Dishonourable honour (EDITORIAL)

By AdvocateNews on 26/07/2022

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Ado Aleru
Ado Aleru

•Title for Zamfara bandit leader turns chieftaincy award on its head

Formally, dishonourable people don’t deserve honour. It is, therefore, curious that 47-year-old Ado Aleru, described as a “repentant banditry kingpin,” was decorated with a traditional title in Yandoto, Zamfara State, on July 16. The Emir of Sabon Birnin Yandoto in the state, Aliyu Marafa, conferred the title of Sarkin Fulani on him, making him the leader of the Fulani in the emirate.

Emirate’s spokesperson, Lawali Magaji, was reported saying Aleru “has been trying to stop banditry within the emirate and we have seen positive changes.” The title, he added, “will give him more power to control the entire Fulani people within the emirate. It will also enable him to checkmate the activities of the recalcitrant bandits and take action against them.”

The state government’s reaction demonstrated its disapproval. Governor Bello Matawalle suspended the emir and set up a committee to investigate Aleru’s installation.

This is understandable, even commendable.  Aleru’s background is an issue. He was a notorious bandit, and it is uncertain he is reformed.  In 2019, he had participated in a peace meeting between the state government and some bandits’ leaders, but it did not bring peace. In June, he was alleged to have lAnother peace meeting involving Aleru and community stakeholders took place some weeks ago following attacks on Mada community in Zamfara State. “He was there with some of his boys and promised to halt the attacks,” a resident who attended the meeting was reported saying.

From all indications, the emirate gave him the title out of fear rather than respect. He is expected to protect the emirate from others of his kind. Banditry has escalated in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger states, leading to the killing and displacement of many people. Aleru’s installation marked a subtle surrender by the people, and loss of confidence in the capacity of the authorities to ensure security.

It is noteworthy that the Federal Government declared bandit groups operating in the country terrorists under Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2021.  Government had said: “These groups have engaged in attacks and wanton destruction of lives and properties in communities, kidnappings for ransom, kidnappings for marriage, mass abductions, cattle rustling, enslavement, imprisonment, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence and attacks on commuters.” These activities “constitute acts of terrorism, threat to national security and the corporate existence of the country,” it stated.

Considering Aleru’s unlawful activities as a bandit, it is scandalous that he was considered for a title. Reacting to his installation, the Katsina State Police Command said he was a wanted man.  Its spokesman, Gambo Isah, explained that Aleru is wanted for culpable homicide, terrorism, armed robbery, and kidnapping in Katsina.

It is unclear why he was not arrested during the ceremony. Failure to do so exposed the police and other relevant security agencies to deserved criticism; and also called into question the government’s fight against banditry.

Aleru’s chieftaincy title is unjustifiable, and must not be allowed to stand. It could encourage the installation of bandits as traditional chiefs in other areas for protection purposes; it could also promote odd and unacceptable moral standards.

The multiplicity of bandit groups under various leaders, who are mostly rivals, poses a serious threat to security. It would be absurd to expect bandits to provide protection from rival bandits.

 

The authorities should not encourage this approach to solving the problem of banditry. Enforcing the law and bringing bandits to justice is the ultimate solution. 

THE NATION

Posted 26/07/2022 08:58:06 AM

 

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