Zamfara State Governor, Bello Muhammed, has explained the role he played which led to the release of 344 students of the Government Boys Science School, Kankara, Katsina State.
Speaking on Tuesday night in Abuja when the PDP National Working Committee led by its Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus paid him a condolence visit over the death of 8 people in the recent attack on the convoy of the Emir of Kaura Namoda, Matawalle said he was able to secure the release of the students through a dialogue with some of the repentant bandits.
Matawalle said: “As soon as the boys were kidnapped, we stepped in. We reached out to repentant bandits in the state. Negotiations were made and that was how they were released. The boys were released in Zamfara before they were moved to Katsina.”
The Governor also said the reign of bandits in Northern Nigeria will come to an end if all governors in the region formed an alliance to destroy their (bandits) camps in Zamfara State.
Describing Zamfara as the epicentre of banditry in the north, the governor said while dialogue had worked to some extent, not destroying the bandits camps most especially in Zamfara remained a risk to ending their activities.
“Zamfara is the epicentre of banditry in the North…and if the issue of banditry was taken serious in Zamfara State, I assure you the whole issue of banditry in Northern Nigeria will end”
“So I’m calling on my colleagues and the security agencies to put more effort in Zamfara State so that we can identify all the camps of the bandits and destroy them.
“If we don’t destroy them, we may not be able to end the issue of banditry in the North or Nigeria at large. No matter what the bandits tell you about dialogue or reconciliation, we must be able to mop the weapons in their hands, without doing so, we are not doing anything.
“How we restored peace in Zamfara”
The Governor added that when he came on board, he invited all the stakeholders to discuss the modalities to tackle the issue of insecurity in the state adding that the meeting resolved that dialogue was the best option for the state.
“As you’re all aware, Zamfara is one of the most peaceful states before and one of the richest in Nigeria but this banditry was created in order to scare away investors so as to prevent them from coming to invest in the state.”
“I submitted myself to everybody and if all governors can be accessed anytime by their locals, we can be able to tackle that issue.
Why I pardoned Nabena
The governor also said the intervention of the APC National Caretaker Committee and the Governors forum made him stopped the plan to institute a legal action against the acting National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, over an alleged comment credited to the APC spokesperson which the governor considered libelous.
The APC spokesman had last week Thursday accused one of the Governors of the North West States of harbouring the activities of the bandits in the region following the abduction of the Kankara Schoolboys.
The Governor said he was miffed by the allegation but has decided to stop the plan to sue the APC spokesperson “pending the decision and action to be taken by the party in discipline Yekini for the unsubstantiated allegations he leveled against me and my government.”
“Following interventions by the APC National Caretaker Committee, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Progressives Governors’ Forum, I have decided to hold on to my decision of taking legal action against the Acting National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress APC, Yekini Nabena, for some libellous comments that tantamount to accusations against my personality and governments.