Sani Shinkafi, former Chairman of the Committee on Prosecution of Bandits and Related Offenses in Zamfara, has described banditry as an organised crime with traditional rulers, security agents drug dealers and doctors involved in it.
He also claimed that bandits operating in Zamfara State were better equipped with sophisticated weapons than the military and the police combined.
In an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, Shinkafi said that banditry had become a criminal enterprise in the state, adding that more than 400 villages in Zamfara were under the control of bandits.
He noted that the weak border control between Zamfara and neighbouring states made it easy for bandits to commit crimes in one state and then flee to another.
He said, “Banditry has turned to a criminal enterprise so and it is very difficult to put an end to it in shortest period of time.
“The problem we are having now, more than 400 villages are under bandits in Zamfara State and the problem is we have weak border control. Like where I come from in Shinkafi local government, we share border with Niger Republic, Sokoto and Katsina states, so it is very easy for bandits to commit crime in Zamfara and fly to Sokoto, Katsina or Niger.
“So it’s a criminal enterprise a lot of people are into. Traditional rulers, security agents, drug dealers, doctors are involved, that is why we call it organised criminal enterprise.
“That’s why if you look at the banditry, they have no ideology to promote but they turned it to an economic drive gang of criminals.
“The good people of North West especially Zamfara were calling on the president to save us because from Gusau to Dansadau, Gusau to Sokoto, Gusau to Shinkafi are death zones.
“What I am saying is there is a need for the new service chiefs to change the narratives and they need to be be equipped because the armed bandits in Zamfara State have more sophisticated weapons than the Nigerian military, police put together in Zamfara.”
Shinkafi disagreed with former Governor Ahmad Yarima’s call for dialogue with the bandits, arguing that it was tried and failed.
“Yarima’s call for dialogue with the bandits is misplaced of priority. I am telling because former Governor Bello Matawalle has tried that, so I have seen no reason for calling for dialogue because these bandits are not sincere,” he said.