A meeting on the security situation in Zuru Emirate in Kebbi State took place on Friday in Zuru at the instance of President Muhammadu Bahari, following reports on the spillage of banditry from neighboring Zamfara State into the emirate.
The president had directed the Inspector General of Police, Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) and head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to act on the reports.
Following the directive, a meeting held on Friday with the attendance of the IGP, intelligence chiefs, the Kebbi State governor, the emir of Zuru and all stakeholders to proffer solutions to the crisis.
It would be recalled that the president of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Muhammadu Kiruwa, recently issued a press release in Abuja through his secretary, accusing the Yan Sa Kai (vigilante group) of killing 68 Fulani headsmen in the emirate, an allegation the Yan Sa Kai denied.
In his address at Friday’s meeting, the IGP, Muhammad Adamu, who led the federal government delegation, said the president was
deeply worried about the insecurity across the country and was committed to addressing it.
He noted that the security challenges in the country were escalated by the infiltration of foreign nationals as the police had arrested bandits from Niger, Chad and Mali.
The IGP noted that the concept of community policing was conceived to involve residents in providing security in communities.
He however lamented that the Yan Sa Kai vigilante group not only in Kebbi but in other states like Zamfara and Katsina tended to fuel the insecurity because of the manner they were set up without proper control and command structure.
He advised the emirate to set up a community security advisory committee to scrutinise the Yan Sa Kai and incorporate them into the community policing system.
Adamu said the Zuru meeting would be followed up by another one in Abuja to further brainstorm on the way forward and come up with a roadmap for a lasting peace.
“The concern of Mr. President is to see that Nigeria becomes a peaceful country. Mr. President directed the conduct of this town hall meeting following the rising challenge of insecurity. The president attaches great attention to all security issues in the country,” he said.
The Director General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, appealed to the people of the emirate to eschew further hostility by embracing peace.
The president of MACBAN, who is of Zuru emirate origin, narrated how he contributed in maintaining peace in the emirate, adding that he had to issue a statement in Abuja because he was not only accused of fuelling banditry in the emirate but also benefits from cattle rustling and kidnapping.
The chairman of the Yan Sa Kai group in Zuru emirate, John Mani Giwa, responded to MACBAN’s allegation of killing 68 of its members in Zuru, describing it as unfounded.
Giwa said the Yan Sa Kai did not kill by profiling a particular ethnic group as claimed by MACBAN, adding that it only goes after criminals who are largely bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers.
Mani said even the Yan Sa Kai records casualties during encounters with bandits and kidnappers, adding that the group comprises of all ethnics groups in the emirate in contrast to MACBAN’s claim that it was only dominated by the natives.