Design a site like this with
Get started

The Worthless Life of the People of Zamfara

A. S. M. Jimoh

Security news coming from the Northwest, especially Zamfara state, in recent days is heart wrenching. We are greeted daily with the news of people being kidnapped and ransom asked for. In Zamfara, it is worse off as a vicious banditry kills people in multitude daily. However, what is appalling is the seemingly cold response coming from those elected to provide security for our lives.  Neither the state government headed by Abdul-Aziz Yari nor the Federal Government by President Buhari seems to have shown any care. If they claim to be doing anything, the situation on ground tells a different gory story.

The question is what crime the Zamfara people committed this time around that has made their blood so cheap and their lives so worthless. For at least the other time they were ravaged by meningitis, the Governor, Chief Priest AbdulAziz Yari, who should be in an emergency mode to curtail the scourge, told us it was God’s punishment for the people of Zamfara for being fornicators. Even if there is any iota of truism in his ridiculous postulation, I doubt if Zamfara is the biggest fornicator of all places in Nigeria. Well, what do I know?

What I know is that there is nothing seems being done currently to save the people of Zamfara from this callous banditry. Rather, they are abandoned to their fate. Even the occasional condolence from AsoRock is no longer coming.  So, how many more lives need to be wasted in Zamfara before the government begins to do something? Hello, AbdulAziz Yari, would you please ask your god whether the bloods shed so far are not enough to cleanse the sins committed by the Zamfara people? The current sins seem to be too grave, judging from the number of lives that have been lost.

The killing has reached a crescendo that the populace is resorting to both desperate and dangerous measures to stay alive. Those who have the energy trek hundreds of kilometers to move to a seemingly safer place. The truth is nowhere seems safe in Zamfara now. There they live under the mercy of good neighborhood or they turn to beggars in order to survive.  Few days ago, a picture surface of a long queue of people in one of the towns desperately waiting to purchase anti-bullet amulet. I read a report this morning that the state government led by Gov. AbdulAziz Yari, has bought in to the wonderful idea of recruiting 1700 charmers to help fight the insecurity in the state. Aha! This is the quality of the people leading us.

The daily slaughtering of Zamfara people and elsewhere is a glaring evidence of failure of our politicians. Zamfara in particular is never in short dose of irresponsible politicians since the return of civilian rule in 1999. As someone who served in the state for a year between 2006 and 2007, I witnessed firsthand how useless the Zamfara politicians were. Therefore, AbdulAziz Yari is a classical representation of Zamfara politicians who lack the least of solutions to any problem, but to only enjoy the comfort of the office. Do you feel surprised that at a time tens of people are murdered daily, all what Zamfara politicians are busy fighting for is who occupy the various political positions across the state? If a fraction of the energy they deploy in political contest is invested in governance, you won’t be reading this piece. It might be interesting to note also that the current Minster of Defense, Mansur Dan Ali, is also from Zamfara state.

Let me give a snippet of my experience of governance during my service year. Then in the local government where I served, you hardly could find the Chairman at the local government headquarters. He was either at Gusau the state capital or at Abuja. He only came in the weekend where he would be greeted by political hangers-on and local praise singers. This was one of the smallest local government in the state yet the basic requirement of life was lacking. People drank water from the stream. The only hospital in the local government was so chaotic. Schools were nothing to write anything about. I doubt if anything has changed much for better. Yet, later that year, this absentee Chairman was elected as a senator to represent the people of his constituency.

You may be urged to blame the people who continue to elect these kinds of character to represent them. The fact is, these are largely rural people who know next to nothing about governance. They see gesture coming from government as a favor not as responsibility of the occupiers of government positions. Majority have not acquired the basic education to make a distinction between these. Meanwhile, elections are largely a ceremony. But, what are we saying? Even in parts of the federation where there is that perception that people are highly educated, incompetent souls are elected every election cycle, let alone in Zamfara, a largely rural area with uneducated populace who need the basic of life to survive.

Reminiscently, if you ever lived in the Northwest of the country, you ought to feel the pain that the once serene environment is being awashed daily with news of deaths and kidnappings. As it is with most Northern states, Zamfara is a large expanse of land with agrarian communities spread across it. You can travel for hundreds of kilometers and all you see is a vast Sahel with no any visible presence of governance. Such is what criminal elements take advantage of to unleash terror on helpless rural communities. What makes most states of the Northwest worse is that they are bordering African States, which are faced with one form of instability or the other. Criminal elements easily acquired weapons from these largely unstable States to perpetrate crime across borders. In addition, insurgents and militants who have lost to State powers find the badly governed northwestern states as a haven.

The issue is the government must be proactive to bring this senseless killing to a halt. It is worrisome because if this were allowed to take root, violence would have gone full cycle in the whole of the North. This would further strain an already overstretched security apparatus which seems lacking in idea on how to keep pace with ever-changing dynamics of insurgency. Already, the country is contending with a no-end-in-sight BokoHaram insurgency. There is an age-long farmer-herder conflict in the North Central which in recent times was exacerbated by bad politicking. Now kidnapping and banditry are taking root in the Northwest. It does not look good for the country in the end.

For this, I call on President Buhari to reappraise his decision of those in charge of security. Whatever strategy they have now is not working. The whole security architecture has failed. Like he has asked the governors how they sleep without paying salary, I now ask how the President sleeps hearing all these daily loss of lives, being that his first moral and constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is to protect lives and properties of Nigerians.

A little digression that is relevant. Why it is that governors who make AsoRock their second home are mostly inept if not outrightly useless? Like AbdulAziz Yari, Governors of Kogi, Ogun and Imo states who you find daily in AsoRock are not better than jesters. With his daily straddling of the villa, we expect AbdulAziz Yari to have cried before President Buhari that Zamfara needs urgent measure to curtail the growing insecurity in his state.

A. S. M Jimoh. (The writer can be reached on and he is @anehi2008 on twitter).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: