From Hussaini Ibrahim, Gusau
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has given two months ultimatum to all bandits in the state to either repent and surrender their weapons or face serious consequences from the security personnel.
Addressing journalists in Government House Yesterday.
Governor Bello Matawalle said, the government would squarely face any bandit that refused to surrender within the stipulated time.
According to him, As you may recall, it was early morning, at about 1 a.m, on Friday 26 th February 2021, when a group of bandits attacked Government Girls Junior Secondary Schoool, Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of the state and abducted 279 schoolgirls.
This sad episode shook the people of Zamfara State, our fellow Nigerians, and the entire world. It again brought to the global attention the type of security challenges our state and many others in the north were battling with and brought to the fore the urgent need to take further steps to deal with the situation comprehensively.
“We have already secured the release of all the 279 abducted students, hale and hearty. They have all been reunited with members of their families.
Following this development, l undertook a four-day working visit to Abuja to brief Mr President and other critical stakeholders on security. As a fall out of my discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari and security high commands in Abuja, it was resolved that six thousand additional troops are to be deployed to the state to complement the current efforts by the security forces in the state.The troops will soon arrive in the state for their operations.
As you may recall, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security forces to shoot on sight anyone found in possession of AK 47 without permission.
You may also recall that Zamfara State has been declared by the national security council as a “no-fly zone” in addition to banning of all mining activities in the state.
Matawalle said , Again, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, has agreed to a timeframe within which the recalcitrant bandits should accept our peace truce and surrender their weapons to the government.
“As you are aware, the peace initiative of my administration has recorded a number of successes which include disarmament and recovery of weapons from the repentant bandits, securing the release of hundreds of kidnapped persons, opening of markets and resumption of other economic activities across the state, and reducing the wave of attacks and killings of our innocent people, most especially in the rural communities.
Even though we are enjoying relative peace as a result of the dialogue and reconciliation programme, many bandits have refused to key into the programme and elected to sustain their attacks and other nefarious activities against our communities. Government has equally observed that there is sabotage by some unscrupulous elements, both within and outside the state. It is also observed that informants are becoming rampant and their callous activities undetected due to some of our people’s attitude of indifference.
As a further push to bring to an end the activities of the recalcitrant bandits so as to bring lasting peace to the state, government has decided to take the following measures:
The recalcitrant bandits have been given two months from today within which to embrace the peace process and surrender their weapons to the government;
All political actors are hereby advised to desist from any acts capable of endangering the state’s security, as security agencies have been directed to monitor the activities of all the political actors and take appropriate action against the violators;
Traditional rulers and Local Government Councils’ sole administrators are hereby directed to always remain in their respective domains to monitor the influx of any suspicious characters.
Conveyance of more than two persons on a motorbike is hereby banned with immediate effect. Security agents are directed to arrest and arraign the violators of this order for prosecution.
Government also prohibits the movements of a large number of motorbikes in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Security forces are hereby directed to ensure total compliance.
Government observed, with dismay, the persistence of the activities of some yansakai, despite the banning of such vigilante groups. This order still remains in force.
While government appreciates the role being played by members of the press in our efforts to bring lasting peace to our state, we have observed with great dismay the activities of some few media organizations in promoting fake news, causing psychological trauma and panic among our people. Government is therefore calling on such media organizations that publish or air news or opinions concerning the security situation in the state without proper cross-checking and balancing of their reports before going to press to desist from such professional misconduct.
Government is not unaware of some unscrupulous elements, particularly among the political class, who regularly sponsor some social media handlers to create various social media accounts, including cloning some reputable media organizations, using them to publish fake news. Government will no longer tolerate such unethical conduct and will deal decisively with anyone found in this act.
My dear people of Zamfara State, the primary responsibility of government is to secure the lives and property of the citizenry. All the measures we are putting in place are with a view to securing our state and putting behind us the dark period of banditry and other related crimes.
I wish to appreciate the endurance, untiring support and cooperation of the entire people of the state in our efforts to end banditry and to other government policies and programs. I thank you immensely for your continuous prayers and goodwill.