Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State may be considering dumping amnesty for bandits in the state, lamenting the worsening insecurity in the state.
Governor Matawalle in a state broadcast in Zamfara on Saturday, acknowledged that bandits invaded Kadawa Community, Zurmi Local Government Area, killing many people. The bandits were said to have killed about 53 persons in the community, compelling Governor Matawalle to cancel the Democracy Day anniversary in the state last Saturday.
The Governor had in the broadcast declared: “I feel saddened by this unfortunate and barbaric act of cowardice.
“With a heavy heart, I convey my condolences on behalf of my family and the entire people of the State over this massacre.
“In recent weeks, the act of banditry has reverted to the ugly dimensions it had prior to the coming of my administration. The marauders kill without regard for any rules of sanity. Women, the elderly, and children are not spared. As a result, a large number of people have been displaced in nearly every town in the state.
“My dear people of Zamfara people, you are witnesses to what we have accomplished from the beginning of our administration, particularly, the peace and reconciliation efforts that we initiated and achieved. As a result, we have been able to shift our violent narratives to ones of optimism and peaceful coexistence.
“Unfortunately, things suddenly took a dramatic turn, and things are getting worse by the day.
“It is clear that some invincible hands are plotting evil against our people with the goal of making our state as terrifying as it were in the years gone by. My constant prayer is for Allah to reveal those who are perpetrating these cruel atrocities against our people.”
Governor Matawalle reassured residents of the state that the government will continue in efforts to restore security, adding that there will be no sacred cow in dealing with anyone sponsoring or perpetuating banditry in Zamfara State.
Governor Matawalle further declared: “I assure you that we will remain steadfast in our efforts to eradicate banditry and all types of criminality from the State.
“In this battle, no sacred cow, whosoever is involved in these dastardly acts, no matter how highly placed, would be dealt with according to the law.
“We have demonstrated this commitment based on the actions we have taken in respect of Emir of Maru, Emir of Dansadau, and following yesterday’s incident, the Emir of Zurmi.
“My administration has resolved to begin implementing the recommendations of the MD Abubakar-led Committee on Finding Solutions to Banditry in Zamfara State as a next step in addressing this vexing problem. “We would not spare anyone indicted by the committee’s report, no matter how high up they are.”
Zamfara State has been a theatre of banditry over the years. Governor Matawalle has been advocating amnesty and negotiation with the bandits rather than taking affirmative actions by governments to deal with the violent crimes in the state. School children were at different times kidnapped in hundreds by the bandits. The state government often intervened, pay ransom in certain instances, to secure the release of the kidnapped students.
The amnesty project of Governor Matawalle has rather increased the capacity of the bandits than discourage them from their activities, essentially, when ransom is received on any kidnap operation.
The Zamfara governor also pay money in millions of naira to assumed repentant bandits, offer gifts of vehicles, and others, under the guise of amnesty and surrender of firearms and sophisticated weapons. Governor Matawalle has been brought to his knees by the persistent operations of the bandits to accept the reality in the state.