Okechukwu Isiguzoro, President of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, has called for the arrest and prosecution of traditional rulers found culpable in escalating banditry in Zamfara and other states in Nigeria's North-West.
In an Interview with Punch Newspaper, Isiguzoro said the arrest of culpable traditional rulers would be a major step in tackling the rising violence in the area.
Isiguzoro said: “The recurring death of scores of innocent Nigerians is worrisome. The marching order of President Muhammadu Buhari to security chiefs is timely and there is no need to entertain any fear in ensuring that they quell the rebellion and insecurity in Zamfara.
“The acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has identified the nefarious activities of some traditional rulers, who are deeply involved in gold mining, as one of the causes of the rising violence and banditry.
“We are calling for the immediate arrest of these traditional rulers to save Nigerians from bloodshed; otherwise, the North-West could be another North-East.
“We believe President Buhari’s marching order should begin with the immediate arrest and prosecution of these traditional rulers that are promoting banditry across the North.”
The group also warned armed herdsmen involved in the destruction of farmlands in the South-East to vacate immediately, adding that Biafran agitators from the region would soon react if nothing was done.
“The problem in Zamfara is not about banditry alone. You have some socio-economic interests also because of the illegal gold mining activities.
“On the issue of bandits coming from Niger Republic, we believe that there are some cross-border bandits and this makes it a multi-faceted task before us. That is why we believe the efforts should be all encompassing. Of course, we have that effort under the auspices of the Multi-National Joint Task Force in the North-East, and in the North-West region, it will be done also.
“There is this flow of arms coming in from the Maghreb. The porosity of our borders is a problem. Perhaps after the clearance of the bandits’ hideouts in Zamfara, those agencies in charge of the borders must be empowered to prevent such cross-border criminals.”
He added that all the security agencies had ongoing operations in the North-West, which were all in support of Operation Sharan Daji being carried out by the Armed Forces.