Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle has given a two-months ultimatum to armed bandits to surrender their weapons and embrace the state’s peace initiative, warning “political actors” against compromising the security of the state.
Governor Matawalle gave the ultimatum on Tuesday in a broadcast on the security situation in the state and comes two weeks after the abduction of more than 200 students from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, on February 26. The girls were later released.
The governor also revealed an additional deployment of 6,000 additional troops to Zamfara state as ordered by the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.
“As a fall out of my discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari and security high commands in Abuja, it was resolved that 6,000 additional troops are to be deployed to the state to complement the current efforts by the security forces. The troops will soon arrive in the state for their operations,” Matawalle said.
“Again, the president has agreed to a timeframe within which the recalcitrant bandits should accept our peace truce and surrender their weapons to the government.
“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, the recalcitrant bandits have been given two months from today within which to embrace the peace process and surrender their weapons to the government.”
He warned “political actors” against compromising the security of the state, and directed traditional rulers and sole administrators of local government councils 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,” governor Matawalle added.
Only recently, the federal government declared Zamfara State a no-fly zone, and banned all mining activities in the state, the move the Nigerian government says will address insecurity.
By Abel Ejikeme