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The Zamfara, Governor Matawalle has issued a statement on Friday signed by Zailani Bappa, Special Adviser, Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications.
The Governor who was able to secure the release of abducted Katsina school boys through the help of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), in a statement titled, “Matawalle congratulates parents of released children, regrets APC’s credited reaction” reads:
“Governor Bello Mohammed (Matawallen Maradun, Barden Hausa, Shattiman Sakkwato) congratulates the parents of released abducted children of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State, just as he regrets statements credited to the All Progressive Congress on the role of Zamfara State in the fight against banditry in the North-West.
“Governor Matawalle, who has dedicated the whole of his precious time and efforts in the last 100 hours to ensure the release of these innocent children was taken aback when immediately after their release, a statement in the media credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC accuses him of harbouring bandits who terrorise the North-west. This is incidentally a similar statement credited to the Katsina State Governor Hon Aminu Bello Masari sometimes ago when in a similar effort, Governor Matawalle rescued 26 innocent girls abducted by bandits in Faskari Local Government Area of the same Katsina State.
“Although Governor Bello Mohammed has resisted temptation to join issues with anyone on these developments, the unfounded accusations are becoming one too many. To correct this jaundiced perception, therefore, the records need to be straightened once and for all.
“It is a known fact that Zamfara State under the APC was the worst hit in terms of banditry in the North-west until the coming of Governor Bello Mohammed on board. His peace initiatives, which is in tandem with proven records in history across the globe as a viable and necessary option to ending guerilla warfare and similar menace of its kind, is hated and rejected by those who fail or lack the capacity to implement it with honesty, resilience and tact.
“Today, Zamfara state is more peaceful than most of its neighbours because Governor Bello Mohammed has been honest in the approach, a path which could have been the final solution to the problem the region is facing.
“It is very uncharitable due political differences to attribute the semblance of peace enjoyed in Zamfara state to criminality of harbouring the bandits to terrorise neighbouring States. It is heart-warming to note that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari is quite in tune with every step being taken by Governor Matawalle and has more than once, commended him for the measures he’s been taking to end banditry in the state.
“Governor Bello Mohammed wishes to inform the General public that his “carrot and stick” approach to dealing with the bandits has succeeded in the recent past by settling with those who accepted the deal and has dealt with the recalcitrant ones leading to the elimination of over 300 bandits in only two months. It is, therefore, ignorance or mischief to attribute the Zamfara forests as safe haven for criminals. It is also an unfortunate and indirect indictment of the Nigerian Military which is in control of the Federal Government.
“Governor Matawalle wishes to also call on all stakeholders, especially those of the region, to join hands together and find a lasting solution to the problem at hand instead of the blame game which is totally diversionary and counter-productive.”
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had accused an unnamed governor in one of the northwestern states of being behind the increased wave of banditry in the region. APC, in a statement on Thursday evening in Abuja by its Acting National Publicity, Mr. Yekini Nabena, “challenged security agencies to investigate an intelligence report linking a northwest governor to the heightened cases of banditry, abductions and other violent crimes in the zone”.
Nabena, who did not name the governor because of the “security nature of the issue”, said the increased spate of banditry in the northwest was politically-motivated and not unconnected to the unnamed governor’s alleged sponsorship of banditry and other violent crimes in the zone. “Our security agencies have intelligence reports linking one of the northwest governors of colluding and sponsoring the violent and criminal activities of bandits in the zone.
“I won’t give details because of the sensitive and security nature of the issue. However, relevant security agencies must, as a matter of urgency, investigate the report and determine its veracity. Human life is not what we should play political chess games with. “We must shun enemies of the country including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who seek political gains from issues of insecurity. “Our security agencies must also be alert to plots to further destabilise the northwest region and frustrate the quick and safe release of students abducted from GSSS Kankara, Katsina State”
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