The Governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, has said 2,619 people were killed, 1,190 others kidnapped, and N970 million paid as ransom between 2011 and 2019 in the six northern states.
Matawalle, who said there were over 30,000 bandits in Zamfara state and the five neighbouring states, lamented the dearth of security and intelligence to tackle banditry.
Speaking to journalists, Friday in Kaduna, he said with about 6,000 troops in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto and Kebbi states to tackle over 30,000 bandits, it became imperative for him to find an enduring solution to the security challenges in his state hence he resorted to dialoguing with the bandits.
According to the governor, who spoke through his Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, with 14,378 animals rustled and over 100,000 people displaced within the eight years, the greatest challenge faced by his administration was insecurity. “Before the coming of the present administration of Dr. Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun on May 29, 2019, as the Governor of Zamfara state, Zamfara people were in a devastating state of dilemma and fear of the unknown due to rural banditry.
“Over 2,619 people were killed between 2011 and 2019. This is in addition to the 1,190 people kidnapped by the bandits. The records also show that the sum of N970 million was paid as ransom, while 14,378 animals were rustled within the period. “With the coming of Governor Bello Matawalle, drastic measures were put in place to control the situation. The peace and reconciliation process undertaken by the government has yielded positive results.”
Speaking further he said, “At least there are almost 100 different bandit camps with no fewer than 300 bandits in each of these camps having sophisticated weapons with them. “This is coupled with the shortage of manpower in the security sector and a very poor intelligence network. Yet, the governor must ensure the protection of the lives and property of the people.
“Now, which is the best option for the governor? Watch his people being killed or go for dialogue and continue to use the repentant bandits to convince the recalcitrant bandits to save the lives of the people?”