The Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) on Monday raised the alarm that bandit in Zamafara State are recruiting children orphaned by insurgency in the state.
The group also revealed that bandits have killed no fewer than 11,000 men and have left 22,000 and over 44,000 orphans in eight years.
The group raised alarm that, some of the 44,000 youths orphaned are being recruited by marauding armed bandits terrorizing the North-west and some North-Central states.
The group said, the shocking statistics was part of the outcome of a research it carried out as part of measures to finding the root causes of the persistent security challenges in the area.
National President of AYF, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, in a statement in Kaduna expressed fear that, “Nigeria is sitting on a volcano of humanitarian and security challenges brewing and about to erupt with a looming consequences”.
He said: “It is with great concern over the incessant and prevailing security situation in the North West particularly Zamfara state, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) decided to as a matter of utmost urgency intervene in finding a lasting solution.
“It is worrisome that the present situation of incessant and barbaric killings, maimings, kidnapping for ransom, rape, cattle rustling and wanton destruction of property and economic livelihood assets by devilish forces of evil and blood thirsty insurgents has reached an unimaginable and horrendous proportion in a region which was hitherto a peaceful and calm, called Northern Nigeria. In fact, hardly a day passes without such incidents occurring.
“Therefore, in view of this state of affairs and pursuant to Arewa Youth Forum’s Conflict Mitigation and Peace Building (CMPB) Project, we undertook a deep and holistic research aimed at finding out the root causes of the persistent security challenge, with a view of finding lasting and sustainable solution.
“Our preliminary findings showed that within eight (8) dark years only of Banditry in Zamfara State, a conservative figure of about eleven thousand (11,000) adult males that were bread-winners of their families were killed, leaving behind an estimated conservative figure of about twenty two thousand (22,000) widows (with at least two 2 wives to a person), and in another alarming breath, an estimated conservative figure of 44,000 orphans at an average of four (4) children to a deceased person. A very conservative estimate indeed for this figure could be a double or triple of this.
“It is worthy to note that in terms of frequency and the alarming casualty ratio, Zamfara State is ahead of many States in the Country that experiences security challenges, but alas, receives less prominence in terms of attention from mainstream media in terms of objective clarion call reporting, and most importantly, Federal Government’s attention based on recognition and intervention.”