By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
GOVERNOR Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has threatened to depose more traditional rulers found backing banditry in the state.
Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari
Yari, who is the chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum, NGF, noted that security of lives and properties had become a great challenge in the state in recent times, following increased banditry.
The governor said he had so far recovered 10 AK-47 rifles returned to the state government at N1million each.
Recall that Yari had on November 1, 2018, announced a reward of N1 million for every illegal AK-47 rifle recovered from bandits.
“In 2015, with just about 250 soldiers, the crime rate was low; but with over 1,600 soldiers of different categories, we cannot contain crime in the state,’’ the governor lamented.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after meeting behind closed-doors with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, Abuja, yesterday, the governor blamed the menace on complicity by monarchs, which he said had fueled killings and the incidents of armed robbery in the agrarian communities of the state.
The governor spoke against the backdrop of last week’s killing of dozens of Police officers in an ambush by bandits who reportedly operated in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state.
Specifically, communities in the state have become a regular target of bandits who have been undertaking series of robberies in the state in recent years.
The bandits often target herders for their livestock, farms for produce and even kidnap persons for humongous ransom.
On the efforts of the government to put an end to banditry in the state, he said, “some of the traditional rulers are supporting banditry or taking money from them; that is very dangerous.
‘’To give you trust to manage people through tradition and then you are taking part directly or indirectly, that is not acceptable.”
Yari, however, dismissed veiled calls for a declaration of state of emergency to frontally tackle the challenges, noting that Zamfara was not the only state bedeviled by insecurity in the country.