By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A group under the auspice of Arewa Youth Forum, (AYF) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to set up an intervention fund in Zamfara to cater for the humanitarian crisis in the State.
This was stated in a statement signed by AYF National President, Alhaji Gambo Gujungu, and made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Monday.
Gujungu said the humanitarian catastrophe in Zamfara State is very disturbing, horrible and portends great danger to Nigeria’s national security interests.
According to the Forum, based on the benefit of hindsight, it recalled a visionary, sincere and sustainable solution aimed at tackling this challenge in Zamfara State; was a motion sponsored by then Senator Kabiru Marafa, for the creation of an intervention fund of N10billion in the 2019 Budget for victims of Zamfara crisis, which the Nigeria’s Senate approved, unfortunately, the fund is yet to be released.
“Another critical part of the motion was the fact that the Federal Government was urged to set up an ad-hoc committee to be known as the Presidential Initiative of Zamfara State (PIZAMS), which seeks to cater for the humanitarian crisis in the area. The N10b is intended to among other things, assist in resettlement of the IDP’s and other persons affected by the activities of armed banditry, cater for their needs, provide shelter, water, basic education, health care (especially the wounded, children and rape victims) and others.”
The Forum said it was with great concern over the incessant and prevailing security situation in the North West particularly Zamfara state, that it decided to as a matter of utmost urgency intervened in finding a lasting solution.
“It’s worrisome that the present situation of incessant and barbaric killings, maimings, kidnapping for ransom, rape, cattle rustling and wanton destruction of property and economic livelihood assets by devilish forces of evil and blood thirsty insurgents has reached an unimaginable and horrendous proportion in a region which hitherto was peaceful and calm, called Northern Nigeria.
“Of great disturbance equally, is the fact that the lives of Nigerians in towns and villages within the zone are now completely at the mercy of armed marauding bandits, wrecking havoc at will which is negatively affecting the socio-economic activities of locals, inspite of intervention of security agencies.
“Therefore, in view of this state of affairs and pursuant to Arewa Youth Forum’s Conflict Mitigation and Peace Building (CMPB) Project, we undertook a deep and holistic research aimed at finding out the root causes of the persistent security challenge, with a view to finding lasting and sustainable solution.
“Our preliminary findings showed that within eight (8) dark years only of Banditry in Zamfara State, a conservative figure of about eleven thousand (11,000) adult males that were bread-winners of their families were killed, leaving behind an estimated conservative figure of about twenty two thousand (22,000) widows (with at least two wives to a person), and in another alarming breath, an estimated conservative figure of forty four thousand (44,000) orphans at an average of four (4) children to a deceased person. A very conservative estimate indeed for this figure could be a double or triple of this.
“The orphaned children, due to their dire situation of pain, trauma, depression, lack of care, hunger, abject poverty-stricken life, helplessness of their widowed mothers to fill the gaps as created by an unforeseen situation left by their deceased fathers, lack of compassion from society from whom they expect succur and compassion but feel ignored, will undoubtedly, become easy prey and willing tools in the hands of criminal elements that pays them pittance and recruit them.
“Unfortunately, due to their huge number, these recruited orphans that become bandits due to hopelessness in life, have added to the number of this marauding criminal elements. Hence, Banditry has now spread into neighboring States with whom Zamfara State share borders, namely, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, and now, Nasarawa State,” the Forum said.
To this end, AYF called on Senators from Zamfara state to make sure that the approved N10billion fund becomes a reality, and made available to fast track the implementation of what the fund is set to achieved.
“Senators and other members of the House of Representatives, as well as other major stakeholders need to push for the implementation of this initiative which has an over riding national security interest.
“We must therefore realise, in view of the reasons adduced above that their number is vastly growing by the day. Hence, we are indeed sitting on a volcano of Humanitarian and security challenges brewing and about to erupt with a looming consequences . God forbid! The time to act is Now!,” the statement reads.