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Terrorists Deserve Shelling, Not Negotiation.



Terrorists Deserve Shelling, Not Negotiation.
Terrorists Deserve Shelling, Not Negotiation.

Having served Zamfara State for eight years, former Governor Ahmed Sani Yerima can’t pretend that he is not aware of the danger bandits-nay terrorists- pose to the state and its economy. These heartless criminals have continued to make life miserable for the hapless citizens of the state, especially the rural dwellers.

Zamfara State has borne the worst brunt of terrorist activities by persons who have taken killing as a hobby, raping women with reckless abandon, displacing communities, rustling cattle, and subjecting vulnerable Nigerians to the goriest nightmare.

That Zamfara is synonymous with killings by terrorists whose attacks and subsequent murder is unprovoked is, to say the least, most mildly. The statistics of killings by terrorists in Zamfara state alone are startling.

Between January 4-6 of 2022, these marauders killed over 200 people during attacks on Kurfa Danya, Kurfa Magaji Rafin Gero, Tungar Isa, and Barayar Zaki in the Bukkuyum and Anka local government areas of the state. In March this year, specifically on election day, the terrorists reportedly killed no fewer than 50 vigilante members in the Maru local government area of the state.

In most of these communities, children are orphaned, wives are widowed, and men, lucky enough to escape the attack, have been turned into widowers. People lost their source of livelihood and have become more pauperised due to the activities of these terrorists.


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Aside from turning themselves into state actors who feel entitled to collect taxes from residents of most rural communities in the state, the terrorists bar farmers from accessing their farms, not minding that agriculture is the mainstay of the state’s economy.

From attacks on schools and abduction of schoolchildren to raids on communities, which often leave many killed, scores injured, and thousands of residents displaced, terrorists operating in former Governor Yerima’s Zamfara State have continued to make life brutish for residents.

The situation is no less so in the neighbouring states of Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna, where these marauders have long been on a killing spree.

Shockingly, while residents of communities attacked by these criminal gangs continue to count their losses, someone of Yarima’s standing suggests dialogue with these marauders. Most Nigerians find this difficult to comprehend.

According to Global Rights, a civil society organisation, in the first quarter of 2023, terrorists killed no fewer than 1 230 persons, among whom were 79 security personnel. And someone is seeking negotiation with these killers?

Curiously, Yerima had been silent on reparation for the victims of these terror acts, leading to the loss of numerous human lives and property worth hundreds of millions of naira.

It is a given that one particularly worrisome scenario is the fact that nobody, not even the terrorists themselves, can clarify the reasons for these terror attacks. There is nothing to suggest that their actions are driven by a genuine cause other than the fact that they kill for fun.

Even former Governor Yerima, urging the federal government to negotiate with these marauders, cannot say why they keep attacking and killing people.

Where was Yerima when former Governor Aminu Bello Masari negotiated with these killers who feigned repentance, only for most of them to resume killings after publicly surrendering their weapons and being rehabilitated by the government?

Assuming without conceding that these killers have a just cause and are ready for dialogue, the fact that previous negotiations failed woefully is enough for the government to perish the thought of conversation, as that clearly is not the way out. These are killers who deserve to be killed. There is clearly no need to dialogue with them.

To clamour for dialogue as Yerima is singing now amounts to rewarding criminality. It will serve as an incentive for others to spring up in the future. Why should the state negotiate with criminals?

These are people who, from all indications, see the killing of humans as a game as they bask in the euphoria of illicit consumption of drugs, raping women and girls, rustling cattle and engaging in other forms of criminality. Nothing is befitting of these killers, like snuffing lives out of them. In fact, they are a threat to national security and stability.

Interestingly, a few days after Yerima’s call for negotiation, Saudi Arabia did what nations honestly bent on combating terrorism are wont to do. The country executed five men — four Saudis and an Egyptian national — convicted of carrying out a deadly attack on a worship centre.

These terrorists attacked the Al-Ahsa governorate, killing five people and several others injured. Fortunately for that country, they were captured and shown the direct road to hell, where they belong. One Egyptian was found guilty of targeting a house of worship, shooting at security guards, and attempting to blow himself up.

Perhaps, Yerima must be reminded that even his Zamfara State has a law that prohibits and prescribes punishment for banditry, cattle rustling, cultism, kidnapping and other incidental offences.

The law prescribes the death penalty for bandits (terrorists), kidnappers, cattle rustlers, cultists and other criminals. Former Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle signed it as part of his administration’s efforts to end insecurity in the state.

That law also prescribes life imprisonment, a 10- or 20-year jail term without an option of fine for anyone found guilty of supporting or aiding banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other related offences in the state.

Tagged: ‘Law on Prohibition and Punishment for Banditry, Cattle Rustling, Cultism, Kidnapping and Other Incidental Offences, 2022’ provides a legal instrument for prosecuting banditry-related offenders.

This is in tandem with the Nigerian Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act 2013, which makes copious provisions for the punishment of persons found guilty of terrorist acts and or financing terrorism.

Specifically, the law provides that anyone who “incites, promises or induces any other person by any means whatsoever to commit any act of terrorism or any of the offences referred to in this Act, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to a maximum of the death sentence.”

No nation ends terrorism by merely negotiating with terrorists, whether repentant or unrepentant. The fitting thing is to adopt stringent measures against them and ultimately put in place workable measures to deter them.

Negotiation with terrorists has never worked and there is nothing to suggest that it will. It should not be an option in Nigeria. People who kill have lost the right to life. The federal government must provide all that the security operatives need to sustain the shelling of the terrorists’ enclaves.

Shelling, not negotiation, is what befits terrorists, and former Governor Sani Yerima should know this better. His call for dialogue with terrorists is ridiculous and callous and offends the sensibilities of the terror victims. Anything short of justice for the perpetrators and victims of terrorism is preposterous.


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