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Special Feature: Inside Details of Zamfara State Funding for its Internal Security amid Attacks, Insecurity

Heavily armed men locally known as have continued to wreak havoc on Zamfara communities despite presence of multiple security outfits ranging from the military, police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the newly established Zamfara Community Protection Guards (Askawaran Zamfara).

The multi-dimensional insecurity facing the state has changed focus from attack and hide form to guerilla warfare where the bandits directly attack their targets openly and retreat to their hideouts unchallenged. This makes state forces their primary targets with police, scores of local vigilantes, and traditional rulers becoming their prey.

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Locals in most of the communities they frequently attacked confided to WikkiTimes that the bandits usually carry out such attacks early morning and at a later time in the evening.

They noted that  these groups carry out heinous attacks, killing anyone who dares them, abducting women and children and setting up properties ablaze, especially food items.

“They came here yesterday in the evening around 5pm, they just passed through the town and headed towards one village, we taught they were going to attack the village, but to our surprise they are here to attack Zurmi town. As they drove outside the town they just began to shoot sporadically and headed towards Zurmi Police Station”. A source who pleaded anonymity told WikkiTimes.

“They on the spot killed the DCO and injured other police officers. They searched everywhere looking for their members who were arrested by the vigilantes but couldn’t find them. They then continued their operation unchallenged for over an hour. We have a military unit but they didn’t do anything. They only retreat when military reinforcements come outside the town”, an anonymous source told WikkiTimes on Monday.

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The attack on the police station in Zurmi left seven people killed while many were abducted.

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The attack was similar to an attack they carried out on Tuesday December 13 where 15 persons were abducted and one person killed.

WikiTimes understand that the most recent attack which happened on a monday was followed by another daylight attack in the same town on the following Tuesday when residents were busy in the market and this time many sustained injuries and several others were abducted as sources confirmed to our correspondent that the bandits came back a day after they carried out a deadly attack.

Zurmi was not the only place that was attacked. 

Another attack happened in Makera village of Talata-Mafara local government where bandits killed nine people and abducted over thirty persons as sources said the bandits came in large numbers, thus instilling fears in the mind of the people who may dare to confront them.

The Zamfara State government in an attempt to nip in the bud the continued attacks by bandits to communities, inaugurated the Zamfara Community Protection Guards(Askarawan Zamfara) who will be stationed in their various communities to defend them should the bandits attack. 

However, weeks after their inauguration, the trend of attacks have  continued unabated.

Governor Dauda lawal had recently at a security council meeting said his administration will support the vigilantes with logistics but locals who confided to WikkiTimes noted that they still used daggers and sticks to confront bandits wielding AK-47.

“Some have arms but many of them do not have. The vigilantes are the ones in the forefront fighting the bandits even yesterday when they attacked us, it was the vigilantes that tried to stop them even though they (bandits) are carrying sophisticated weapons’ ‘, a local told WikkiTimes on phone.

On Wednesday, February 7th, Governor Dauda Lawal presided over the Zamfara State Security Council meeting where he mentioned that his administration has supported the vigilantes with logistics such as office accommodations, operational vehicles(Hilux)in each local government and safety gears.

“The state government established the Zamfara State Community Protection Guards based on your recommendations. The first batch of 2,720 completed their training last week and are now deployed in all 14 local government areas in the state.

“All necessary equipment has been provided, including office accommodations in all 14 local government areas. There are 15 operational vehicles and two Hilux pick-ups for each of the 12 local government areas, except for Gusau and Maru, which have 20 operational vehicles and four Hilux each. The following safety gear has also been provided: helmets, boots, bulletproof vests, pump-action rifles, and cartridges.” He noted.

“The objective of the CPG project is to collaborate with the local people who possess a deep understanding of the terrain to complement the efforts of security agencies. Hence, the success of this project relies on the cooperation of the heads of security agencies in the state since the standard operating procedures of the Community Protection Guards mandate that they cannot conduct any operations without the support of the military, police, and DSS.

“I want to inform the council that the state security trust fund was inaugurated today. The trust fund aims to source funds for security-related activities and procure security hardware to combat banditry and other related crimes in the state”, said the governor in a statement by his spokesman Sulaiman Bala Idris.

Govt Statements, Promises Backed with Funds?

Although security is usually funded by the federal government ,states usually promise to ensure interventions, mostly supporting local outfits to also augment the efforts of the federal government. 

In 2023, Zamfara budgeted the sum of N3.8 billion for its ministry of security and home affairs, however only N590.3 million was spent .

The state planned to spend N1.8 billion from its security and home affairs budget for 2023 on capital expenditure, however nothing was spent on capital expenditure for the state’s home affairs and security ministry for the year.

In 2022, Zamfara state budgeted the sum of N2.3 billion for its Ministry of Home affairs and security total expenditure , however, it spent N994 million as of the end of the year.

Of this amount, the government budgeted N292 million for its capital expenditure in 2022 but recorded 0% performance.

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In 2021, the ministry budgeted the sum of N2.7 billion and spent N1.8 billion at the end of the year. Of the total budget the sum of N1.2 billion was earmarked for capital expenditure, however 0% performance was recorded.

This would mean that for three years, Zamfara state government never spent any amount on capital expenditure for its home affairs and security ministry.

Further review shows that the state’s ministry of home and security affairs have been spending heavily on personnel but not equipment.

Although the state spends on “Public order and safety”. Expenditure of this nature includes; “support for police services, law courts, fire protection services”.

In 2023, while the sum of N7.8 billion was budgeted for public safety and order, N2.4. Billion was actually spent. Of this amount, no money was spent on capital expenditure.

In 2022, the state voted N462.5 million for public order and safety but did not spend any amount out of this budget.

In 2021, the state earmarked N5.1 billion for public safety and order, it however spent N2.3 billion for the full year. Of the money spent, none was expended on capital expenditure.

Money spent under “Public order and safety” are largely spent for personnel and overhead costs, budget performance documents review show.

2024 Budget Offering Hope?

Already for 2024, the state has budgeted the sum of N13.703 billion for internal security and home affairs. Of this amount N21.5 million is earmarked for personnel expenditure , N582.3 million is earmarked for non-debt recurrent expenditure. 

The promise of the government on procurement of equipment for its “community protection guards” may be due to a N12 billion budgeted for “security trust fund”. 

Another N500 million was earmarked for provision of security amenities to border villages in the 2024 budget.

Capital expenditures are used for equipments and other asset purchases.

Does the Law Permit State Governors to Invest in Security Infrastructures

Historical trends show that governors are allowed to equip security in their respective states.

In 2015, then Lagos state governor was quoted as acquiring security vehicles and equipments worth N4.765 billion. The support was to equip the rapid response squad of the state.

In 2015, the then Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-rufai, donated 107 patrol vans to security agencies.

The statement credited to the Zamfara state government itself on the creation of community protection guards also shows that states can  provide efforts aimed at internal security for its citizenry. 

Thus, meaning that the non-performance of Zamfara state capital budget for its home affairs ministry and its public safety/order isn’t because the law frowns against it.

Zamfara state government has vowed to end insecurity in the state. The state government promised this at the launching of the security trust fund. 

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