domains as a deterrent to others. In recent times, Zamfara State…

Recently, some traditional rulers in Zamfara State were sanctioned for “aiding” bandits in their domains as a deterrent to others.

In recent times, Zamfara State Government has gone tough on traditional rulers with alleged ties with suspected armed bandits and cattle rustlers unleashing terror on the people of the state.

Latest in the series of measures adopted to bring such monarchs under scrutiny, was the order by the state government to two district heads to submit themselves at the headquarters of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for investigation after their suspension.

The district heads are; Alhaji Bello Mai Wurno of Kaya in Maradun Local Government Area and Alhaji Aliyu Dangaladima of Birnin Magaji Local Government Area.

According to the NSCDC Public Relations Officer (CDPRO) in the state, Aminu Ismail Maru, the accused traditional rulers had already visited the headquarters for investigation.

The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Bello Dankande Gamji, said the district heads violated the order issued by the state government to stop fuel sales in jerry cans across the state.

The state government had earlier banned sale of petrol in Jerry cans in the state in apparent move to cut supplies to motor bike-riding gangs of armed bandits wreaking havoc on the rural communities.

“These district heads wrote letters to black marketers asking them to continue with their business as usual. We will not condone sabotage and we asked them to report themselves to NSCDC headquarters,” Gamji said.

Earlier, the state Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari Abubakar, had approved the dethronement of seven other traditional rulers for their alleged involvement in banditry and kidnapping activities the state.

Alhaji Gamji said the decision was taken following the indictment of the traditional rulers by a committee set up to investigate them.

Those dethroned are: District Head of Ruwan Gora in Talata Mafara Local Government Area, Alhaji Isa Balarabe, Ruwan Rana, Alhaji Altine Magaji and Ruwan Jema, Alhaji Sani Ruwan Dutse.

Others are Baichin Birane, Marafa Zubairu, the Village Head of Tugar Dutse, Hassan Muhammad, that of Gyado, Danjekan Gyado. The rest are district heads of Ruwan Gora in Bukkuyum Local Government, Alhaji Ishaq Sadiq and Gwalli in Gummi local government, Alhaji Musa Gwalli.

Among the deposed district heads was that of Gurbin Bore in Zurmi Local Government Area, Alhaji Bello Magaji, who was accused of conniving with kidnappers who abducted the wife and children of the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Alhaji Abdullahi Gurbin Bore.

The gang was said to have collected N10million as ransom and the traditional ruler was given N800, 000 even though he was promised N1million.

The governor said the security situation in the state needed drastic measures to curb and therefore the state government would not hesitate to bring to book any person or group of persons who are involved in the heinous acts of banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling.

According to him, the state government was determined to rid the state criminal elements and their cohorts, that was why local government chairmen were asked to fully take charge of security issues in their respected local councils.

He stressed that, “Whether the traditional ruler is an Emir, District, village or even ward head, anyone found aiding the activities of armed bandits or kidnappers would be dethroned and prosecuted after investigations.

An official of the ministry for local government and chieftaincy affairs who craved anonymity confirmed that the accused traditional chiefs were with security operatives and investigation had commenced. He said it was after the conclusion of the investigation that the next line of action would be taken.

However, sources at the districts of the deposed traditional rulers told Daily Trust on Sunday that for quite a long there had been series of allegations against the traditional rulers’ over  links with suspected armed bandits.

A resident, Ali Nadama said, “for instance, the way these traditional rulers mingle with suspected armed bandits have planted suspicion in the minds of many residents in their respective domains.

“Apart from this, the traditional rulers themselves are part of the problem. The reason why I said so is that sometimes the recovered rustled cows are being cornered between them and the local vigilantes.”

But to some residents, it was the prevailing circumstances that were compelling the local chiefs to relate with suspected armed bandits in their domains.

“For instance, not all people know that sometimes there are some districts that are directly under the control of the armed bandits or cattle rustlers. Therefore, traditional chiefs in these areas are being controlled by the armed bandits,” he said.

According to him, as such, no district, village or ward head dares to resist armed bandits. Such traditional chiefs receive instructions from the bandits instead of the emirs ruling their domains. And if any of them resist them the consequences of his action would be calamitous.

Some residents expressed satisfaction over the action taken against the traditional rulers, calling on authorities to leave no stone unturned in fishing out those involved in the escalation of insecurity in the state.

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