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Zamfara, Katsina: We must go beyond lamentations

In recent years, the escalating terrorist activities in Zamfara and Katsina states have created a significant security crisis, threatening the lives and livelihoods of residents…

In recent years, the escalating terrorist activities in Zamfara and Katsina states have created a significant security crisis, threatening the lives and livelihoods of residents in these areas. The pervasive sense of fear and instability has not only hindered economic development, but also posed severe humanitarian challenges.

As the situation deteriorates, it is imperative for the governments of Zamfara and Katsina to adopt a unified approach to address this menace effectively. This collaboration is crucial for restoring peace and ensuring sustainable development in the North-western part of Nigeria.

Between January and May, 137 people were reportedly kidnaped in Zamfara State, while 111 were killed. Some of these killings occurred on February 19 in Maradun town, Maradun Local Government Area, where eight persons were killed, another eight were killed on May 6, while 20 were killed at Bilbis village of Tsafe Local Government Area. And on May 10, 18 people were killed at Farar-Kasa village of Anka Local Government Area just as another 10 were killed at Dangulbi village in the same Anka Local Government Area.

Kidnapping for ransom also continues unabated. More than one 150 people have been kidnapped in the same Zamfara State. These include the kidnappingDAN of 50 people on January 14th from Magizawa village of Kauran Namoda Local Government Area and 40 people from Kasuwar Daji village in the same Kauran Namoda Local Government. Twenty people were also kidnapped from Nasarawar Godel village of Birnin Magaji Local Government Area.

In Katsina State, a total of 107 people were killed between January and May this year. These include the killing of 10 people from Batsari and Safana Local Governments Areas on January 3rd  and another 10 from Kukar Babangida village of Jibia Local Government Area, on the same day. Also, 24 were killed at Unguwar Sarkin Noma community of Sabuwa Local Government Area on May 2nd. It was also reported that five soldiers and one civilian were killed at Yar-Malamai military camp on May 12th.

Kidnapping in Katsina is something to worry about. More than 314 people were kidnapped within the period under review. They include; 30 people from Tashar Nagule village, 32 from Yandaka village, all from Batsari Local Government Area. And between January 21st and 23rd, 63 people were kidnapped from Damari village of Sabuwa Local Government Area.  On the 1st of February, 38 were also kidnapped from Yar Nasarawa village of Faskari Local Government Area. This is just to mention a few.

While Zamfara state government has instituted the Community Protection Guards, and its Katsina State counterpart has created the Community Watch Corps, the importance of collaboration between the two states cannot be overstated. Both states have been severely impacted by the activities of bandits and terrorists, who have exploited the porous borders and the lack of coordinated security efforts. A joint strategy would allow for better resource allocation, intelligence sharing, and coordinated military operations. This cooperative effort could disrupt the networks of these criminal elements, making it difficult for them to operate with impunity across state lines.

Furthermore, the North-west Governors’ Forum has a pivotal role to play in finding a lasting solution to the security crisis. To effectively combat the insurgency, there are several key strategies that the North-west Governors’ Forum could implement. First, improving intelligence gathering and sharing mechanisms is essential. Enhanced surveillance and intelligence operations will help in identifying and apprehending the leaders of terrorist groups. Second, investing in modern security technology, such as drones and advanced communication systems can improve the efficiency of security operations. Third, addressing the root causes of terrorism, including poverty, unemployment, and lack of education, is vital for long-term peace. Economic development programmes and social initiatives aimed at youth empowerment can reduce the allure of terrorist groups.

Community engagement is also crucial. The support and cooperation of local communities can significantly enhance the effectiveness of security operations. Community leaders and traditional rulers should be involved in peace-building efforts, as they play a critical role in mediating conflicts and fostering trust between the government and the people.

The federal government must also increase funding for security operations, provision of modern equipment, and enhanced training for security personnel are necessary steps to strengthen the capabilities of the security forces. Additionally, there should be a concerted effort to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which has exacerbated the security situation in the North-west region.

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