I’m not holding brief for the suspended Emir of Yandoto who is presently in the news for appointing a bandit-leader, Adamu Alero as “Sarkin Fulani.” It’s reckless to do so especially as some of some of his colleagues were already found culpable; in deep romance with bandits in Zamfara State. But this is not enough to overlook the predicament of other innocent emirs in the state some of whom are already on the list of kidnapped and ransomed citizens of the state like the Emir of Bukkyum or the likely desperation that might’ve pushed the Emir of Yandoto to abandon logic and common sense, to honor a bandit leader with a traditional title. As they say, he who wear the shoe knows best where it pinches. We should ask, why was the crowing of a bandit witnessed by a mammoth crowd made up of mostly his victims and potential victims? The answer is easy. The Emir and the people are unequivocally subdued into submission. Tsafe LGA, like other LGAs in Zamfara State, is a hotbed of banditry and so far, there are no promising signs of things getting better anytime soon. The process of halting and reversing the impact of banditry in the state is slow and cumbersome due to long term negligence by both the state and the FG at different levels of the mutation of the problem overtime. Then it’s fair to say the Emir and his people are left to their fates, so to say, and must resort to their own devices as a response to the natural order of survival — self-preservation. Unarguably, Tsafe is at the mercy bandits of all categories and levels of brutality. Not even Tsafe, perhaps with the exception of Gusau, Zamfara State is not even a case of survival of the fittest but the luckiest.
While Tsafe and environs were submerged in Alero’s notoriety, the federal and state governments are helpless, almost powerless, to protect the people or at least, confused and bereft of ideas to tackle the notoriety of Alero and other co-bandits in the area, leaving the people of Tsafe and other contagious areas across traditional and state lines. In other words, people in the area are entirely on their own making the option of self-help not only justifiable but a lone option. If the Emir in his desperation-induced wisdom sees and believe crowning Bandit Alero as Sarkin Fulani is an easier option to bring even temporary relief to his bandit-pauperized people more than supporting them to acquire arms to protect themselves as approved by the Zamfara State Government, what’s wrong with that? After all, the turbanning is mere symbolic. For far longer than many could recall, Adamu Alero is unquestionably the “Sarkin Fulani” and de-facto government in the area and even beyond; collecting taxes and punishing defaulters with more ease than a conventional government and using the AK-47 denied them by the law if not by their penury. To deny this is to deny the obvious.
That the Emir of Yandoto is not among the 5 emirs, 34 District Heads and many Ward Heads found culpable or complicit by a committee set up by Zamfara State government to identify the remote and immediate causes of banditry in the state, is enough to earn him the benefit of doubt as to the purpose and intention of his going this low to get relief for his people. In any case, giving concessions to bandits in a desperate effort to protect citizens is not a new thing in Zamfara as in other states. Numerous state governments at different points sat and negotiated with deadly bandits. I’m sure Zamfara state did so with bandits possibly including Adamu Alero. These state governments did so not because they thought it’s decent. They did so because in the absence of a desirable option it’s natural to go for the available option. They were pushed to the wall by a glaring weak military capacity to be confrontational or even experiment with their exclusive right to brutality which was usurped by bandits like Alero. And this phenomenon is not restricted to Zamfara as a state or northwest as a region.
Not long ago a militia leader, Terwase Akwaza, aka Gana, was killed by the military in Benue State. Before he was arrested and neutralized by soldiers, Terwase Akwaza, aka Gana, was a notorious bandit who dined and wined with the Benue State Government. Actually, Gana was in a government convoy when he was intercepted and dragged out of a car by soldiers at a checkpoint in Gbitse, near Yandev roundabout in Gboko and later neutralized. People from Benue will sure have more stories to say about how powerful Gana was and how close his relationship with Benue State government was before nemesis finally caught up with him. To this day, Ortom is still trying to justify his relationship with Gana on the basis of giving seeking succor for Benue people given the failure of government to protect the people. The story is near identical in the S’East where Nnamdi Kanu is holding the entire region hostage and being cheered by even the high and mighty of the region out of fear. Ditto, in the northeast, at the peak of its terror campaign, we had Governors buying pages of newspapers to apologize to Boko Haram for saying things that irritated the deadly group. This is saying, Emir of Yandoto did nothing different or new by courting the friendship of a deadly bandit to get relief for his people in the absence of approved and efficient means to do so. He’s likely going after an available option in the absence of a desirable option.
That some senior officials of the state government attended the event according to reports only proved my position. Why where they at the event? Were they not aware what the event was about? How could such an event pass the government sleeping? Or worse, in which capacity its officials attended the event? Many unanswered questions to make the suspension of the Emir mere scapegoatism or mildly, a face saving measure by the government The state government must have been embarrassed by media reports about the abnormality of the event and fairly so. The government, like the Emir, is trapped in a very inconvenient situation with very inconvenient options to deal. On one hand, it will like to have a placated Adamu Alero who may likely allow peace to reign in the area if bribed with a new status of significant prestige in Fulani culture. On the other, it has to deal with the media backlash of approving an event that may seem overly insensitive to people removed from Alero’s influence and coverage of terror. Then, it’s only fair for analysts to wait for the government to finish investigating the affair to give the public finer details for more robust debates. Personally, I think both the Emir and the Zamfara Government were only at the wrong place at the wrong time.