From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD) has condemned the declaration of Zamfara State as a no fly zone by the federal government.
The organisation equally accused the All Progressives Congress (APC-led) federal government and the Service Chiefs of playing politics with the lives in the state and security of Nigerians.
The statement issued by the organisation’s Executive Director, Dr. Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi, in Abuja on Friday, alleged that the declaration of no fly zone in Zamfara State is a ploy by the APC-led federal government to declare a state of emergency in the state.
PAPSD, in the statement, wondered why Zamfara State should be singled out from other states with escalating cases of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of violent acts in APC-controlled states like Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau and Kogi.
While questioning no attempt by the presidency to impose a state of emergency or declare such states as no-fly zone, the group quipped that rather than the selective approach to the fight against banditry, terrorism and kidnapping, the presidency should adopt a holistic approach to quell the prevailing insecurity in the country.
He also noted that Governor Bello Matawalle is not the first governor, particularly in the North-West, to adopt a dialogue solution to tackle insecurity in the country, adding that the governor adopted an intervention approach as a distressed measure following the failures of the presidency to guarantee the security of lives and property in the state.
“The APC-led federal government should stop playing the 2023 politics with armed banditry in Zamfara State. The APC leadership missed the point due to pettiness, contempt and attempts to play to the gallery. The APC should demonstrate patriotism by sympathizing with the people and coming up with their own ideas on how to end banditry.
“We wonder why the APC-led federal government is passing the buck of armed banditry to the Governor Matawalle-led administration when it is obvious that the issue of armed banditry in Zamfara State dated back to the days of the immediate past APC administration in the state.
“Under the Matawalle-led administration, armed banditry and kidnapping has been reduced to the barest minimum. It is on record that it’s the failure of the immediate past APC administration in Zamfara that saw the issue of armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling rising to the highest level in the State where thousands of people were kidnapped, over half a million people were displaced, more than N2 billion was paid as ransom to kidnappers, more than 25,000 children were orphaned while 6,500 women were widowed.
“Under APC administration in the state, properties worth billions of Naira were7 destroyed, farm lands were deserted and Yankasai, an outlawed vigilante group, were killing people indiscriminately, yet nobody saw it fit to declare a no fly zone or declare a state of emergency,” he fumed.
Reacting further, Shinkafi pointed out that; “none of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is free from armed banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, militancy, ethnic, tribal, communal clashes and other forms of criminality. The President, the new service chiefs should be more committed and come up with fresh ideas on how to battle this insecurity in the country.
“The North East was under siege by the Boko Haram insurgents for more than eleven years, yet the Boko Haram has not been defeated, why should the government leave the citizens at the mercy of armed robbers and kidnappers? Then what is the essence of having such a government?
“The recent cases of kidnapping of 276 school girls in Jangebe has generated a lot of controversy, resulting in the declaration of a no fly zone and the suspension of mining activities in the state. However, when the Chibok girls were kidnapped in Borno State, the Dapchi girls were kidnapped by the Boko Haram in Yobe State, Kankara school children were abducted in Kastina State, the same thing happened in Kagara in Niger State and nobody declared a no fly zone or a state of emergency on those states which are under the leadership of the APC.
“In all these, no opposition party called for a no fly zone or state of emergency and there is mining operations both legal and illegal going on in Niger, Kastina, Nassarawa, parts of Benue and Plateau State. All these states have higher incidents of insecurity and yet nobody had declared a no fly zone or state of emergency in those areas nor have stopped mining operations,” he noted.
Shinkafi further maintained that; “the ease with which these bandits are carrying out their nefarious activities is a serious cause for concern from all Nigerians. While we are aware, Mr President, that you are doing your best, your best is not enough going by the current negative outcome. The bitter truth is that no place is presently safe in Nigeria.
“The NSA should tell Mr. President the naked truth and stop playing politics with the lives of Nigerians. We call on the President to order the immediate recruitment of more security personnel to fight crime in the country.
“The federal government should declare a state of emergency on insecurity in Nigeria and improve the welfare of security personnel to boost their morale and enhance their performance. The office of the NSA, IGP, Service Chiefs, the DG SSS should not politicize security by dining with politicians as what the country needs at this critical period is dedication, competence and patriotism in tackling the numerous security challenges confronting this nation.
“So there is the urgent need for inter agency collaboration between security agencies in the country. This has become expedient in order to restore the country’s lost glory and restore the confidence of investors for the safety of their lives, properties and capital invested in businesses in the country.
“They should ensure the respect for the human rights of Nigerians as provided in the 1999 Constitution as amended. They should stay away from human rights abuses and neglects in the discharge of their duties,” he charged.