- The Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) has sent an urgent message to President Muhammadu Buhari concerning Zamfara state
- The group wants the president to release the N10 billion approved by the National Assembly for the victims of armed banditry in the state
- The motion to release the funds was sponsored by Senator Kabiru Marafa in the 8th Senate
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President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) to release the N10 billion approved by the National Assembly for the victims of armed banditry in Zamfara state.
At the tail end of the 8th Assembly, the Senate following a motion by Senator Kabiru Marafa approved the inclusion of N10 billion in the 2019 budget to assist thousands of victims of armed bandits in Zamfara state.
It also urged the federal government to set up an ad-hoc committee to be known as the Presidential Initiative of Zamfara State (PIZAMS) with a 10-year life span to manage the said funds and subsequent allocations and donations.
The AYF, after a critical investigation into the insecurity challenges in the northwest region, stated that the funds have to be released as a matter of urgency.
The national president of the forum, Comrade Gambo Ibrahim Gunjugu, urged President Buhari to, as a matter of strategic national interest expedite the setting up of PIZAMS.
“We undertook deep and holistic research aimed at finding out the root causes of the persistent security challenge, with a view of finding a lasting and sustainable solution.
“Our preliminary findings showed that within eight dark years only of banditry in Zamfara state, a conservative figure of about 11,000 adult males that were bread-winners of their families were killed, leaving behind an estimated conservative figure of about 22,000 widows (with at least two 2 wives to a person).
“In another alarming breath, an estimated conservative figure of 44,000 orphans at an average of four children to a deceased person. A very conservative estimate indeed for this figure could be double or triple of this.
“The humanitarian catastrophe in Zamfara state is very disturbing, horrible and portends great danger to Nigeria's national security interests. Therefore, to complement the ongoing process of security operations across-board, there is a need, for an urgent and strategic solution, which is to target one of the key breeding grounds of banditry in the northwest, Zamfara state, and give it the required attention it deserves.”
The group lamented that the motion sponsored by Senator Marafa, which the Nigerian Senate approved, has not been given the required attention, even as it queried why the fund has not been released.
Meanwhile, in Katsina, the plan by the state government to grant amnesty to repentant bandits is not going down well with Dr Mahdi Shehu.
Shehu who is the chairman of Dialogue Groups lamented that due to the activities of the criminals, over 33,000 children have become orphans in the state.
According to him, in the last five years, over four thousand people have been killed, while over four thousand women have been widowed in different parts of the state.
In a related development, former Kaduna lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, has condemned some state governments' practice of giving houses, shops and farmlands to repentant bandits.
Senator Sani condemned the practice, noting that it encourages other youths to join banditry, especially those who are only paid stipends under the federal government's social scheme.
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