By Ibrahim Magaji Dosara
The attention of the Zamfara State Government has been drawn to a recent publication by Professor Jibrin Ibrahim of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja, with a caption: Zamfara Model is the Dismal Tunnel to Self-destruction. It was published in Daily Trust of March 5, 2021.
To err is human, but I wonder how Professor Jibrin, a man of high repute, was swayed or misled, and therefore, attempted to tarnish the image and reputation of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle in spite of efforts being put in place to restore the lost peaceful atmosphere in our dear state.
The Zamfara State Government wonders how a senior fellow like the professor would adopt armchair journalism to mislead Nigerians about the real happenings in the state. As an educator, the professor is expected to enlighten the general public on the true situation of events in Zamfara State.
The professor quoted a report on the abduction of 60 persons, including women and children at Ruwan Tofa in Maru Local Government Area of the state. In that report, it was alleged that 40 people were killed, which is a blatant lie; yet he went ahead to use that report in his article without clarification. What an ethical question.
Professor Ibrahim might have read another social media report published by one of the handlers of an opposition party in the state, where a case of an attack on the Federal University, Gusau was reported to have occurred on Thursday, March 4, 2021. It turned to be false as clarified by the university’s public relations officer.
I can recall an incident where someone called the BBC to say he was calling from a village in Zamfara State that was under attack by bandits. He added that he was seriously wounded. But investigation by the BBC revealed that the person was in Lagos operating a commercial motorcycle at the time he was calling and making such claims.
I find it necessary to remind the professor of the terrible state of anarchy in Zamfara State before the coming of the current administration. At that time, no day passed without a huge number of deaths from massive attacks by bandits on innocent civilian communities.
Thousands of people were massacred, property worth billions of naira destroyed and thousands of cattle rustled. Hundreds of people were displaced and hundreds others kidnapped. Education and business activities in the state were disrupted by bandits.
I expected the professor to have conducted a tour of the state for a genuine research to assess the extent of damages before writing his article as this would have enabled the world understand the true picture of the matter. But he rather relied on hearsay and armchair journalism or fake reports to talk about an issue that has to do with human lives. Can the professor answer the following questions?
Did he question how the bandits come into the country or how they get their weapons? Whose responsibility is it to check the influx of illegal immigrants and weapons in the country? Did the professor ask why the intelligence gathering and even its structures got dilapidated so much so that the activities of the insurgents and their movements from place to place at will is taking place?
Did the professor question how it has taken the country’s defence system this long to deal with the terrorists unleashing these mayhem to innocent Nigerians?
Did he question how these terrorists get their funding and weapons into the Nigerian soil?
It was recently argued by the National Security Adviser to the President that helicopters were used in supplying weapons to bandits in Zamfara, hence the declaration of the state as a “no-fly-zone.”
Did the professor care to question who owns these helicopters and whose responsibility it is to monitor the nation’s airspace and movement of aircraft?
In Zamfara State, where Governor Matawalle is implementing a peace process, kidnapping is the most serious security challenge and dialogue is being used to secure the release of victims, rather than mercilessly attacking and killing the people. Now, tell me, which one is less in calamity?
The governor considers his current approach to be the best option in securing the lives and property of his people as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which states that the protection of lives and property of the people is the number one function of government anywhere. So, you either proffer solution to the current search for peace and security in our state or let us fend for ourselves until such a time when the entire nation is ready to face this challenge.
Finally, let me use this medium to tell the professor that Governor Matawalle believes in democracy and freedom of speech. The door of His Excellency is always open to journalists and research fellows.
Dosara is the commissioner for information, Zamfara State