In recent times, man’s inhumanity to man has crisscrossed the entire North-Western part of Nigeria, becoming an albatross defying known solutions, militarily or otherwise. Governors of these states as well as prominent leaders in the region had come forward to proffer solutions to the cankerworm which is alien to the region. However, while some of these solutions were working in some states, others were not working at all. Hence, the need for an inward-looking for solutions.
In Zamfara State, banditry, kidnapping, and robbery were among the vices eating deep into the very fabrics of the society. A very known and common problem of herder/farmer clashes had grown into a new dimension ballooning into cattle rustling and other bigger and unprintable criminalities.
Upon inception as the Chief Security Officer of Zamfara State, Bello Mohammed (Matawallen Maradun), who had inherited a state enmeshed in a near-total breakdown of law and order, got his first headache while pondering over the security situation in the state. It is often said that it is better to spend a little time and effort to deal with a problem at the right time than to wait until later when it might get worse and take longer to deal with. True to that, after deploying a lot of wisdom, commitment, and resilience, of course with the honesty of purpose and fear of God, the administration of Governor Matawalle circumvented all obstacles and brought relative peace in the state within his first 100 days in office.
Notably, in the last eight months, people have been going about their normal businesses as all markets have re-opened, all roads are now safe to ply and all farmers have gone back to their farms. This was achieved through a well-articulated and honest peace initiative hinged on “Sulhu”, a peace accord predicated upon mutual agreement to give and take as well as forgive.
To maintain the already being achieved peace and promote harmony amongst the populace, Governor Matawalle had fashioned out ways of empowering those bandits who accepted the peace accord willingly. One of such empowerment initiative is the establishment of Rural Grazing Areas (RUGA), one in each of the three Senatorial zones of the state.
These are not ordinary RUGA known to many, but modern settlements with all modern facilities to support a modern way of cattle-rearing and dairy product production and development. The first of the three is under construction and is nearing completion. It is situated a few kilometres away from the historical town of Maradun.
Governor Matawalle had taken the visiting Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai to the site.
Thrilled by the initiative, the Army chief didn’t mince his words in commending Governor Matawalle and his commitment to the restoration of peace in the state. “It was a wonderful journey into a new world of excellence for rearers, one of its kind in the whole of West Africa,” the Army chief remarked.
This massive project being erected on a landmass of nearly 2,500 hecters with a complete network of roads. It is housing large but segmented grazing areas where all seasonal and nutritious grasses will be planted for all year round grazing.
It is equipped with water systems supported by overhead tanks and an underground reservoir that can store 2 million and 21 million liters of water respectively. The site is surrounded by water canals and earth dams.
In order to make the settlement perfect for living, it has 57 prototype houses for the inhabitants who want to settle there to copy while a school is provided for them, a hospital, a veterinary clinic, a police outpost, a mini-stadium for recreation as well as worshipping places.
While RUGA project is only a tip of the iceberg, I make bold to say that the resultant impact of the project is being felt by all an sundry in the state, especially over 25,000 displaced persons had returned to their homes, and hundreds held captive had reunited with their families.
Governor Matawalle had said the project will serve as a genuine indication of his administration’s commitment to the fulfilment of his promise to settle down all repentant bandits and attract those who are into modern animal fattening and diary production business.
That’s in addition to the deployment of drone technology, procurement of 200 surveillance vehicles equipped with hi-tech security gadgets as well as boosting the morale of the security agents.
Bappa writes from Gusau.