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Editor's note: In this piece, a Gusau-based public affair analyst, Aminu Magaji, writes about the spate of kidnappings in Zamfara state
In the last ninety (90) days, several events have occurred which seem unconnected but on a critical evaluation, one will boldly affirm they are related.
These three (3) events are the proposed impeachment of the deputy governor, Mahadi Aliyu Gusau, the kidnap of the father of the speaker of Zamfara state House of Assembly and the recent death of the personal assistant to the deputy governor; Aliyu Madawaki.
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After the defection of Governor Bello Muhammed Matawalle from the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the deputy governor hurriedly organised a rally in defiance to the security report issued by the commissioner of police of the state.
And also in brazen disregard to the sanctity of human lives as it was hours after a massive onslaught by bandits which left scores dead, and many properties destroyed, the state House of Assembly led by Rt. Honourable Nasiru Magarya promptly made its intentions of commencing impeachment proceedings against the insensitive deputy governor.
The inglorious rally which amount to gross misconduct, misappropriation of public funds, breach of trust and abuse of office, were some of the allegations levelled against him.
In a move to thwart the actions of the state House of Assembly, Justice Obiora Egwuatu of Federal High Court gave a judicial pronouncement restraining the Zamfara state House of Assembly and the Chief Judge of the state from taking steps to impeach the deputy governor.
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The order which was contained in a ruling in an ex-parte motion with suit number, FHC/ABJ/CS/650/2021, was brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its lawyer, Ogwu Onoja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
It was ruled that the defendants to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the PDP against the impeachment process, the House was also ordered from taking actions against its other members who are still in the PDP.
Lastly, he (Ogwuta) directed the plaintiff (PDP) to serve all the defendants in the suit before Friday and adjourned the matter till July 23, for hearing of the motion on notice which it was reported that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, the Senate president, the speaker of House of Representatives, the speaker of Zamfara House of Assembly, Governor Bello Matawalle and Chief Judge of Zamfara are 1st to 7th defendants respectively.
As we are all aware that the House of Assembly had asked the deputy governor to appear before it on July 27, 2021. While this was cheering news to the camp of the deputy governor on the 19th July, the adjourned date was exactly 14 days after, which is the expiration of the exparte order as exeparte order do not last “Ad Infinitum."
Their victory was short-lived as the judge excused himself from the case and transferred to another Judge (Justice Ekwo) to ensure a speedy hearing of the suit.
As the fate of the deputy governor hung in the balance, on the 5th of August 2021, bandits stormed Magarya in Zurmi local government area of the state, moved directly to the speaker’s House, and kidnapped his father and his wife.
It was reported they (bandits) shot sporadically as they moved towards the house to pick their target. In a total departure from all high-profile kidnaps by these criminal elements, it was alleged they refused to collect the huge ransom offered by the speaker while still holding on to his father, claiming and making it evident the kidnap was not for money but for other unknown reasons.
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Another instance is the death of Aliyu Madawaki, the personal assistant to deputy governor some days ago in circumstances that remain confounding and will forever remain unknown as he had been buried in accordance with Islamic injunction.
The late PA to the deputy governor was said to be crucial to the investigations of his principal as he was said to be firmly in control of all official and informal interactions, transactions and activities on behalf of the Mahadi Aliyu Gusau.
While there are no hard facts, it is circumstantial that these events are related as it reveals the desperation by some elements to preserve their stakes or interest. In the face of the recent successive onslaught against bandits which was made possible through Matawalle’s ingenuity, and the recent declassification of the report of the committee set up by the state government on banditry indicting many prominent persons, one must begin to see the connection between these events. One would expect relevant security agencies to expand the scope of their investigations bearing this in mind.
As we hail Governor Bello Matawalle on and also celebrate the role he plays in the impressive war on terror and banditry, it is pertinent to call for increased awareness of his safety as the level of desperation is seriously getting out of hand.