Whatever Zamfara State in Northwest Nigeria bargained for at the beginning of this increasingly difficult journey called Nigeria is definitely not what it is getting at the moment. For with each passing day, terror seems to reinvent itself in the state, proving very fertile in a state known for its farming.
The zenith of terrorism
If Borno State in Nigeria
s northeast served as the launch pad of the twisted terrorist group Boko Haram and terrorism in Nigeria, Zamfara State has since proven to be one of terrorisms more successful laboratories where horror has been reinvented until its rawest forms have been hatched.
In a state that prides itself for its prodigious farming, when some villagers in Maradun Local Government Area defied the express orders of bandits not to go to their farms,seven of them were brutally slaughtered.
It is in the state that the pangs of childbirth came upon the pregnant wife of the NULGE chairman who was in captivity. She was delivered of her child in captivity and was released afterwards.
During the recent Eid Kabir, many residents of Zamfara State, especially those in rural areas could not celebrate due to insecurity. Many people have been killed or abducted in the state in the last one year to plunge many families into bottomless grief.
In fact, terrorists now rule the roost in many communities in Zamfara State. Only recently, about eighteen persons were slaughtered when bandits attacked Kango and Dangulbi villages in Maru Local Government Area of the State.
A criminal coronation
On Saturday, July 16,2022, for all his efforts in turning Zamfara State upside down, particularly Tsafe Local Government Area, Ada Aleru, a terrorist of great notoriety, was turbaned as the Sarkin Fulani of Yandoton Daji Emirate.
The coronation of the 47-year-old Aleru done by the now suspended Emir of Birnin Yandoto in Tsafe Local Government Area of the state was reportedly decided as part of efforts to appease him in order to achieve peace in the state.
The bandit leader has for years now allegedly supervised killings, abduction, the rustling of cattle in Tsafe and across Zamfara and Katsina states.
So deadly and disruptive were his activities that the federal government once ordered a hunt for the outlaw also known as Yankuzo. In June 2020, the Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Baba, declared him wanted “dead or alive,” placing a N5 million bounty on his head. This was sequel to sting operations after the Kadisau village in the State was attacked and over 20 people were killed by bandits.
In January 2022, the Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkanah, said operatives deployed to Tsafe stormed Kuchin Kalgo forest and rescued 29 captives. The Commissioner had revealed that the victims held for more than 60 days were from three villages – Adarawa, Gana and Bayawuri – in Rijiya district of Gusau Local Government area.
Again, it was Ada Aleru that was fingered as the arrowhead behind the attacks.
A brutal bargain.
For the communities in the crosshairs of these bandits, giving in to the wishes of the bandits is not only logical, but a matter of survival.
According to reports, residents of Tsafe have known some peace since Ada Aleru agreed to participate in peace efforts. His coronation as a traditional ruler appears to be some kind of reward for his efforts. Apparently, all he needed to do to become a hero and even a traditional ruler was call off his attack dogs.
It appears that some kind of resignation syndrome is gradually taking over communities ravaged by terrorism in Nigeria`s Northeast and Northwest. What appears to be happening is that residents have come to some sort of resignation that since the state is unable to protect them, they can as well take matters into their own hands by either resorting to self defence or negotiating with the terrorists and paying off millions of naira in taxes or fines.
Some residents of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State have revealed that they have had to pay millions of naira to the bandits to be allowed to go to their farms. This is as residents of other local government areas in the state who have known relentless terror have pointed out that they have had to learn to defend themselves.
Terrorist impunity versus government impotence.
There is only very little doubt that what has emboldened terrorists to seek traditional titles, run parallel governments, impose taxes and terrorize communities is that they have noted that the government cannot do much in response.
The inability of the government to frontally confront insecurity is apparently stoking the gleeful impunity with which the terrorists continue to operate. What is even more frightening for Nigeria and Nigerians is that they appear to be growing in confidence. And it appears that those who should stop them are too busy or too distracted to do so.
The Emir who turbaned Ada Aleru has been suspended. But whether the suspension of the Emir or even the suspension of the coronation would suspend the virulent brand of terrorism ravaging the state is another thing.