Amid the banditry activities plaguing Zamfara State, a former Chairman of the Committee on Prosecution of Bandits Related Offenses, Sani Shinkafi, has pleaded with the state’s governor, Dauda Lawal, not to play with people’s lives and property for political gains.
Governor Lawal had on Monday, in a statement by his spokesperson, Sulaiman Bala Idris, accused some Federal Government agencies of engaging in negotiations with bandits without seeking recourse from the state government and other security agencies.
Reacting to Lawal’s remarks on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Shinkafi said that the governor’s assertion was inconsistent with the reality of the current situation of insecurity.
“The state governor accusing the Federal Government of negotiating with the bandits is out of context. We should not play politics with the lives of people and their properties.
“The constitutional responsibility of any serious government is to serve people and also to provide security of lives and security. The responsibility lies within the ambit and the function of the Federal Government,” he said.
According to him, it is on the record that the governor met with the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the governor of Niger State and also the senate committee chairman of security intelligence to discuss the way to go about restoring peace in Zamfara.
“But if the office of the NSA or the military or ministry of defence follows the approach to tackle the insecurity in Zamfara state, I think the governor will be very appreciative of that approach,” he added.
Shinkafi reiterated that the governor’s responsibility is to govern the state and also to deliver the dividend of democracy, adding that when there is no peace or security all the socio-economic problems in the state will be downgraded.
The former bandit prosecution chair bemoaned that the military is going through a difficult time, pointing out that it lacks both staff and equipment.
“The terrain where the military is fighting these bandits is very difficult. I have said times without number that the military in Zamfara is underequipped; they are understaffed,” he said.
Shinkafi added that there are numerous strategies for battling insecurity.
He suggested that the state government should adopt both a kinetic strategy, where a full military operation is deployed to combat banditry, and a non-kinetic strategy, where respectable members of society can be involved to prevent collateral damage, reduce insecurity, and promote peace in the state.
Series of insecurity incidents in the state have resulted in the death of many, displacement of thousands and kidnap of many others whose families pay ransom before they are released, according to the authorities.
Communities have also suffered collateral damage during military operations to nip the menace in the bud.