Governor Matawalle did not rescue our girls, we paid the ransom – Zamfara community cries out

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Residents of Dan-Aji community in Faskari Local Government Area have disputed claims by the Zamfara state government that the governor facilitated the release of the 26 girls abducted by bandits through dialogue alone.

A statement by the Zamfara state government on Monday and reported by NewsWireNGR claimed that the girls who were kidnapped by bandits in the Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State were brought into the bushes of Zamfara State but were discovered by the government and released through negotiations by the Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Abubakar Dauran.

However, the community leader of Dan-Aji community, Lawal Dogara, has told journalists at a press conference that the parents of the victims championed the release of their wards and not the governor.

Mr Dogara said the victims’ parents contributed N6.6 million which the community handed over to two representatives who delivered the money to the abductors.

“The Zamfara governor was never a party involved in the process; it was purely efforts of the parents and the community leaders that secured the victims’ release.

“The ransom was delivered to the kidnappers by two representatives – Alhaji Abdulakarim Dan Aji and Liman Babangida. They trekked for about three hours to locate the bandits in their hideout bordering Zamfara State”, the community leader said.

“The bandits stormed the community on October 13 at about 5 a.m., killing 15 persons, burnt houses and went away with the 26 girls.” he said.

Responding to the community’s statement, on Tuesday, Governor Matawalle’s spokesperson, Zailani Bappa, insisted that the governor was responsible for the release of the abducted girls.

Reacting to criticism on the rescue, Mr Bappa said those “spreading false and fabricated information on the laudable efforts” were “misguided individuals”.

“These misguided persons have since instigated false information that the girls were not rescued by the peace process initiated by Governor Matawalle administration but by ransom paid by the families of the released girls.”

“However, the fact remains that the rescued girls were not released on ransom as the genuine families of the girls have since denied the false story.”

Mr Bappa said Governor Matawalle “has never taken any step in the last one year and five months to score any cheap political goal but simply doing his assigned job which he swore to do.

“Indeed, any iota of dishonesty in his intent or approach would have woefully failed and put the state in jeorpardy as it happened to those leaders preceding him.”

The spokesperson said the governor is satisfied “that God has always vindicated him from such machinations and will continue to do so as his only aim so far is to discharge his onerous task of securing lives and property of all Zamfarans and not to deceive them”.

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