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‘I inherited banditry’ — Matawalle speaks after briefing Buhari on situation in Zamfara

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday met with Governor Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, to discuss the security situation in his state.

Matawalle told state house correspondents that the president summoned him for the sit-down to apprise him of efforts to stem the tide of insecurity in his state.

“I was called by Mr President and I am here to brief him on some issues pertaining to security in my state,” he said.

“We discussed much about them and I briefed him. All the supports needed from him, he assigned all where to get all the supports. I appreciate his effort for making me proud of what he has been doing for the state.

“In terms of security, particularly in Nigeria, everybody knows what is happening today. But in Zamfara, we thank Allah for giving us that achievement because even today, about 358 special police forces were deployed to the state to tackle some challenges.

“We are on course and I believe that you have heard about it because before, Zamfara was almost in a flashpoint and bad reportage of kidnappings, killings and so on. But today in Zamfara, we are witnessing little peace in the state. We thank Allah for that.

“Banditry is something I inherited. It was ongoing for almost eight years in the state but due to my initiative of dialoguing with them, now Zamfara is very calm.”

Matawalle called on his fellow governors to “initiate reconciliation and dialogue” to achieve peace in their states.

He said most of the people responsible for the criminality in Zamfara are not from the state.

“Among them, there is somebody from Yobe state, two people are from Kaduna, two people from Niger state. It is a gang of some criminals. They normally invite their friends to participate in those activities,” the governor said.

Speaking of the steps he is taking to achieve peace in Zamfara, he said: “I am constructing RUGA for them, like a settlement that can contain some of them because sincerely speaking, if we allow them going round from one place to another, we cannot find a solution to this issue.

“So the only thing the governors should do and we are discussing that is to contain them in one place. Like a Fulani from Zamfara should not migrate to another neighbouring state. How are we going to do that? This is something that needs a lot of resources because you will have to create something that can engage them.

“You have to provide social amenities for them. Like the RUGA that we are doing, we have many amenities like school, hospital, veterinary clinic, market and even mini-stadium.”

The governor added that he did not discuss his amnesty for bandits initiative with the president.

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