More than 1,000 armed herdsmen operating in the bushes of Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State had on Sunday laid down their arms and surrendered to the government.
This exercise was carried out through the supervision by the Commander of 1 Brigade, Sokoto, Brig. Gen. Ginikanwa Nwosu.
The event, which took place at Gidan Jaja village, also had in attendance Gov. Abdulaziz Yari and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Sanusi Rikiji.
Presenting leaders of the 14 different cluster gangs spread in the Emirate to the state, the Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku said all the gang members had agreed to be good citizens of the society.
He said the gang members voluntarily agreed to surrender their arms and embrace peace following their respect for leaders who pleaded with them.
He said peace committees had also been formed in the five village areas of Kwashabawa, Tsannu, Mayasa, Gundumawa and Gurbin -Bore which would now settle all local disagreements among villagers.
He said the committees, which represented all sections of the emirate, would also take responsibility of finding any missing property, especially animals, in their domains and that if such missing property could not be found, the committee would pay the owner.
Second class citizens
Samaila Samaho, who spoke on behalf of the group, said “many of them decided to take up arms because they were neglected and treated as second class citizens in the state.”
Samaila narrated how they were seen as criminals and sometimes addressed as robbers in the market where they were attacked and sometimes killed or burnt to death by the mob.
He said, “while we surrendered, we want government to ensure the protection of our lives and property particularly from the volunteer security body, “Yan sa kai.”
The former gang leader also asked the state government to establish dams, grazing reserves and schools for his people in the bushes.
Gov. Yari thanked security agents especially the military for restoring peace in the state and urged those who left the state in fear to come back and live their legitimate lives.
Highlight of the event was the submission of 14 AK-47 rifles by former 14 leaders of the groups.