By Lawrence Olaoye
Zamfara state governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdulazeez Yari, has said that any other traditional ruler found collaborating with bandits attacking people in the state would be sanctioned.
The governor gave the assurance yesterday while responding to questions from journalists after a meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, behind closed doors.
The governor had last week approved the dismissal of seven traditional rulers in the state after they were found to have links with bandits troubling the state.
Yari acted in accordance to section 17 and Law 15 of the Zamfara State Traditional Rulers Laws that vests powers on the governor to appoint and depose traditional rulers.
Asked whether he would wield the big stick if more traditional rulers are found culpable, Yari said “Of course! Absolutely! If you are talking about general public we are almost getting to 5 million and the total number of traditional rulers is about 300, so if we find any one! Anyone! Underline the word ‘anyone,’ found wanting, he would go!”
On why he resolved to depose the traditional rulers, the governor said “What we are trying to do is to kind of teach a lesson because the problem we have in Zamfara State in the North-west is kind of a peculiar problem that some of the traditional rulers are supporting the banditry activities or taking advantage or taking money from them or relationship. That is very dangerous; to give you trust manage people through tradition and then you are taking part, directly or indirectly, so that is not acceptable.”
Asked why he intended to address the situation Yari said “Any one that we find wanting in this definitely, he must face punishment. And we are trying to use every avenue that we have to ensure that we fish out those that are within us – within the traditional rulers and outside.
That is why we hired intelligence; we hired the civilian JTF and all of them, so that they can help us by giving us the details.
For instance, we have about 2600 men and women that are working against these bandits but still it is not enough because of the terrain. The terrain is not known to them, so we have employed sons of the soil that will lead the security agencies to their doorsteps and we have been getting very serious results to our advantage.”
On his mission to the Vice President, Yari said “It is about the NEC (National Economic Council) discussing of the good date for the NEC, because this is the end of the year and usually we used to have extended NEC and looking at who and who should be invited for the NEC, being the last year for the election. That is what we discussed and we agreed that the NEC is going to be held on Friday, December 14.
The NEC is to discuss the economy and to review the performance of the economy from January 2018 to date.”
Asked to respond to call for the declaration of state of emergency in Zamfara state owing to the rising spate of insecurity in that state, Yari said “Are there not killing of security officers anywhere else in the Nigeria, except Zamfara? Why shouldn’t they call for that is the other places.”
The governor said that his N1 million cash-for-riffle (AK 47) returned by the bandits has begun to yield the desired results. He disclosed that ten AK 47 have so far been retrieved from the bandits.