Zamfara killings: Security agencies failed us, says Gov Yari
Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari
Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has accused security agencies in the country of failing to prevent killings in his state despite alerting them about an impending attack 24 hours before the recent invasion of communities in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state, which resulted in the death of 39 persons.
Speaking on Friday evening when he led five northern governors on a sympathy visit to the palace of the Emir of Zurmi, Yari noted that security agencies in the area failed to tackle the problem of cross-border banditry and terrorism affecting communities in the area.
“Whatever was humanly possible that needed to be done, we as a government have done to mitigate this disaster. But it does appear that security agencies are failing in their responsibilities.
“I feel let down facing the people of this state whenever I remember the promise I made to them that if they elected President Muhammadu Buhari into power, these killings would end. But unfortunately, things are now getting worse.
“As such, I urge you security agencies to up the ante so as not to lose this war. If you let us put the matter in our hands, anarchy will reign, which is not what we hope for.
“On this particular incident, we had intelligence reports 24 hours before it happened that the bandits were grouping and ready to attack. I alerted the security agencies but unfortunately, they sent inadequate personnel to confront these people.”
But the Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said if not for the bravery of vigilance groups who confronted the bandits, more people would have been killed.
Abubakar said 600 bandits had attempted to invade Zurmi before they were repelled by vigilantes.
He said, “They came on 200 motorcycles with three persons on each bike. Each of them was well-armed. We stationed 500 vigilante members who stood their ground and gallantly fought the bandits. Unfortunately, these same bandits turned their anger on travellers and other villagers on their way here; that was why we had 39 people killed.
“These terrorists are known to us. Their major hideout is in a village called Kagara, very close to Bafarawa in Sokoto State, and a few kilometers from Shinkafi in Zamfara State. But despite several appeals to security agencies to storm the area, our appeals have failed.
“I need to state here that majority of the weapons used by bad people in this country are brought in from this area. I had reason to personally inform Zamfara State’s Director of the Department of State Services sometime back of a large cache of weapons being brought into the country but no concrete action was taken until the containers were moved away.”
Meanwhile, prominent Nigerians and groups have berated the Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari, over his handling of the killings in the state.
Groups and individuals, including the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere; Senator Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central) and the Centre for Anti -Corruption and Open Leadership, in separate interviews on Friday with Saturday PUNCH, said Yari was not compassionate.
Yari chaired a meeting of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum on Wednesday night. He attended the meeting of the National Economic Council on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He was one of the governors who visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday to condole with him on the loss of family members.