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Zamfara insecurity: State govt. declares 3-day prayer, fasting, Quran recitation

THE Zamfara state government has declared a three-day intensive fasting and prayer session, to be accompanied by the recitation of the entire Quran by Muslim clerics and teachers, as part of efforts at curbing the insecurity challenges in the state.

The state is currently besieged by kidnappers and bandits who terrorise residents as well as travellers almost on a daily basis.

Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday, the state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Bello Dankande, said the government is exploring all the options open to it in ensuring that security is boosted in the state.

Dankade said some measures adopted by the government, such as the law against logging and illegal sale of petrol, have yielded positive results so far.

“We believe that the fast and prayers will facilitate Allah’s intervention for both the safety and success of our security men and bring the ugly situation to an end,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted the commissioner as saying.

“These three days of fasting is voluntary to everybody because we are all either directly or indirectly affected by the situation.

“We are also soliciting for the intensive reading of the complete Holy Qur’an by Islamic scholars and their students to invoke Allah’s help.”

According to Dankade, “the ban on wood logging and illegal sale of petrol had greatly frustrated the activities of bandits as the law had affected their food supply, fuel, among others”.

Zamfara State is governed by Abdulaziz Yari, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum.

This is the second time the governor would publicly rally his people for prayer to address either social or medical problems.

In April 2017, when an outbreak of cerebral meningitis was killing hundreds of people in Northern Nigeria, Yari said it was due to the sins being committed by Nigerians that God decided to punish the populace by sending a type of meningitis that has no vaccine.

“What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the type A virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has carried out vaccinations against this type A virus not just in Zamfara, but many other states. However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination,” Yari was quoted as saying.

“People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned.

“There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.”

However, after a public backlash, including by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and current Emir of Kano, Sanusi Muhammad, Yari’s spokesman, Ibrahim Dosara, clarified that the governor merely “enjoined all Nigerians to embrace prayers, as God who is aware of the outbreak of the ailment surely has the antidote for it”.

Later, while speaking at another event, he insisted that he stood by his words and that ” if people do not change, God will not change for them”.

The meningitis outbreak of 2017 claimed the lives of 1,166 persons across 24 states in Nigeria. Zamfara was the worst hit and together with Sokoto and Katsina made up about 87 per cent of deaths from the disease at the time.

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