Collaborators are sabotaging the efforts of the Nigerian government towards eliminating banditry in Nigeria, says Bello Matawalle, the Governor of Zamfara State.
Matawalle said this on Monday while speaking with journalists over the recent killings in the state, doubting that banditry would end soon.
“With the kind of people we have in Zamfara State, I don’t think this issue of banditry will end very soon, because already some people are behind it,” the governor said, according to The Nation. “Some people are using it and all they need is at least to show Nigerians that both the federal and Zamfara State governments are not serious on the issue of insecurity, despite the fact that some of them are involved in this insecurity. But we’re doing our best.”
Despite the recent bombing of bandits’ hideouts by the Nigerian Air Force, Matawalle revealed that attacks continue in the state because of politics.
He said, “I initiated dialogues and reconciliation between herders and farmers, and during those dialogues, we spent more than nine months without any crisis in Zamfara State.
“But unfortunately, people use politics because they have collaborators, of course. So, they went back to those bandits telling them that the government was not serious about these dialogues, that we did not give them anything.
“That made the bandits go back to their normal business. That is why I backed out from the reconciliation programme.
“Collaborators who are usually happy with what is happening, who are even jubilating when people are being killed, went back and started again, saying that the government was not serious and instigating some of the public. In fact, they even dragged me to court.
“Insecurity is something that I inherited; you don’t expect it to end within just two years of my administration, because it is supposed to be an ongoing process.
To minimize the influx of terrorists from neighboring countries, Matawalle said President Muhammadu Buhari asked him to spearhead dialogues with the government of Niger Republic for border closure.
“I was in Niger Republic twice and I’m going back because we are collaborating with the Nigerien government for a possible blockade of the borders of the two countries.
“The goal is, if Nigerian security agents pursue the bandits, then the Niger Republic will block and deal with them. The president has helped because he mobilised so much [security officers] for patrol within our borders, and we have recorded some successes.
“I briefed Mr. President about the successes, and, in fact, he sent me back to the Niger Republic. We are doing all these in order to have lasting peace in our region and the northwest.”
He also said, “I can tell you that we are still investigating those that are involved in the activities of bandits and we’ll make the public know after the confirmation of the reality of all the information that we have at hand. We will ensure that all those who have a hand in the insecurity in our state are brought to justice”.
“I, therefore, assure people that we have all it takes to fight these people. Mr. President has motivated me and by Wednesday, the people will see changes. I know what is going to happen within this period. So, my people would be happy with the action that the federal government is going to take on the issue of insecurity.”
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