A committee set up by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State to find solutions to banditry and other security challenges in the state has indicted top military officers and traditional rulers for complicity in the spate of violence that has killed more than 6, 000 people in the last 10 years.
The committee on banditry in Zamfara State was inaugurated by Matawalle in July and its investigation covered June 2011 to May 2019. The committee, chaired by former Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, which submitted its report on Friday, said it had material evidence that five emirs in the state, 33 district heads, and several village heads were complicit in the wave of banditry in which more than 6,319 men and women had been killed.
Abubakar, who made the revelation, did not announce the names of the indicted traditional rulers.
He said 10 soldiers, some policemen, and civil servants were discovered to be involved in the banditry, which has lasted for about a decade in the state.
The former Inspector-General, however, lauded some security personnel and one emir, whom he said acquitted themselves creditably in the protection of the people. He said the committee had recommended that the emir be conferred with national honour while the officers should be promoted.
Abubakar said the 300-page report of the committee would be relevant to other state governments and the federal government in the effort to address security issues in the country.
The committee said in the report that a total of 4,983 women were widowed, 25,050 children orphaned, and 190,340 persons displaced by banditry over the period. It said Fulani herdsmen lost 2,015 cattle, 141 sheep and goats, 2,600 donkeys, and camels to rustlers, while 147, 800 vehicles, motorcycles and others were burnt at different times and locations within the period.
Matawalle said while receiving the report that the state government would set up a N50 billion fund to support victims of banditry in the state, especially orphans and widows. He said a foundation would be set up to manage the fund in line with the recommendations of the committee.
The governor said, “I commend the foresight of the committee members for recommending to my administration to launch a N50 billion orphans and widows foundation.
“I will discuss this important recommendations with President Muhammad Buhari with a view of launching the foundation in the first quarter of 2020.”
He said the foundation would have a board of trustees made up of trusted and credible Nigerians with impeccable records of selfless service.
The governor said 6,319 men and women were killed within the period, vowing that the government must take care of the education of the 25,050 orphans and meet other responsibilities to the victims.