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Insecurity: Group Calls for Probe of Atiku Over Post-Election Threats Across Nigeria

The Centre for Crisis Mitigation and Management, CCMM, has called for the probe over the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the last general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar over his alleged involvement in post-election crises in the country.

The group fingered Atiku as the brain behind the unrest in the nation following his defeat at the poll.

Dr. Babatunde Olagunju, Chancellor of the centre in a letter addressed to the United States Embassy in Nigeria.

The letter recalled that Atiku had during the electioneering procress affirmed that killings would continue in Nigeria if Buhari got re-elcted for a second term.

The letter reads below.

Reports of gruesome killings of Nigerians continue to pour in on daily basis from across the country. The killings being reported in Zamfara state, north-west of Nigeria, however, calls for particular attention. Our conclusion in this regard is not in respect of the sheer number of those that are killed but the fundamentals that underpin these deaths, which are meant to get worse unless drastic measures are urgently taken.

We call your attention to two factors that are at play in the tragic scenario unfolding in Zamfara state. The first is illicit revenue generating activities while these second is political motivation.

The illicit money being made by powerful people in Zamfara state from running black market mining for gold has been identified as a major driver for the killings. These operations, once thought to be makeshift family holdings operating with pickaxes and pans, have grown to become major undertakings owned by members of the political class, even distributed across board without bias for political party affiliation or incumbency. They have expanded the operations by mining through Chinese company as fronts. Several interest groups have expressed the concerns that the killings are intended to scare indigenous populations from their ancestral lands so that illegal mining operations can take place.

In terms of political motivation, it is well known that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not condone illegality, which placed these illegitimate mining operations on the list of things that could land perpetrators in jail. The politicians responsible for these operations – irrespective of what party they belong to, therefore had cause not to desire an election win for President Buhari.

The crisis that engulfed his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara testifies to how the politicians in that state saw him as a hindrance that they do not want to remain in office. They aligned with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who infamously said “If I lose the 2019 Election Killings Will Continue”. He lost the election and politicians that answer to him are carrying out the threat such that killings have not only increased but have also intensified.

This has been the ugly situation unfolding in Nigeria and sadly, the United States has to watch out for how its interests interconnect with the equivalent of war crimes taking place in Zamfara.

The commodity being explored by these unscrupulous politicians and their allies is gold. Because of its universality and portability, we have strong cause to believe that batches of gold being mined under inhuman and war conditions in Zamfara state are finding their way into the United States.

So long as there remains appetite for gold in the United States it is logical to accept that your country is being made an unwilling accomplice in Zamfara’s killing fields. Those that are behind these killings, being politicians and with the kind of revenue they make from their evil enterprise are able to buy properties, invest, seek medical care and send their wards for education in the United States thereby importing the proceed of crime into your country, making the United States a destination for blood tainted gold money.

An additional cause for concerns is the danger of the situation escalating and getting out of hand. A similar resort to violence over the control of natural resource in the Niger-Delta degenerated to a long drawn militancy that teetered on the verge of terrorism.

With the influence of Boko Haram and the vulnerability of youths in the north-west region of Nigeria to being radicalized, the mix of what is going on Zamfara state is a threat that could produce scenario more toxic than the terrorism the country has so far witnessed. The politicians that are presently the handlers of the killers on rampage in Zamfara have all the likelihood of losing control of them. Should this happen, it would be more than the peace of Nigeria that would be threatened. The United States’ geo-strategic interests would be threatened.

It is our firm belief that the window of opportunity to address the situation is limited owing to the rapid evolution of incidents and the spread to other parts that border Zamfara state. While it is comforting that President Buhari is taking measures to arrest the situation domestically, it will be reassuring that the United States exerts pressure on those behind this cycle of violence in order to put an end to incessant loss of life and avert the prospect of having another terrorist group coalesce from the bands of hired killers roaming the region.

Since the politicians in Zamfara state have been identified as the sponsors of these killings, our appeal is that the United States does its analysis of the situation and appropriately sanction those indicted as its own contribution to peace building in Nigeria. The United States Embassy in Nigeria should therefore all top politicians, traditional rulers and religious leader from Zamfara state from traveling to your country.

The specific list if for individuals that are serving and past governors of the state, serving and past deputy governors, serving and past ministers, 1st, 2nd and 3rd class traditional rulers and both public and civil servants from the state in addition to popular religious leaders.

The ban, which should be extended to anyone found contributing to the crisis, until they have taken steps to restore peace and security to the area. This will include retrieval of all weapons and ammunition issued to their killer agents who are now tormenting the peace of Nigeria under different pretexts.

The gold mining related killings will continue for as long as there is illegal access to mining and there is a market for the blood gold. The US should support Nigeria with a ban on gold mined from Zamfara killing field. There would be no incentive to kill for gold mining if there is no market for the gold sourced from that particular area. It is desirable that the United States also take a leadership to lead a global movement to boycott gold from Zamfara state. A similar approach worked in stemming the trend of blood diamond, which has seen more stability in country’s that were once in upheaval as a result of conflict diamonds.

A further dimension where the intervention of the United States will be pivotal is in how it response to the lies and propaganda that these indicted people will tell against the government. Now that they have been found to be complicit in what is wrong, it is a matter of time before they begin to allege political persecution in order for them to evade being put on trial for their crimes. Our expectations is that your country will be categorical in referring them to submit to the judiciary where they can defend themselves against whatever charges the state proffers against them.

They will recruit certain foreign organization to run damaging lobbies against the government of Nigeria, which the United States must rise to condemn as the situation a hand requires transparent approaches that ensure that the actual issues are attended to as opposed to manipulation of facts. We state this to preempt the evasive maneuvers that the identified persons will make in order for them to continue to cause problems for Nigeria in order for them to enjoy their illegally acquired wealth.

We wish to conclude by appealing that the United States should consider the scores of people that have been denied their right to life by these few ruthless politicians and their associates. Thoughts should be spared for families and entire communities that have been dislocated by people that used violence to seize their lands. These are considerations that should balanced against the spin that the indicted parties will put in the public place about their involvement in Zamfara’s killing fields. It is our sincere belief that these vulnerable and helpless population should be the priority consideration for any intervention.

The United States, as usual, should remain on the right side of history by rallying against evil, for this is what the killers and their sponsors are. It should make timely interventions that ensure that more people do not have to needlessly die to cater to the greed of a few people.


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Copyright 2019 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant source.

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