Hundred of thousands of small scale traders have lost their businesses across Zamfara State under the whirlpool of security measures put by the State Government through the ongoing activities of the task force committee constituted to tackle the activities of the lingering banditry and the teeming bandits’ informants.
The closure of all markets in the state and the subsequent destruction of shops across the commercially enterprising areas especially within Gusau the state capital, and other strategic places around the state had crippled commercial activities to the extent that multitude of breadwinners could no longer afford feeding their families.
Although the cancellation of weekly markets operations had contributed immensely towards discouraging use of telcoms services relied upon by the informants who always disguise as traders or merchants to feed the bandits with information on where should be attacked unchallenged or who were on the roads as merchants and could be kidnapped for lucrative ransom.
According to massive response on the shutdown of telcoms services by people from around the state, it was a welcome decision as kidnappers could no longer have opportunity to negotiate ransom with the relatives of their captives, but in the same light, communities were also fenced out from communications across to security agencies especially when they were under attack by bandits.
The position taken by the State Government and the Security Agencies on the fight against banditry and kidnappings in the state was crystal the right steps towards ensuring safety of innocent lives and properties, but more formidable strategies were needed to discourage free movements and further attacks by the criminals in some areas.
One of the greatest challenges the measures put by the State Government and Security Agencies in the fight was the rapid increase of scorching hunger among the teeming populace especially as the bans and restrictions on weekly market sessions, sales of fuel, firewood and charcoal, movements of motorbikes fitted with clutch system and the restricted banking services were still in force.
The restrictions have negatively impacted the prices of some commodities such as charcoal which was sold at 1,500 to 2,000 naira per bag now skyrocketed to 7,000 naira, while bag of rice which was sold at 20,000 to 23,000 naira also rapidly attracted increase to 30,000 naira instantly.
Another itching factor that rapidly plunge people into great apprehension difficulties was the arrest and interception of incoming foodstuffs and other stocks into the state by a constituted taskforce chaired by the former commissioner of security and home affairs Hon. Abubakar Muhammad Dauran (aka Justice).
The State Attorney General, barrister Junaidu Aminu, who declared that the supply of foods into the state should be allowed unhindered access, laments that, “Report reaching me reveals that a sachet of Spaghetti sells for N1,500 at Dansadau district due to scarcity of already restricted food items.
“I have spoken to the task force committee and reminded them there was no any ban on importation of foods into the state, and I am sure they would have taken that into consideration during their operations, just as the main aim was to prevent bandits move to take over the state, and no doubt the State Government and Security Agencies are succeeding”.
Meanwhile, reports by the fleeing members of the devastated communities revealed that, the activities of bandits were still the topic of the day across remote villages where records of shops’ break in search of foods by the various groups of starving bandits could not allow peaceful living in many areas.
A fleeing villager from Kungurki village under Kaura Namoda local government area of the state simply identified as Malam Dankande, narrated that, the bandits stormed their village couple of weeks ago and embarked on breaking shops in search of foods while others were shooting sporadically to scare away people.
“They invaded our village in the afternoon and started firing AK47 rifles aimed at dispersing people who might have think of resisting their operation, they came with large number of camels instead of motorbikes as usual upon which they loaded all the looted bags of assorted grains and finally disappeared into the nearby bushes.
“It is now a clear indication that, the bandits are starving due to lack of foods and they are now using camels as their means of transportation, that must have been as a result of measures taken by the State Government, but the development has a negative impact on our living because we too are starving in many ways, we are rendered jobless and homeless, and we lack food to eat”, Dankande has cried.
Reports have it that, the bandits were incessantly attacking communities across Shinkafi, Zurmi, Tsafe, some parts of Gusau and Maru recently, that has been seen as reason the number of people who seek refuge in Gusau the state capital and other places alike was fast growing.
In another development, the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ayuba Elkana, has paraded categories of suspects ranging from banditry, informants, illegal sellers of fuel to bandits and other traders that were arrested while on the move for delivery of stocks like cigarettes and hard drugs to the bandits’ camps in the bushes.
In a confessional statement by the suspected fuel supplier to bandits, Halidu Abdullahi, said he was a serving civil servant but, could not received his salary for three consecutive years for reasons unknown to him, the reason he had no alternative but to engage in such a filthy business for survival with his large size family.
In another development, CP Elkana has during the parade last weekend, announced the rescue of six kidnapped victims who were abducted by bandits in Chukun local government area of Kaduna State on the 19th of September 2021, explaining that, they have been debriefed by Police and were given necessary medical treatments after which they would be transferred to Kaduna Police Command.