‘Defend Yourselves From Bandits’- Matawalle Tells People Of Zamfara State

By Suleiman Umaru

Bello Matawalle,  governor of  Zamfara, a state that had been declared as a fly zone by  President Muhammadu Buharu, a retired Army General, last March, appears to have suddenly realised that the Nigerian Army under the close watch of Farouk Yahaya, a Major General  and Usman Alkali Baba,  the  Inspector General of Police, IGP, and his men, can no longer effectively  secure the state from the activities of the marauding Bandits and other criminals.

Matawalle,  the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governor in the north west state,  who could not hide his feelings,.   had told those that cares to listen that  that ‘’the insecurity situation in the state  had taken a turn for the worse’’. The  governor, who is convinced that some invincible  hands  in the  state  and those living in the cities  are plotting evil  with  a goal of making’’ the state terrifying  as it  were  in the years gone  by’’. This may have forced him to encourage’ the people to defend themselves against the Bandits’ to secure their Communities’’

. He may have taken a cue from Dave Umahi, the  south east governor of Eboyi state, who had told the people  to defend themselves from the unknown gunmen who had repeatedly  attacked some Communities in the state  for  much of this year.

The 53 year-old  governor, who had been under pressure from several quarters to dump the PDP and decamp to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, in order to have unfettered access to the Katsina state born Nigerian  President  to seek his support for deployment of  more troops to the state to address the  insecurity  situation, may have shown his horn of dilemma in his June 12, 2021,  broadcast  to the people of the state.

Note that the APC, chieftains, are determined, to recover the state from the Opposition PDP, at all costs. The  alleged killings of over 70 indigenes  of  Kadawa village, in Zurmi Local  Government Area of the state may have exposed the high level of insecurity in the state.

  Informed sources told The Value News that prior to the Saturday bandits  attack on the Kadawa Community, scores of  motorcycle-riding  gunmen, were said  to have entered  the village  including Kawata Maduba, Ganda Samu, Saulawa and Askwa, also in Zurmi local government Area of the state between Thursday , June 10, 2021 and Friday, June 11, 2021, to launch their attack. 

Matawalle: Governor of Zamfara State

 Matawalle, who may have taken advantage of the June 12, 2021, Democracy day,  to make a special broadcast to the people had confirmed that ‘’in the recent weeks  the act of banditry in the state  has reverted  to the ugly dimensions that  it had been  in the past  prior to the coming of  his Administrations  in 2019’’’.

Hear him, ‘’ The  marauders  kill without regard  for any rules of sanity , women, elderly and the children are not spared’’.  This may have informed why a large number of people have been displaced   in nearly every Community in the state.

 Recall that the governor on assumption of duties some three years had initiated peace and reconciliation efforts to draw the bandits closer to force them to drop their guns and leave the forest which had become their home in order to be rehabilitated to live settled lives Some of the bandits were said to have heeded the state government’s call to return their guns, settled both in cash and kind including giving scores of heads of cows but the bandits soon returned to the bush.

The governor may have been pushed to the wall that he had declared that he will do everything within his capacity  ‘’to eradicate  banditry and all types of criminality in the state, noting that in this battle  to curb banditry in the state there will be’ no sacred cow’  .

 He was emphatic: that whoever is involved in these dastardly acts, no matter how highly placed would be dealt with according to the Law’’.  True to his words, he had approved the suspension of   Atiku Abubakar Mohammed, Emir of Zurmi, over allegations levelled against him that he was not doing enough  the people  from incessant bandits attack in the  Zurmi Community.  He was said to have also sacked the Emirs of Maru and Dansadau.

The governor may have sent jitters down the spines of the bandits Collaborators in the state who were said to have been indicted by the MD Abubakar-led Committee that was set up to find solutions to banditry  in the north west state  as a next step  in addressing  the vexed issue of banditry in the state, that he would implement  the recommendations of the Committee. He The governor was said to have assured the Zamfara state citizens, that his government would not’’ spare anyone indicted  by the Committee’s report no matter how  up they may be’’.  

Many had expected the Nigerian President to focus his attention in tackling the activities of bandits in the north west states  of Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, which is home state. Already the bandits have extended their operations to Kebbi, Sokoto, home of Sultan Abubakar Sa’ad, a retired Brigadier General, an indications that bandits  want to take over control and Administration of the region.

Political analysts believe that the bandits want to do in the north west and the north central state of Niger, home state of  retired General Ibrahim Babangida, a former military President what the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State  of the West African Province, ISWAP, are doing in the north east or the indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, under the close watch of the self- exiled Nnamdi K anu, in the United Kingdom is doing in the south east geo-political region.

Although, he had given a matching order to the military  and the police  to be brutal on the bandits  but the insecurity in the  north west states  and the north central state of Niger state had remained the same, and even getting worse by the day.

The retired Army General may have seen the south east based IPOB, as the problem of Nigeria, perhaps, because of the 1967 -1970, Civil war,  that he had vowed  ‘’to go after them  through the military  and the Police to rid them of their criminal tendencies’’., stating that he has ‘’no regret whatever’’.

The question on the lips of most people was: who is the real criminal or enemy of state : BokoHaram, ISWAP, Bnadits , that had killed thousands of innocent people in  different parts of the north  west and the north central  state of Niger and who had allegedly infiltrated the  south east states in guise of herdsmen by taking over their forests to kill or the IPOB, that had never attacked any Igbo Community ?

 The Nigerian President may have given an insight why he is out to deal decisively with IPOB members when he met with Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission  recently over the Commission preparation for the 2023, general elections.

  the destruction  of police stations  and those of the Independent National Electoral Commssion, INEC,  devoted at improving the country’s  democratic processes. Mahmood, the INEC, boss  may have further put the IOB, and the Eastern  Security Network, ESN, on the bad book of the Daura Emirate Council Politician,  when cited   the destruction  of  the Commission  newly Completed  of  at Okwudor Community  in Njaba  Local government  Area of Imo state, believed to have been carried out  by the IPOB.

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