Gradual return of banditry to Zamfara worries Gov. Matawalle

Gov. Bello Matawalle on Wednesday expressed consternation at the gradual return of banditry and kidnapping in parts of Zamfara.

Malam Zailani Bappa, Special Adviser on Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications to the governor, stated in Gusau that Matawalle had noted the gradual return of bandits and kidnappers to the state.

“Strong facts indicate that the recurrence of banditry in the state is aided and abetted mostly by powerful indigenes.

“Some of these people are strong personalities who the people respect.

“There are also, among the generality of the people who receive paltry sums of money to serve as informants to bandits,’’ Bappa quoted Matawalle as saying.

He added that it was based on suspicion that the governor directed those taking political appointments to swear by the Holy Quran while taking oath office.

“That is why sometimes back, I swore with the Holy Quran and asked all those in my administration to do the same, distancing ourselves from acts of banditry.

“I also called on all opinion and political leaders in the state to do the same and they did,’’ the governor was quoted to have also said.

He noted that some top politicians in the state declined to use the Holy Quran, just as some refused to swear by the Book.

Matawalle also noted that swearing by the Holy Quran remained the only way to distance oneself from banditry and kidnapping.

“We are not going to rest on our oars and watch the situation go from bad to worse,’’ he said.

Matawalle explained that in spite of multiple challenges, government and security forces had been able to reduce banditry and kidnapping.

He said his administration was concerned about the rate at which criminals were launching a return to the state.

The governor assured that the security forces were employing new strategies to contain the trend.

“It was some of these strategies in the past such as cutting off telecommunications lines that brought massive successes against bandits.

“They don’t want our children to go to school; they don’t want us to travel and earn a living; they don’t want us to have peace in our homes and in our towns and villages.

“They want people to revolt against the state and against the Federal Government.

“They will not succeed. Success is ours by the grace of God, the Almighty.

“I want to further condole with families of those who lost their lives in the course of this wicked trend.

“I plead with the families of those whose loved ones were abducted by these criminals to have confidence in our ability to secure them,’’ Matawalle was also quoted as saying.

He added that: “if in the past we have rescued thousands unhurt, we shall still rescue those who are still in the hands of the bandits.

“Only three days ago, 39 victims were rescued from these criminals.

“We shall also continue to support our gallant troops to do more in terms of securing the state from miscreants.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that gunmen abducted four students of the School of Health Sciences and Technology, Tsafe, on Wednesday.

Troops have so far secured the release of 700 kidnap victims, mostly women and children, according to Zamfara government. (NAN)