Obviously overwhelmed by multiplying banditry, Zamfara State Government has advised residents to resort to self-defence against marauding insurgents but ensure they do not break the law.
The Northwestern state is one of the places worst affected by banditry in the country, where kidnapping for money has become real business. However, government did not say how innocent, armless residents would defend themselves against surging hoodlums with arms.
“People must not take laws into their hands, but should take due legal process in protecting their respective communities when attacked by any group of hoodlums,” a statement signed by the State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara on Wednesday said.
“The state government has encouraged people in the bandits vulnerable areas in the state to come out enmasse to defend themselves when ever bandits attack their community.”
Meanwhile, the statement announced that the police have apprehended 35 criminals “comprising mostly kidnappers, informants and those aiding and abetting banditry in the state.”
The criminals “have since been interrogated and have confessed to their various crimes and have already been transferred to Abuja for further action before prosecution.”
The statement added that some of the criminals arrested are civil servants.
“Government therefore seriously warn bandits to renounce the criminality and embrace the state government dialogue and peace initiative to become good citizens, stressing government’s intention to take punitive measures against criminals, as a matter of urgency,” the statement said.
“The state government has also strongly warned traditional rulers to keep vigil eyes to landlords who give out their houses to people with suspicious character within their domains, as government will soon start to arrest any landlord found giving out his or her property on rent to bandits, kidnappers, informants and dealers of weapons for the bandits.
“Government will not hesitate to demolish any house given out on rent to criminals.”
Also, the state government said it had lifted the ban on commercial activities on four markets in the state.
“The action follows several calls by concern citizens both within and outside the state, to lift the ban to allow the common man have access to his basic needs during the holy month of Ramadan. The affected markets are Magami, Wanke, Dansadau and Dauran,” the statement said.
“The four markets were banned from any activities last week following attacks and killing of innocent people within the affected communities.”