Vanguard (Lagos)

8 February 2013

Nigeria: Where Thieves Reign

editorial

THIEVES have taken over parts of Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara States.

The police and governments of those States have conceded that part of the country to marauders and they have no shame in confessing there is no solution to a situation that shows that plays up the insecurity in the country.

Each time the marauders strike, they operate without let. They arrive on time, the people know them, the traditional rulers are in mortal fear of them. When they are operating they take anything they want, including food and money.

The group that comprises about 100 armed men has become a feature of Birnin Gwari whose emir Alhaji Zubairu Jibril II, ran to Kaduna for succour.

He got none. Policemen have been killed, their stations burnt, inmates released and ATM machines blown up.

Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, listened to the emir's cries, "The entire Birnin Gwari Emirate has been overtaken by armed robbers.

Unless the state government takes a drastic step towards arresting the situation, it will come to a point where the villagers will be forced to abandon the community. The armed bandits have taken over our land."

These cries of desperation would have been unnecessary if governments were fulfilling their obligations to the people. The most important of these is security. Without security, it is more challenging to tackle other areas that can improve the lives of the people.

How were the people supposed to take the reaction of the governor? "This is a serious problem indeed. But it is a responsibility of the three states that share boundaries with Birnin Gwari.

I want to assure the Emir that this administration would do everything humanly possible to assist the community. I urge you to enjoin your subjects to pray to God for a lasting solution".

Hours after the emir laid his pleas, Birnin Gwari was raided, visited with the same venom that the marauders unleash whenever they arrive.

Would the governor blame the people of Birnin Gwari for not praying enough? When did prayers become the substitute for government's constitutional role of providing security?

Birnin Gwari, like so many outer parts of the country where presence of security agencies is minimal, and governments' indifference to the security of areas that do not produce core minerals on which the economy runs, makes the case for state police stronger.

If states that harbour Birnin Gwari had their own security arrangements, they would have been in a better position to deal with the matter.

Authorities in Kaduna sound like the constitution-promised welfare and security of the people as the primary purpose of government excludes the peoples of Birnin Gwari. It is bizarre.

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