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Zamfara Residents Protest Release Of Women Held As Pawns Against Terrorists

The milkmaids were taken captive on Aug. 29 in retaliation to abductions carried out by terrorists to whom they claimed the innocent women were related. The Emir, however, ordered the release of the women.

Hundreds of residents in Birnin-Magaji local government area staged a peaceful protest against the release of two women held by farmers over the abduction of locals.

The protest was held at the local government headquarters of Birnin-Magaji in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria on Saturday, Sept. 2 at about 5:30 pm.

Locals were protesting the release of the two milkmaids, whom they claimed were related to terrorists responsible for the kidnap of several farmers from their community. By holding the innocent women, the residents hoped to successfully negotiate their people’s release.

But in a twist of events, they were compelled to set the captives free. This prompted the farmers to lead a protest to the Council chamber of Birnin-Magaji Emirate Council.

Addressing the crowd, the Emir, Alhaji Hussaini Mode Usman (Dan Alin Birnin-Magaji) said, “I received a call from the Commissioner of Urban and Housing Development relaying to me the order from the Zamfara State Government to, on behalf of the Governor, ensure the release of the two Fulani women you held captive.” 

However, the State Commissioner, Kabiru Moyi debunked the claim, describing the Emir’s utterances while addressing the audience as “self-defence at the expense of the Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal.”

Moyi told HumAngle: “Zamfara State Government is not aware of the claimed order for the release of the two Fulani women who were held by the farmers of Birnin-Magaji LGA.

“I can understand that the farmers in the Birnin-Magaji community held the women to seek negotiation with the terrorists who abducted their fellow members at their farmland. So if the Emir went on his own to lie for the Governor and might have had undisclosed negotiations with the Fulani terrorists to destroy the good image of the Zamfara State Government, then investigation into this matter will unfold the reality.” 

When HumAngle contacted the Secretary of the Birnin-Magaji Emirate Council, Mohammed Abdullahi,  he said the matter was becoming political and he had nothing further to add until he properly assessed the situation.

But Rabiu Garba, one of the relatives of those abducted by terrorists, pointed out that “we do not know what the Emir means by forcing us to release the women to the terrorists while he has done nothing to bring back our abducted fellow members.

“He [the Emir] invited us to his chamber including business class, other traditional rulers drawn from the various districts and many organisations, telling us that we must release the women. We do not know the faith of our abducted victims.”

Alhaji Shehu Bagiwaye, one of the Fulani leaders said “I am one of the repentant bandits. But these kados [non-fulani speaking persons] went on arresting our relatives. So, we contacted the Emir and gave him two options. To either unconditionally release our women to get some reimbursement from us, or we terrorise him from the throne until we get our women.”

Some residents of the community,  however, suspect foul play on the side of the Emir and claim that he is not worried about their predicament.

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