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Birnin-Gwari residents armed against bandits, says community leader

By Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Ernest Nzor (Abuja)
01 July 2022   |   3:05 am
Following the directive of Governor Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara State that citizens should arm themselves with guns, residents of Birnin Gwari Emirate in Kaduna State have started arming themselves...

Bello Matawalle

CNG tackles Irabor, asks Northern leaders to protect citizens

Following the directive of Governor Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara State that citizens should arm themselves with guns, residents of Birnin Gwari Emirate in Kaduna State have started arming themselves against further invasion by bandits.

A community leader in the emirate and former Managing Director of Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC), Alhaji Zubairu Abdulra’uf, pointed out that the people of his emirate have already adopted that option.

Abdulrra’uf said the incessant attacks on his people completely paralysed economic activities in the rural communities and made travelling in the area difficult or even impossible in some places.

He said: “We have reached the point of no return. People are being pushed to the wall. Just yesterday, Randegi is one of the areas where these bandits have their routes through Zamfara to Niger State. The people of Randegi confronted the bandits, who tried to overrun the farming community, and succeeded in dislodging the criminals. So, I think our people are now ready, if the government cannot perform its constitutional function.”

The former broadcaster with DW Radio also said the bandits had been imposing tax on Birnin-Gwari farmers for over two years, adding: “Yes, N200 million was paid to bandits in Randegi district alone. When you talk of Birni-Gwari Local Council as a whole, it’s between N300 million and N400 million paid to these bandits.”

COALITION of Northern Groups (CNG) has commended Governor Matawalle, over his call for residents to arm themselves against bandits and terrorists, in self-defence.

The group called on the Northern governors and leaders to join willing citizens to protect and secure their communities from killers.

CNG’s commendation followed the position of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, against Matawalle’s directive.

In a statement by its Director, Strategic Communication, Samaila Musa, CNG expressed its commitment to work and advise leaders in addressing the perennial security problem in the country.

The group, which urged Northerners to reject the position of the CDS on self-defence, said: “There have been allegations of compromise within the security architecture of the country, including the military, that the Minister of Defence reportedly said that some soldiers and officers are already ‘disgruntled and unmotivated with divided loyalty’ hence their inability to protect our people adequately and save our lives.

“We note that the effort by the Zamfara government is aimed at involving and directly engaging communities in protecting, preserving and defending their lives and livelihoods against marauding terrorists that terrorise and pillage our communities with little or no requited force.”

CNG urged the authorities to revisit a security task force modelled after Civilian-JTF to be called ‘Arewa Security Taskforce’.

It challenged the CDS to explain to Nigerians how many personnel, armoured tanks and other necessary weaponry he supplied to the war theatre in Zamfara and other conflict-ridden areas.