By Abubakar Ahmed, Ishaq Zaki
Gusau, Oct. 11, 2019
The committee on finding solutions to banditry in Zamfara, on Friday said it has concrete evidence that five Emirs in the state were complicit in the spate of banditry in which more than 6,319 men and women have been killed.
The Chairman of the committee and former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar also said 33 district and several village heads were also working with the bandits.
Abubakar, who made the disclosure while submitting the committee’s report to Gov. Bello Matawalle in Gusau on Friday, did not publicly name the traditional rulers.
He added that 10 soldiers, some policemen and civil servants were discovered to have had their hands smeared in the banditry which has lasted for about a decade in the state.
The former IGP however said some security personnel and one emir distinguished themselves creditably in the protection of the people.
He said that the committee had recommended that the emir be conferred with national honours while the officers should be promoted to their next ranks.
Abubakar said the 300-page report would be relevant to other state governments and the federal government in addressing security issues in the country.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee was inaugurated by Gov. Matawalle in July and its investigation covered between June 2011 and May 2019.
Meanwhile, Gov. Matawalle said on Friday that the state government would set up a N50 billion fund to support victims of banditry, especially orphans and widows.
The governor said a foundation will be set up to manage the funds in line with the recommendations of the committee established to find solutions to banditry and other security challenges in the state.
Matawalle, who made the commitment while receiving the committee’s report in Gusau, said the foundation would be inaugurated in the first quarter of 2020.
The Chairman of the Committee, former Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar, presenting their report had said that a total of 4,983 women were widowed, 25,050 children orphaned and 190,340 persons displaced by banditry over the period covered by the report.
He added that innocent Fulani herdsmen lost 2,015 cattle, 141 sheep and goats, 2,600 donkeys and camels to rustlers while 147,800 vehicles, motorcycles and others were burnt at different times and locations within the period.
Matawalle said, “I commend the foresight of the committee members for recommending to my administration to launch a N50 billion orphans and widows foundation.
“I will discuss this important recommendation with President Muhammad Buhari with a view of launching the foundation in the first quarter of 2020.”
The governor said the foundation would have a board of trustees whose members shall be honest and credible Nigerians with impeccable character and indisputable record of selfless service.
He said that 6,319 men and women were killed within the period leaving behind orphans and widows, adding that the government must take care of the education of 25,050 orphans as well as its other responsibilities to the victims.
The governor also commented on other recommendations of the committee.
“I am very glad about the agricultural and other empowerment programmes that the committee recommended.
“Unless and until states and federal governments provide necessary support and assistance to empower individuals and groups, provide soft loanable funds to finance small and medium enterprises that are capable of addressing the ever growing unemployment rate, whatever peace we may achieve can be short lived in the country.”