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Insecurity: We’re Not Returning To Nigeria, Say 50,000 Sokoto Residents Taking Refuge In Niger Republic

Come and rescue us, Governor Tambuwal begs Army chief

Signs Executive Order to contain banditry

More than 50,000 residents of 17 communities in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto state who relocated to Niger Republic two weeks ago following incessant bandits’ attacks have refused all entreaties for them to return home.


The villagers who are currently taking refuge at Tudun Sunnah village, Gidan Runji Local Government in Maradi State of Niger Republic insisted that their former villages were not safe as there was still insecurity there.

The state commissioner for careers and security architecture Colonel Garba Moyi (retd), said the state government had been making efforts to see that the residents returned to their villages in Nigeria but “they were adamant, alleging that there was still insecurity in their former villages”.

He however said, “we will not relent in our efforts, we will continue to pursue and counsel them on the need for them to return home, that the security situation has improved tremendously.”

The member representing Sabon Birni North constituency at the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Aminu Al-Mustapha Boza who raised the alarm on the pathetic situation of the IDPs in Maradi blamed Governor Aminu Tambuwal for abandoning his people to their fate. But Governor Tambuwal, speaking through his media aide explained that providing security was a prerogative of the president and directed him to call the Minister of Police Affairs, the Chairman Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, Senator Ibrahim Gobir and the Chief of Army Staff over the security situation in his area, to which the lawmaker responded that he was not the “Chief Security Officer” of the state.

Painting a picture of the sorry situation of the condition of the IDPs camp, the lawmaker described the condition of the refugees as pathetic because they were staying in an open place with no toilets, food or drugs.

“Our people are being killed every day. So far, we counted more than 50,000 of them taking refuge in Niger Republic. It took us two days to count them in the presence of Governor of Maradi and chairman of Gidan Runji. They are living under the rain and sun, with nothing from the local and state governments. I bought some bags of garrin rogo, rice and mosquito nets with some drugs for them. My fear is what will happen if there is any outbreak of disease in the camp”, Boza said.

But the state Commissioner later said that the condition of the IDPs in Maradi had improved. He said Sokoto State Government was concerned about the welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), noting that the state government has expended so much on IDPs in the area of relief materials and provision of medicare.

Moyi said the IDPs were only in Niger Republic because of what they were getting from the donors. The commissioner explained that donor Agencies have documented the IDPs and sent to their headquarters in Europe, America and other nations around the world for the purpose of securing donations for them.

On his part, the state Commissioner for Health Dr Muhamnad Ali Inname said adequate provisions have also been made by the state government to ensure regular supply of essential materials, including supply of drugs and logistics adding that this has greatly helped as the state was yet to record outbreak of any disease in the IDPs camps.

The Director General Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) while describing the present condition of the IDPs from the state in Maradi, Niger republic as stable, however dismissed claims by the state legislator representing Sabon Birni local Government honourable Aminu Boza as baseless and said they were aimed at tarnishing the image of the governor. Responding to Boza’s accusation that SEMA had not provided relief materials to the IDPs he said the agency conducted on the spot assessment of all the affected villages with relevant stakeholders with a view to providing them with shelter and needed relief materials

He said SEMA in collaboration with the state government was determined to bring the IDPs back to Nigeria.

“No sensible government will want to see her citizens residing in foreign land as refugees. We are making progress and by the grace of God, all of them will soon return to their respective villages and towns,” the DG said.

Also, the Senator representing Sokoto East Senatorial zone which for months served as bandits’ den, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir warned political elites to stop politicizing the issues of IDPs in Sokoto state. He said bandits were criminals who have no religion or political considerations whenever they want to attack. He said, “the bandits know no political party, whoever comes their way will not be spared. My constituency is the most affected area when it comes to activities of bandits, scores were killed and villages razed to ashes while occupants were forced to flee in all the eight local governments I represent in the Senate.

“As a politician and senator of the area, I contributed so much to see to the welfare and well being of the IDPs in Sokoto state, I have visited them, I have provided relief materials and monetary incentives for them to start a new life. Informants are our problem as they give information on the economic status of individuals to bandits for monetary gains and unless they are fished out by the communities themselves, the act of banditry will continue to flourish.

“At the National Assembly I have made many presentations and motions on the plight of IDPs in Niger Republic and in Rabah Local Government Area and the government sent a detachment Airforce and fighter jets some time last year. Our concern has brought a number of donor agencies within and outside the country to also donate food items, tents, water, toilet facilities and drugs in the two IDPs camps. Qatar Charity Foundation is constructing a 250 housing units for IDPs in Rabah local government, a water scheme, market, school and a daily prayer mosque as donation”.

Come to our rescue; Tambuwal begs Chief of Army Staff

Meanwhile, Governor Tambuwal had stressed the need for more equipment, personnel and joint decisive steps to be taken by the security forces in the country to roll back the current deplorable security situation. Governor Tambuwal made this observation when he received the new General Commanding Officer 8th Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto, Major General Uwem Bassey.

Tambuwal further urged the Chief of Army Staff to come to the rescue of Sokoto state, which needed very urgent intervention as bandits’ attacks were becoming alarming in the state.

Assuring the new GOC of his administration’s sustained and improved collaboration with him and other security agencies in the state, the Governor stated that already plans were underway by the state government to tackle the problem.

General Bassey in his response said there was need for the support of every citizen for the maintenance of peace in the state while commending Governor Tambuwal for convening the security summit held with all stakeholders in the state.

He assured that the Nigerian Army was going to do its work effectively and professionally to enable the people of the eastern zone of the state plagued by bandits’ attacks to go about their normal businesses without let or hindrance.

Governor signs Executive Order

Following the prevailing insecurity in the state, occasioned by armed banditry that led to the daily loss of lives and property, hindering free movement of people, goods and services, Governor of the State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has signed an Executive Order to contain the situation.

The Governor in exercising powers conferred on him by Sub section (2) of Section 176 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, issued the order to be known as: Security Challenges (Containment) Order. The Order according to the Governor took effect Wednesday, September 1, 2021 and he directed:

“Immediate and total closure of Isa Marnona Road to all motorists until further notice. Travelers plying that road are advised to go through Goronyo-Sabon Birni axis.

“Lorries/Trucks or other vehicles carrying firewood from the forests are hereby prohibited and any attempt to contravene the order will be decisively dealt with”.

The state Government also suspended the sale of all animals at the markets in Gada, Goronyo,

Gudu, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno Local Governments Areas;

The order further “prohibits transportation of cattle using trucks/lorries in Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno Local Governments Areas; carrying three persons on motorcycles and more than three passengers on a tricycle throughout the state; and prohibits the sale of second-hand motorcycles at Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Ilela, Isa, Kebbe , Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal Tangaza, Tureta, Achida, Gande, Gwadabawa and Wurno Markets;

Government also “Prohibits the sale of petrol in jerrycans at filling stations; only designated filling stations are allowed to sell petrol and diesel of not more than N5,000.00 for motorists in Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Ilela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah, Tambuwal Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno Local Governments Areas.

Only authorized essential workers (health personnel, security personnel and Journalists) could use tricycles and motorcycles beyond the banned periods.

Governor, Tambuwal, urged the people of Sokoto State to adhere to the provisions of the order, which was passed after wide consultation with relevant Stakeholders and constituted authorities as well security and law enforcement agencies.

The governor said the measure was taken on the need to introduce additional measures in the affected areas with a view to containing the banditry and mitigate the damages it causes to social and economic activities and as well as preserve peace.

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