Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has said banditry will not end soon in his state because of individuals using insecurity to score political point and justify their views that government is not serious about bringing a halt to the crisis.
The governor said this Monday while responding to questions from State House reporters after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
But he said there would be improvement in the security situation because of the President’s directive to security agencies.
Matawalle, who dismissed reports that over 200 persons were killed in the recent attacks in Bukuyyum and Anka areas of the state, said 58 people were confirmed dead by the traditional leaders.
The governor, who visited the scenes of the attacks, said “political bandits” were behind the unverified figures.
Asked what can be done to bring a permanent solution to the insecurity in Zamfara, he said: “Well, you know when I assumed duty as a governor I used so many options to bring this insecurity to a minimal level. First of all, I initiated dialogue and reconciliation between the herders and farmers and during that dialogue, we spent more than nine months without any crisis in Zamfara State.
“But unfortunately, people use politics, because they have collaborators. So, they went back to those bandits, telling them that the government is not serious about this dialogue, that we did not give them anything. So, the bandits decided to go back to their normal businesses. That’s why I backed out from the reconciliation programme. But definitely, it worked for over nine months. But because this is something that I inherited, that has been going on for almost eight years, and you don’t expect it to end within just two years of my administration. Because it is supposed to be ongoing process.
“So, after I realised that some of them had backed out of this dialogue, then I cut off the programme. I then initiated the cutting off communications, and some logistics that used to go to the bandits from August 2011 to December 2011. And it worked too.
“But sometimes, those collaborators who are usually happy with what is happening, who are even jubilating if people are being killed, they went back and started again, saying that the government is not serious and instigating some of the public. In fact, they even dragged me to court.
“So you see with the kind of people who have in Zamfara State, I don’t think this issue of banditry will end very soon because, already, some people are behind it. 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 the crisis of this insecurity. But we’re doing our best.”