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Coronation of Zamfara Bandit Reveals Elite Collaboration – Terrorism.

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The new information regarding the awarding of a chieftaincy title to a renowned bandit and reputed mass killer confirms elite collusion and the Nigerian government’s incorrect response to terrorism. Nigerians were shocked when Aliyu Marafa, the Emir of Yandoto, Zamfara State, turbaned Adamu Aliero as “Sarkin Fulani,” the leader of the Fulani, ostensibly to deter other bandits and allow farming and commerce to resume in the area. Aliero was wanted by police in three states for more than 100 murders. This is excessive appeasement; Aliero must be located and brought to justice, and the emir, as well as all the officials and security personnel who enabled the disgraceful display, must be named, held accountable, and removed from their positions.

The attempt at legitimization by Aliero was a pathetic submission to non-state entities. It denotes the inability of official authorities to uphold their authority and the loss of their monopoly over the means of coercion, which is a crucial component of state sovereignty. Elite cooperation with criminals is flourishing in the North.

Over 100 terrorists were there, according to residents of Tsafe town, where the celebration took place, when Aliero was given the honorary title of Sarkin Fulanin Yandonton Daji. The emir pronounced, “your appointment and subsequent turbaning today is in line with the demand for peace and reconciliation efforts needed for our people in our emirate, Tsafe LGA, Zamfara State and Nigeria as a whole.”

Outraged citizens forced the Zamfara State Government to distance itself from the ceremony, suspend the emir, and order Yandoto’s district chief to assume control of the emirate. An inquiry commission was established by the governor, Bello Matawalle. The N5 million reward for his apprehension and the police’s continued search for Aliero were both reiterated.

However, a number of unsettling truths confront Nigerians. First, the security agencies, Tsafe LG, and Zamfara State Government are acting hypocritically. The event had extensive pre-publicity. Officials from the LG, State Security Service, government, police, and districts cannot claim ignorance. Samaila Mudi, the head of the LG, is said to have supported it as a “peace-making endeavour.” They had plenty of time to ruin the event if they were actually unrelated. No, they didn’t.

Senior state and LG officials reportedly attended the ceremony, according to news sources. Among them were a district official, a retired deputy inspector general of police (who is currently the state commissioner for security and home affairs), a representative of the state ministry of communications, and others. There were reportedly police officers present as well. In any case, the ruthless bandit claimed to have been nearly begged to accept the title, according to Deutsche Welle radio.

Second, this keeps up Nigeria’s absurd appeasement of terrorists and criminals approach. Unlawful amnesty for seasoned offenders has been ingrained in society. In 2020, Bello Turji, the leader of another notorious bandit group, received 15 Hilux cars, livestock, and cash in return for giving up robbery and his weapons. Within a few weeks, he returned with more dexterity after using the bribe to acquire more weapons and recruit more outlaws to his army.

The N60 million ransom paid by the government for the release of 300 schoolgirls abducted in Zamfara in 2021, according to a bandit leader, was partially used to buy weapons, the BBC reported on Monday. Aminu Masari, the governor of Katsina State, pardoned similar criminals as “repentant bandits,” but they immediately resumed their criminal activities with even more vigour.

He denied kidnapping anyone in a terrifying interview he gave to the BBC Africa Eye programme, but boasted: “My men do it (kidnapping); I just go and kill them (people).”

He and his murderous gang must be apprehended by the authorities, who must also bring them to justice. Stopping the appeasement strategy is necessary. Sadly, the military, whose members are likewise suffering greatly at the hands of terrorists, also engages in the reckless behaviour. Islamic rebels are expanding from their base in the North-East to the entire North and advancing south while the military consistently reports the purported “surrender” of thousands of “repentant” jihadists.

Their tenacity was demonstrated by the brazen attack on Kuje Prison in the Federal Capital Territory. SBM Intelligence stated that 964 security personnel—including 642 soldiers—were murdered in combatant attacks in the 12 months leading up to October 2021. In June, a terrorist attack in Shiroro LGA, Niger State, claimed the lives of 48 security personnel, including 34 soldiers. According to The Cable Index, 1,743 Nigerians were killed by various non-state actors in the first three months of this year, with Niger and Zamfara topping the list.

A poorly thought-out amnesty will not succeed since there are typically no consequences for criminal behaviour while there are significant rewards for kidnapping, livestock rustling, and looting. Trials are rarely held for terrorists or outlaws. Instead, some receive amnesty as a reward; chieftaincy is the most recent level.

The tale makes it clear that the police are aware of the robbers’ locations. They can roam freely in many communities. New testimonies indicate that the emirate council was the one who contacted Aliero. A prominent Islamic preacher has met with bandits alongside several media. Terrorists freely bargain for ransom over the phone with the loved ones of their victims.

Nigerians deserve the right to know why the SSS, military, and police are unable to track down their camps, storm them, and remove them so that their prisoners can be released.

State police must therefore be developed right now because a federation cannot have just one failed federal policing system. There shouldn’t be any ungoverned areas in Nigeria anymore.

The scandal should end the appeasement strategy. The people who planned the title’s awarding ought to get a harsh punishment. Finally, we urge the National Assembly and President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) to formally proclaim a state of emergency in Zamfara State in order to eradicate banditry.

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