ZAMFARA STATE - A Looming Humanitarian Crisis

Have you taken a moment to contemplate the harrowing condition that awaits the people of Zamfara State in the coming _six (6) months_ ? would it be persecution or death without farming and businesses?

With more than half of the population relying on farming for their livelihoods, the prospects are alarmingly grim. The thought of what might unfold in the absence of farming and businesses across many local government areas of Zamfara State is truly terrifying, considering the escalating violence and insecurity.

As a stakeholder in Maradun Local Government and a resident of Gusau Local Government Area, I am inundated with distressing calls and messages almost every day, reporting unfortunate killings and kidnappings of our fellow Zamfarans. 

Recently, on July 16, 2023, we had the relief of welcoming four brothers from the same family who miraculously escaped from their abductors. These young men were kidnapped in Gusau, the state headquarters of Zamfara, with the kidnappers initially demanding a staggering sum of 100 million Naira for their release. Tragically, just yesterday (July 20, 2023), at around 2 am, another family was victimized in Dan-Baza Town, Maradun Local Government, where three young ladies and their elder brother were abducted. The scale and cruelty of these evil activities surpass any humane comprehension, and we fervently pray for God's protection from such heinous acts (Allahumma Ajirni Fi Musibati Wa Akhlif Khairan Minha).

However, the situation has escalated to a level more dire than ever before. As of today, July 21, 2023, reports indicate that bandits slaughtered five individuals in Jihiya village of Maradun LGA and abducted 15 others. Additionally, they launched an attack on Homawa Village in Bungudu LGA, rustled animals. In another dreadful incident, bandits in military uniforms blocked the Anka - Bagega road and mercilessly shot four passengers. These passengers, including Aliyu No-Delay Bagega, Abu Ruwa-ruwa, Alh Hamisu Garuje Kawaye, and a boy from Tungar Daji, are presently receiving medical care at a health facility in Bagega, Anka Local Government.

The escalating insecurity in Zamfara has reached truly terrifying heights, putting the lives of our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles in constant jeopardy. They can no longer venture out to their farms safely, nor can they sleep at night with peace of mind. Their livelihoods and safety have been shattered.

According to a report from my uncle, bandits have issued a chilling warning to the people of Maradun and other local government areas in the state, forbidding them from cultivating their farms this year. Those who dare to defy this order face the grim possibility of losing their lives. Consequently, numerous farmers, including my own relatives, have abandoned their farms. Consider the plight, frustration, and despair of farmers who solely relied on their agricultural produce to feed their families and sustain their daily lives. The current situation has rendered a significant number of farmers unable to tend to their farms.

The state of affairs for the common people in Zamfara, who are suffering from the perilous activities of bandits, is simply inconceivable. Countless lives, including that of my elder brother-in-law (may Allah SWA forgive him and accept his Shahada), have been tragically lost in the Farm. Many numerous yet to mention were also killed.

In conclusion, the situation at the moment is as follows:

*Going out to farm is akin to facing a death sentence at the hands of bandits. 

*Staying at home offers no safety, as attacks or abductions remain a looming threat.

*Fear has gripped the entire state, affecting the movement of people, including businessmen and those visiting family.

In my humble opinion, let us set aside politics and urgently seek proactive measures to address this grave crisis. Both federal and state governments must return to the drawing board and find sustainable solutions to curb this menace. The people of Zamfara State are in desperate need of immediate action to restore peace, security, and hope."

 *Engr. Dr. Nura Makwashi Maradun*

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