OrderPaperToday – On the 10th of April 2019, Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara) moved a motion in the Senate which sought the creation of a N10 billion fund in the 2019 budget to cater for the victims of unending violence in Zamfara State.

Background

Zamfara State which is located in the North-west region of Nigeria with a population of over three million, has been consistently ravaged by the activities of bandits and kidnappers over the last few years.

These bandits raze markets and homes, killing residents indiscriminately in an orgy of mindless violence.

The cause of these killings according to recent reports is in connection with the activities of illicit gold mining; and in response the federal government slammed a ban on all exploration in the state.

It is worthy to note that there are no sufficient figures or records on the killings in the state although the death toll is on daily increase with several persons buried in mass graves.

The Claims

While making his presentation, Marafa shockingly claimed that over 11,000 adult males had been killed in Zamfara from 2011 till date but that majority of the killings had not been reported.

On the other hand, the Governor of the State, Abdul’Aziz Yari said that a total of 3,526 persons have been killed by armed bandits in the last five years.

But Senator Shehu Sani (PRP, kaduna) while reacting to Marafa’s motion in the senate, pointed out that the happenings in Kaduna state is a fallout of what is happening in Zamfara.

Sani added: “We are failing as a nation. These are symptoms of a failed state where the government has failed to tackle banditry and governors should remain in their states.”

In Sani’s contribution, he claimed that more people were killed in Zamfara state than those killed in Somalia and Afghanistan.

His exact words: “The country is at war. People killed in Zamfara State are more than the reports we get of people being killed in Somalia, Afghanistan.”

Somalia and Afghanistan are countries ravaged by prolonged conflicts with huge casualty rates in deaths, displacement and destruction of properties.

Findings

The 2018 UN Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict gives the data of causalities recorded in Afghanistan.

The data was compiled by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office.

According to the report, the total number of deaths recorded from 2011 to 2018 in Afghanistan is 26,908 with a breakdown as follows: 3,133 in (2011), 2769 in (2012), 2969 in (2013), 3701 in (2014), 3565 in (2015), 3527 in (2016), 3440 in (2017), 3804 in (2018).

Unfortunately, there are no reliable records for Somalia.

Verdict

Going by the findings juxtaposed against the claims of Senator Marafa, Senator Sani’s claim on the killings in Zamfara is NOT TRUE.

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