Zamfara State Governor, Mohammed Bello Matawalle, on Sunday, said northern leaders are responsible for the insecurity ravaging the region.
Matawalle made the observation while delivering a paper titled “The Fight Against Banditry in Northwest Nigeria: Challenges and Solutions” at the inauguration of the new executives of the Arewa Media Writers Association in Kaduna.
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He said the northern leaders were responsible for the plight of their region, which includes horrible crimes like rape, killings of women and children, kidnapping, highway robbery and other gruesome atrocities in the northern region.
According to him, the north lacked responsible leadership to steer it through the uncharted waters, adding that the ruling elites have no vision for the region beyond gaining political power.
The governor said when he took over as governor on May 29th, 2019, the State had already been mired in a serious security crisis for over a decade, marked by banditry, livestock rustling, kidnapping among other crimes.
He said the State was in the news for bloodletting, fire, pillage, and significant displacement of people, particularly those living in rural areas, on daily basis.
Matawalle, represented by the State’s Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji, said the historic, economic, social and cultural ties between the dominant communities of Fulani and Hausa were ruptured; farming activities across the State halted, and commercial activities crippled.
He said: “With poverty on the increase and food security seriously affected by the crisis, the State was on the verge of a catastrophic social eruption capable of destabilizing our communities and the northwest sub-region.
“Shinkafi and Zurmi LGAs are the hot spots of banditry even though there are no mining activities going there.
“Rural banditry in Zamfara and other parts of the north, in my opinion, is a result of the progressive degradation of our moral standards and a culture of greed fed by an unfettered need for material goods.
“As shown in this presentation, the culture of cattle raiding by pastoralist groups is not something new. It was practised in the days gone by to demonstrate courage and bravery, and no violence was used.”
He said the major challenges to peace efforts in the region included reluctance by the affected states to embrace peace dialogue, which would have deprived the recalcitrant bandits currently tormenting the people of safe corridors across the region.
Lack of support
He lamented that there was a lack of support from a section of politicians who wish to take advantage of the situation to achieve political gains, noting that there was a need for the federal government to key into the peace initiative so that appropriate resources can be allocated to achieve that.
He added, “We have all seen how the elites in the South-East and Southwest responded in unison to all matters concerning their regions’ development.
“We have seen how they have a defined agenda and are relentless in their pursuit of regional development.”
According to him, the war against banditry in the North West would remain a significant security challenge that has the potential to swallow the region and the country.
He appealed to leaders of the region to wake up from their lethargy and unite in combating the grave challenge, saying there was the need to stop politicising the situation.