President Muhammadu Buhari(GCFR), Commander of the Armed Forces,Federal Republic of Nigeria.
STATE OF AFFAIRS IN ZAMFARA STATE
1- I want to congratulate you on the occasion of your only male child marriage and I wish him happy marriage and Allah’s guidance.
2- Sir, I am personally don’t want to blame you for not given desired attention on the security problems bedeviling Zamfara, this has to do with our leaders pretension and indifference attitudes about the security challenges facing the state, we expect them whenever they meet you to use the occasion to brief you on security situation in our state but the reverse is the case, their main concern is how to win election or occupy political office.
3- I want to inform you that in Zamfara State many people are sleeping in the bush hiding for fear of being attack, people are being killed and kidnapped on daily basis, women are being raped and molested on daily basis, many villages and towns were deserted, the inhabitants are taking shelter from neighboring villages/towns with relative peace that are not under the control of the bandits.
4- Rural dwellers are trooping out from their villages to Local Government Headquarters and the State Capital to take refuge.
5- Our people cannot go to their farms and can’t claim their animals and other belonging, economic activities has been halt and grounded, there is always palpable tension and fear nobody know which village is next to be attacked, bandits are kidnapping people at will.
6- Thousand of our people are in the hands of the bandits, the most recent kidnaping involving high number of people is the kidnapping of students of College of Agriculture and Animal Science Bakura and kidnapping of over one hundred and twenty (120) people from gorar namaye village of Maradun Local Government.
It will pain you to know that these bandits tied people including women and children on a tree through rain and sun, day in day out without given them enough food to eat, our people were treated and traded like animals.
7- Over one thousand five hundred (1500) people from different villages and towns are still hostage with the bandits and over (30,000) people from different towns and villages were displaced by banditry activities most of them women and children (widows and orphans). They are roaming in the major towns’ streets begging for food and roof where they can lay their heads, some are sleeping on the streets while others are sleeping in the Motor Parks and the state government seems not to care about their plight because there’s no single designated official IDPs camp in the state and the the state government is not mentioning it to anybody.
8- Bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers are moving freely in our villages with sophisticated weapons. One half of our fourteen local government councils are under control of the bandits. People can hardly travel 10 kilometers away from any local government headquarters with rest of mind without fear of being attacked/kidnapped except few local government headquarters that are along the federal highway, even those along the highway are not spare except one or two (I.e. Gusau the state capital and Bungudu local government which about 20 kilometers away from the state capital).
9- Hardly a week will pass without attacking/kidnapping people along Yankara-tsafe-Gusau federal highway and Talata Mafara-Bakura-Sokoto federal highway.
10- Our political leaders aren’t telling you the true situation in our state, their main concern is how to win election, our Senators and House of Representatives members are no more distinguished and Honorables, they’re not representing us, we are being slaughtered every day but they remain mute.
11- At the moment Northeast is safer than the Northwest especially Zamfara State the (Headquarters of Bandits) Kaduna, Katsina and the Niger State. Mr. President, Are these states too big for you to declare full military operations and rid them out of banditry and kidnapping activities.
12- Please direct the security forces to go and hunt these criminals from their hideouts not to wait until there’s attack and then follow up with reprisal attack, the hideout of these beast is known, their various camps in Zamfara are not out of sight. Let the military be offensive rather than defensive. Sir, How long will it take the military and other security agencies to bring an end to this? Or our are military trained only in repelling attacks? I am asking these because you declared through the National Security Adviser that you won’t exit office as failure.
13- I am calling on Mr. President to direct National Security Adviser, the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police to review the security situation and adopt a new strategy in containing banditry activities especially in Zamfara State. The combination of military approach, community policing and the use of the local security volunteers will prove helpful in neutralizing the bandits.The success recorded by military in the Northeast would not have been tremendous without the help of civilian JTF, of which some of them were trained and retained as military officers. I would like to implore the Federal Government to:-
I- Adopt the strategy adopted in the Northeast in fighting banditry? because the local people know the bandits and their hideout better than the military, continuing relying on military alone will not solve the problems because the military are not hunting the bandits from their camps and hideouts for fear of being ambush, because they don’t know the terrain of the Dansadau ring forest that have linked with many villages and towns of Zamfara state, connect and shared boundaries with Kaduna and Niger States. Ending banditry and kidnapping activities in Zamfara is as good as ending it in the whole country.
Some of the village people know the bandits and their hideouts but are afraid to divulge the information to security because the bandits threatened to wipe them if they reveal their movements to security, in the past they were assisting military with information about the bandits but they stopped because they were always at the receiving end of the crime when the military carry out operation and left, but if their children are trained, co-opted in the operations, then absorb as security personnel after the war it will motivate them to continue assisting security agencies in the fight against banditry, because they know the problem end sooner than later.
II- Federal Government should acquire and deploy technology that can easily trace and track movements and whereabouts of the bandits and neutralize them, since there’s existing directive by your humble self to shoot at sight anybody seen with armed illegality. The use of technology will reduce the number of civilians casualties (i.e.collateral damage) bacause evidence has showed that sometimes military mistakenly carried airstrikes on innocent civilians.
III. Direct the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to come to the aid of IDPs in Zamfara, through various NGOs/CSOs already assisting them, forsaking them poses another security threat to the larger society.
14- I am appealing to you on behalf of the good and responsible people of Zamfara State as Commander of the Armed forces whose primary responsibility is to protect people and their properties to look at my calls and give security situation in Zamfara the desired attention it deserve based on its severity.
Your faithfully,Sulaiman Tukur Gusau, Zamfara State firstname.lastname@example.org