Zamfara State is a state in the northwestern region of Nigeria. Zamfara State, formerly part of Sokoto State until 1996, has a population of 9,838,160 residents according to a 2011 census. The two major sources of income in the State are agriculture and gold mining. Zamfara State’s major produce includes millet, guinea corn, maize, rice, groundnut, cotton, tobacco and beans.
Compared to other parts of the country, Zamfara state has suffered great levels of insecurity. The gold mining activities in the state, which is supposed to be a means of wealth creation for residents, have attracted terrorists who now reportedly use the proceeds earned from exporting the gold to finance many crimes in the northwest Nigeria and other parts of the country.
These terrorists are responsible for the heightened levels of insecurity in the state, including kidnapping, killings, rape, and more. A resident of the Dansadau axis in Zamfara State recently told a media house nobody passes through the axis without military escorts. He further added that in some communities, farmers pay bandits to be able to carry out agricultural activities.
The continuous activities of terrorists in the state definitely pose a threat to the conduct of the 2023 general elections
By the numbers
According to data by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Zamfara State had a total of 1,495,717 registered voters in 2015. And 1,717,128 registered voters in 2019.
In the suspended voters registration exercise, Zamfara State recorded 238,649 new registrants. This number is almost 3x less than the 706,641 in the 2018 voters registration exercise.
One factor that is significantly responsible for the reduction in the number of registrants in the continuous registration exercise is insecurity, seeing that other parts of the northwest maintained superiority in the suspended CVR exercise.
What to watch
For insecurity not to disrupt the credible conduct of the 2023 election, the federal government in collaboration with security agencies in the country needs to adopt policies and measures to counter terrorism in the country.
One of such measure in consideration by the federal government includes the possibility of a nationwide ban on motorcycles. As a result, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) issued a statement ordering all 37 Sector Commanders in the country to impound any motorcycle with an unregistered National Vehicle Identification Scheme.