Ring true by Yemi Adebowale
Adamu Aliero, the dominant terrorists in Zamfara and Katsina states has been in the news in the last eight days following his turbaning as Sarkin Fulani by the Emir of Sabon Birnin Yandoto in Zamfara State. This terror kingpin makes money from killings, kidnappings and levies imposed on several communities by his gang in these two states. Aliero operates openly and unimpeded. I will never forget how this terrorist and his boys attacked the Magama area of Jibia, Katsina State, last year, during which they killed a Divisional Police Officer, Abdulkadir Rano. Emir Aliyu Marafa says Aliero is now a repentant terrorist and peace-maker within the emirate and should be honoured. With his title, this killer is now the leader of the Fulani clan in the Emirate. It can only happen in Nigeria.
The spokesperson of the Emirate, Lawali Magaji, argues that with Aliero’s installation, the people of the Emirate could now go to their farms without fear of attacks, adding, “Aliero has been trying to stop banditry within the emirate and we have seen positive changes. The conferment of the title of Sarkin Fulani on him will give him more power to control the entire Fulani people within the Emirate. It will also enable him to checkmate the activities of the recalcitrant bandits and take action against them.”
Emir Marafa and Magaji are economical with the truth by saying Aliero had repented. As at press time, his boys were still killing, kidnapping and raping residents of Katsina State in villages and communities that border Zamfara State.
Even if Aliero had truly repented as claimed by Emir Marafa, does that mean he won’t face the law for all his crimes? Several people in communities he controls were brutalised for failing to pay the levies he imposed. Sometime last year, Aliero imposed a N40 million levy on Nasarawar Mai Fara in Zamfara, which the poor people could not raise. No fewer than 20 people were subsequently killed by Aliero and his gang in the village.
In Bakura, three people, including the chief imam of the area, Akilu Dan Malam, were killed by Aliero and his boys, also for failing to raise levy demanded.
He was behind the 2021 terror attacks in three communities in Bakori and Funtua local government areas of Katsina State that led to the death of 13 residents. They later attacked two communities in Funtua LGA where they murdered 10 residents and abducted the village head, Mohammed Umar.
Aliero’s installation was performed in Yandoto town, the headquarters of the Emirate, yet, security agents did not use the opportunity to apprehend this terrorist with huge human blood on him. They can’t claim to be unaware of Aliero’s whereabouts. Then, a day after his turbaning ceremony, the Katsina State Police Command was reminding Nigerians that the notorious terror leader was still on its wanted list. Aliero was declared wanted in 2020 for crimes such as culpable homicide, terrorism, armed robbery, and kidnapping in Katsina. A bounty of N5 million was placed on him.
The spokesperson for the police in Katsina, Gambo Isah readily pointed to the killing of over 100 residents of Kadisau village, Faskari Local Government Area of the state in 2021. The police can apprehend him if they truly want to do this. But I am not sorry to say that they lack the political will to arrest Aliero.
Governor Bello Matawalle’s response to the installation of Aliero was to suspend Emir Marafa. He also dissociated his government from the action and inaugurated a committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the action of the Emir. The governor’s responses look good. But then, Matawalle is also guilty of the charges against Emir Marafa because he has also been frolicking with terrorists. Matawalle claimed to have changed, but I very much doubt it.
I was so pained in 2021 when I saw late Auwal Daudawa, the terrorists that masterminded the abduction of students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, at the Zamfara State Government House, with Matawalle cuddling him. That was an outlaw, who should be in jail, frolicking with Matawalle at Government House, Gusau, in the name of his ridiculous amnesty for the brigands. The terrorists surely got enough cash from Matawalle to buy more than the weapons submitted. Of course, Daudawa eventually died by the sword. For over two years, Matawalle was pumping huge money into this hopeless amnesty that was encouraging more militias to join the flourishing “business” of killing and kidnapping.
Right in Matawalle’s backyard is the notorious Fulani militia leader, Dogo Gide, who controls the southern part of the Zamfara forest and further into Niger State. Matawalle knows the whereabouts of Gide and his boys. What step has he taken to end his reign of terror? I can’t remember any.
I also heard Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State threatening that even if Aliero accepts to live peacefully with the farming communities in Zamfara, his government still considers him a terrorist “and would do everything humanly possible to arrest him and face the wrath of the law for the crimes he had committed.” So, how many of the terrorists ravaging Katsina State has Masari motivated their arrest? The Katsina governor is very good at showboating. At a point, he was frolicking with many of these terrorists in the name of a weird amnesty.
Another terror leader frolicking with some governors and Emirs in the Norh-west is Bello Turji. His headquarters is in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, which shares borders with two provinces in Niger Republic – Maradi and Tawa. Sabon Birni is home to scores of other terror groups under different leaders, but the notorious Turji is the main man here. Other terror leaders in Sabon Birni are Nagona, Jambo Baki, Useini Dankwano and Dan Bakkolo. From Sabon Birni, they carry out attacks in Zamfara and Katsina.
This blood sucker called Turji once wrote an open letter to President Buhari, Matawalle and the Emir of Shinkafi, listing five conditions for peace. These include dissolution of vigilante groups in the North-west, a meeting with traditional rulers and religious leaders, and a stop to the “marginalisation” of Fulanis. A terrorist that ought to have been killed was giving conditions to be met by government before he would end his attacks. This is the same Turji that once burnt 23 people alive in Sokoto State. What a country!
The Emirs and governors in the North-west know the terrorists inflicting pain on this country. Our security agents know them. Unfortunately, the political leaders obstinately fail those law-abiding Nigerians who voted for them in order to enjoy some protection. Our security agents can take out these killers but have failed to do so. This shows the terrorists are enjoying official protection. I stand to be corrected. I have also not heard our President specifically directing security agents to apprehend these terror leaders. This is food for thought for everybody today.
Nigerian Masses Gasping for Breath
The inflation figure for June 2022 is frightening. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), inflation surged to 18.60 per cent, up from 17.71 per cent in the previous month, the highest since January 2017. The masses of the people have been struggling to meet up with prices of goods and services for over seven years. Most homes are struggling to sustain two meals a day. Rising inflation and shrinking value of the country’s currency are fast eating up the thin income of majority of Nigerians. This is the reason the masses of the people are experiencing unprecedented hardship. The prices of virtually everything you can think of are skyrocketing – food, petrol, gas, electricity, health care, transportation. Unfortunately, governments at all levels have not shown seriousness about ameliorating the suffering of the masses.
Nigeria’s economy is flat on its back, no thanks to over seven years of mismanagement by the Buhari government. The state governments have not fared better. The federal government borrows heavily to fund unnecessary things like new equipment for the state’s television station, NTA. This is why Nigeria’s total public debt stock, comprising federal, state and local governments is N39.556 trillion as at December 31, 2021. This is N1.566 trillion higher than the N38 trillion posted as at September 30, 2021. As a result, the states and the federal government use a large portion of their revenues for debt servicing.
Annually, recurrent expenditure eats up a large chunk of the federal budget, with little left for capital expenditure. Thereafter, corruption eats a large part of the little left for capital projects. No doubt, the federal and state governments have failed abysmally to provide public goodies like basic education and healthcare, security, power, roads, and other infrastructure. So, the standard of living of the average Nigerian continues to depreciate.
A World Bank report released in April this year, titled, “A Better Future for All Nigerians: 2022 Nigeria Poverty Assessment,” noted that poverty reduction had stagnated in this country since 2015, with more Nigerians falling below the poverty line over the years.
It was a serious indictment of the Buhari-led federal government that has been running the show at the centre since 2015 and the state governors of this era. This report simply declared that the various poverty alleviation programmes at all levels of government in beloved Nigeria since 2015 have been mere greasepaints. Lives in the real sense of it are not being affected.
The report states: “Since the back-casts provide yearly estimates, they also suggest that poverty may have started declining in the first part of the 2010s, but that this trend halted and then reversed around 2015.”
This report backed an obvious fact across Nigeria. More and more people are being pushed into poverty by rising prices of food, fuel, health care, education, transportation and the falling value of earnings. Unending terrorism and falling Naira have also pushed many into poverty. Many have lost their jobs in the last seven years, with manufacturers struggling for survival; all due to the hopeless economic policies of the Buhari government.
Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world due to years of mismanaging the economy. Governments at all levels must proactively address rising food prices so that the masses can smile a bit again.
25 Kajuru Women Still with Terrorists
or those who have not been following the story, here is a quick recap. Communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State are persistently attacked by terrorists, who kill, maim and abduct. During one of such attacks on June 30, the terrorists cherry-picked 25 women and 15 others in three communities in Kajuru LG. They stormed the villages with over 30 motorcycles, murdered 20 residents, before kidnapping the victims. These abductees are today, 23 days old in the dungeon of the terrorists. At a point, the abductors asked for N100 million ransom. The affected families raised N9 million and sent to the terrorists. They collected the money and still refused to release their victims.
This is the situation in Kajuru. Scores of people are being dehumanised. Affected families are weeping and begging for Kaduna State Government’s intervention. Governor Nasir El-rufai is evidently unperturbed. Security agents are looking the other way. This is the level my beloved Nigeria has degenerated in the last seven years.