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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Banditry: Humanitarian crisis looms In Zuru Emirate



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. . . It’s true, but we doing something – KBSG

By Our Correspondent

BIRNIN KEBBI – There is a humanitarian crisis brewing in Zuru Emirate, Kebbi State as thousands of villagers  flee their Communities each day from increased invasions by bandits in the last one week, our correspondent who went round affected places found out.

Three of the four Local Government Areas (LGAs) that make up the Emirate that are  most affected are Sakaba, Donka/Wasagu and Fakai LGAs.

The Kebbi State Government, through Kebbi State Commissioner of Information, Barrister Rakiya Tanko Ayuba also affirmed the situation on Saturday. She said that the state government was doing something about it.

Also, the Member representing Sakaba Constituency at the Kebbi State House of Assembly, Hon. Salisu Dangoje, lamented the humanitarian crisis in his Constituency and called for urgent assistance before it is too late.

Blessed with low hills, several rivers and wide fertile valleys the Emirate is by the standard of Northern Nigeria relatively prosperous.

It is acclaimed for its huge breeds of livestock which include cattle, sheep and camel. 

With a landmass of 9000kmsq, (more than the size of Anambra and Lagos State combined) Camels and oxes are deployed into semi-mechanised farming, thus churning out millions of tons of grains for sales and consumption by the locals every year.

 But Baditry which started as isolated cases in Zuru Emirate some seven years ago, has become a large scale daily occurrences from 2020 to this year, taking to a peak in the last one month.

A large share of these livestock have been rustled and most their owners displaced from their Communities.

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At the time of filing this report there were reported ongoing raids in rural Communities, usually in broad daylight. 

This is causing a massive influx of villagers who sometimes trek  for hours to reach the nearest urban or semi-urban areas that are considered safe in Zuru Emirate. 

“Right now the number of refugees in Donka town is three or four times the number of residents here,” said Mallam Jibrin Abubakar Danko, the village head of Donka, a semi-urban settlement in Donka/Wasagu LGA.

“I can’t estimate their numbers, but they are in their thousands,” he said.

“They are still coming each day and feeding them is a huge challenge,” he said.

According to him, most of them escaped with only what they had on, carrying not a grain of food. 

“Some of the women have resorted to begging. I don’t know what will happen in the next few weeks,” he said, ” we need urgent intervention,” he pleaded.

The displaced persons  are almost everywhere that looks secured in the Emirate including Zuru town, and it’s satellite areas such as Sabon Gari and the historically rich Dabai town.

Others where human misery could be seen are Ribab, Bena, Waje, Ayu, Yalmo and even vulnerable Unashi, which was also viciously attacked last April.

Other places where the IDPs can be sighted are: Diri Daji, Dirin Gida, Jan Birni, Beve and other areas our correspondent could not visit.

“We are hungry all the time and we don’t know how long we can manage it here” said Mariam Bitrus, 50, mother of 11 children at the United Mission Church of Africa (UMCA) at Diri Daji , she told our correspondent last Thursday.

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“My village (Maganda, Adai ward in Sakaba LGA) was attacked by thieves and they stole our cattle and burnt our grains and we had to run down here last week,’ she said. 

“The food that the government shared did not reach us. And it is more than two weeks now,” she added.

But Kebbi State state government has said it was aware of the humanitarian situation in the Emirate and it was doing something about it 

According to Kebbi State Commissioner of Information, Barrister Rakiya Tanko Ayuba, the state government and individuals have donated food items recently, but that more will be done. 

“No government or any human being that will not be touched by what is happening in Zuru Emirate,” she said.

“The governor is deeply troubled by the development and he is putting in measures to assist the security personnel on ground with more logistics and other support.

“As for the IDPs we shall continue to assist them with food and other essentials. We are pleading for the understanding of everyone,” she said.

“We are also asking for prayers that God will intervene in this matter,” she told our correspondent on the phone.

In the same manner, Hon. Salisu Dangoje, said, “while we need food and clothing urgently, our foremost demand is security,” he said 

” Our people are not poor and lazy. They are rich from farming and keeping animals. Once there is adequate security they will return and start their lives all over,” he said.

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