Governor of Nigeria’s Northwestern Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has insisted that dialogue with bandits was still very relevant in the fight against banditry as he secured the release of 26 girls.
An aide to the governor on Public Enlightenment, Media, and Communications, Zailani Bappa, in a statement on Sunday stressed that his administration would not abandon the peace dialogue with bandits as firepower alone cannot solve the problem of banditry in the state.
“This is a testimony to our vision for engaging the bandits in peace dialogue,” the governor was quoted as saying in the statement.
“For those who believe we are wrong to dialogue with the bandits, the securing of these minors who are all girls and unhurt, is indeed, priceless,” the statement added.
The minors are indigenes of Katsina State and are said to have regained freedom without the payment of any ransom. They were kidnapped by bandits in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State and brought into the bushes of Zamfara State.
The statement further stated that the victims were miraculously discovered by the Zamfara State government and got released through negotiations.
The negotiations held under the Commissioner of Police and Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs in Zamfara, who have been in constant dialogue with bandits on behalf of the state government on the need to embrace peace and live a normal life.
The 26 rescued girls, whose ages range between eight and 12, were medically checked and provided with new clothes while Governor Matawalle ordered their safe return to Katsina.