Over the last seven years, one of the untidy but reoccurring issues in Zamfara State is the deplorable state of its internal security, which led to deaths and has destroyed property worth billions of naira.
To an average Zamfara citizen therefore, security is an uncommon treasure, his prayers being to sleep each night with his eyes closed till dawn. But this dream has long eluded him.
The inability to end the killings has certainly begun to take its toll on state actors and the powers that be. Only recently, Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari Abubakar and the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, engaged in an open confrontation on the way forward.
Yari had during a stakeholders’ meeting held that there was the need for the National Assembly to withdraw the nomenclature of the Chief Security Officer from state governors on the grounds that they have no control or say over security agents deployed and work in their respective states.
He added that he was tendering his resignation as the Chief Security Officer of the state in view of the fact that he could not exercise any power over any security officer in his state for disobeying orders meant to end the killings.
His view predictably triggered many reactions, some of which were contrary in nature. While some believed that the unending killings of innocent lives in the state could be curtailed by the implementation of proper measures, others believed that government has not done enough in the fight against bandits and cattle rustlers in the state.
One of his opponents was however the Minister of Interior, who while attending the Annual Conference Lecture organzed by the International Press Institute at the Presidential Villa, said: “Good governance is the final solution to the security challenges in Zamfara State. It is not the number of soldiers. It is not good governance for the Governor of Zamfara State to say he was withdrawing his title as the Chief Security Officer. Even if he is given all the soldiers in the world, he can’t use those forces to deal with those issues.”
The governor fired back that the Minister’s comment was most unfortunate coming by a high profile security officer. His spokesman, Ibrahim Dosara, said: “Is the minister’s refusal to visit Zamfara to assess the situation there, listen to and address the complaints by the junior security personnel, sympathize with the people of Zamfara State and offer professional advice good governance?
“Or is the minister’s inability to control the infiltration or influx of foreign agents with evil intentions into the country, paving ways for criminality, good governance? Is it keeping soldiers with him cleaning his shoes, instead of sending them to the front line good governance?”
“It is totally misleading and insulting to the intelligence of Nigerians to blame a state governor for the failure of security, when he has no power and control over the deployment of troops to fight the bandits and protect lives.”
The governor wondered how a General, who is also a member of the nation’s National Security Council would be buck passing the issues and looking for a scapegoat at a time the people of Zamfara State are desperately looking for a decisive action from the Federal Government.
Yari challenged the minister to tell Nigerians why governors in the North East, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Edo, Plateau and Benue states should be blamed for the insecurity in their states when the security personnel are not answerable to them:
“Zamfara State Government has so far spent over N5 billion in support of security agencies. This is in addition to 500 vehicles provided to the security agencies in aid of operation.
“Rather than being blamed by the minister, Zamfara State Government should be commended for its immeasurable support to security agencies, and that the people have every reason to expect results for these financial supports.”
While the blame game continues unabated, what the people desire most at this critical moment is an end to the senseless killings of innocent lives.