Pandemonium in Zamfara, protesters attack Emir’s palace

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Pandemonium in Zamfara as protesters attack Emir’s Palace & Govt appointees

Charles Nwoke, Zamfara, Nigeria
January 3, 2021

Aggressive youths of Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara State took to the streets on Saturday to protest and agitate for the high spate of insecurity in the area.

Like other parts of Zamfara state, Shinkafi has experienced several killings and abductions by armed bandits.

The angry protesters invaded the palace of Muhammed Makwashe, the Shinkafi Emir, and the residences of political appointees in the state, mostly those appointed to mediate peace dialogues with bandits in Shinkafi local council.

The government of Zamfara state has adopted a policy of engaging armed robbers in dialogue while doing their best to secure the state. Many Nigerians have bemoaned and condemned the policy, saying it encourages criminality. But the state government has defended it saying many abducted victims have regained their freedom due to the diplomatic relations and some of the criminals have laid down their arms.

Residents of the area, including some of the protesters, told newsmen that the agitators used derogatory terms to accuse the state government and traditional rulers of underreporting their ordeals with the armed hooligans who frequently raided their communities at will and gets away with it.

The protesters, who damaged the Emir’s Palace, equally called for the termination of peace dialogues with the bandits and demanded weapons to enable them to defend themselves.

Sources revealed that the latest protest followed the abduction of a popular community volunteer and vigilante, Sama’ila Lagga, who is said to have been a target of the bandits for a long time.

The unknown gunmen kidnapped Mr. Lagga at his residence in Shinkafi, on Saturday, leading to the violent protest to express their grievances.

According to the source, residents called off the protest after a report that Mr. Lagga was abandoned by the armed men at a riverine area in the outskirts of Shinkafi and the security officials took him to a hospital for medical attention.

Muhammad Shehu, the Police Public Relations Officer Zamfara Command, in a statement, disclosed that the police have apprehended 18 of the protesters “for organizing and partaking in an unlawful assembly, illicit demonstration and damage to public and private properties in Shinkafi.”

The PPRO said the police recovered Dane guns, cutlasses, and sticks from those arrested.

Mr. Shehu said a team of police officers and repentant bandits responded quickly to Mr. Lagga’s arrest and rescued him. He was reunited with his family after he was debriefed.

He said, “The youths who were suspected sponsored to undermine the relative peace of the area were carrying Dane Guns, cutlasses and sticks to the Palace of Emir of Shinkafi and houses of One Murtala Dele and Moyi Sidi where they vandalized windows and doors of the three houses.

“Joint Police and Military quickly responded and dispersed the protesters to avoid unwarranted breakdown of law and order and possible loss of lives and properties. Eighteen (18) Suspects were arrested in possession of Dane Guns, Cutlasses, and Sticks. All the suspects are in Police Custody undergoing interrogation.

“The Commissioner of Police CP Abutu Yaro FDC has Ordered the State CID to commence a discreet investigation into the unlawful protest with a view to unravel the circumstances behind the dastardly act. He further warned parents and guardians to always have firm control of their children so that they don’t involve in violent activities,” the police spokesman said.