ZAMFARA: Commissioner Opens Up On
Matawallen’s Peace Reconciliation Process
… Says, Best Option To Tackling Security Challenge
Kaduna, North- West, Nigeria
The Peace Reconciliation Process adopted by the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawallen has been described as the best option to tackling security challenges in the state.
Available records has shown that Zamfara state before the coming of Governor Matawallen’s administration had been in a devastating state, the greatest challenge being that of security.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner of Information, Zamfara State, Hon. Ibrahim Magaji Dosara in a press briefing on the state’s Peace Process with Bandits and other remarkable achievements of the governor.
May 29th 2021 marks 2yrs in office of Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun.
According to the Commissioner, the coming of Governor Matawallen administration has brought succour to the security challenges in the state as all possible strategies have been put in place to return peace to the troubled area.
He said the peace reconciliation process embarked upon by the governor is necessitated by the present prevailing circumstances.
Hon. Magaji explained that Governor Matawallen is leaving no stone unturned in restoring peace in the state.
” Distinguished gentlemen of the press, I am pleased to inform you that since the day His Excellency took over the mantle of leadership of Zamfara state, Governor Matawalle has been up and doing to move Zamfara and its people forward.
” The greatest challenge being faced by the administration of Governor Bello Matawalle was the lingering security problems inherited from the immediate past government of His predecessors Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar.
” Before the coming of the present administration of His Excellency Dr Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun on May 29th 2019 as the Executive Governor of Zamfara state, Zamfara people were in devastating state of dilemma and fear of the unknown due to rural banditry. Rampant killings, maiming, kidnapping, raping, vandalism.
Stating further, he said Zamfara state within the year 2011 and 2019 had witnessed a lot of security challenges.
” From available records, over Two Thousands Six Hundred and Nineteen (2,619) people were killed between 2011 and 2019. This is in addition to the One Thousand One hundred and Ninety people kidnapped by the bandits. The records also show that the sum of Nine Hundred and Seventy Thousands (970,000,000) Million Naira was paid as ransom. While Fourteen Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy Eight animals were rustled within the period. Over One Hundred Thousands (100,000) people were displaced from their ancestral homes.”
However, with the coming of Governor Bello Matawalle Maradun, drastic measures were put in place to control the situation. The peace and reconciliation process undertaken by the government has yielded positive result.
Giving an illuminating background of the genesis of armed Banditry in Zamfara state, the Commissioner said.
” The genesis of this conflict began with the killing of the most popular and highly respected Fulani leader in all the neighbouring states of Zamfara, Sokoto, and Kebbi, one Alhaji Ishe, of chilin village in Kuyambana district of Dansadau Emirate in Maru Local Government Area of the state on the 11th of April 2013. Since then, Fulani in the 3 states became aggrieved and aggressive against Hausa communities from where the Yansakai who did the killing emanate.
This crisis he said worsened as attacks and counter attacks became the order of the day. Formidable groups and structures were formed.
Hostilities against the Fulani and Yankasai increased leading to killings of scores of innocent people, destruction of valuables and burning down of houses and foodstuffs.
” As the situation worsened, the Fulani bandits began to establish camps and started recruiting informants and new members into the banditry even among the Hausa, as well as giving them training and weapons.
” Due to untimely attention and necessary intervention, the situation further worsened with attendant consequences of mayhem being unleashed on innocent people across the state. Hence, the bandits were able to establish 24 routes network across the 14 local government areas of the state, with Two Hundred and thirty-two (232) leaders and large followership of Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Five bandits across the state.
The commissioner further informed that
since the commencement of the dialogue and peace process with the bandits, Zamfara state was free of any attack and kidnapping for almost eight (8) months, until recently when kidnapping and light attacks resurfaced.
Some of the achievements recorded includes the release of over sixty two bandits who have accepted and embraced the peace initiative.
Also is the release of over Two Thousand (2000) kidnapped victims aided and abetted by the repentant bandits.
In addition is the fact that the repentant bandits are helping in campaigning and convincing those bandits yet to accept the dialogue and reconciliation process to do so. They are also helping in the identification of the leaders of the recalcitrant bandits, including their camps and location for dialogue and reconciliation.
However, the commissioner confessed that the Peace Process was not without some challenges. Challenges such as that of ” recent upsurge in occasional attacks and kidnappings being masterminded by the activities of some conflict entrepreneurs and informants who connived with the recalcitrant bandits to commit heinous acts against our innocent people.”
Lamenting the damages done by the activities of the bandits, such as, the daily loss of lives, kidnappings of people, the rustling of livestock in their thousands and other forms of criminality. the commissioner stated that because of the worsening situation of banditry and kidnapping in Zamfara, Governor Matawallen had no choice than to go into negotiation with the bandits for the good of the generality.
” My professional colleagues, between 2011 when the crisis began, to 2019 before the emergence of the present government under the leadership of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun,
” People were traumatized. Farmers were prevented from going to their farms to cultivate the usual food and cash crops for their daily needs. There was general food insecurity in the state in particular and the region in general.
Hundreds of houses were burnt to ashes with foodstuffs and other valuables worth billions of Naira destroyed by the bandits.
” The economy of the state was devastated by the crisis. This is in addition to the proliferation of both light and heavy weapons, with a high influx of bandits from the neighbouring countries, with no solution in sight. The crisis defied all forms of solution.
” This is in addition to a large number of bandits camps across the state and beyond. At least there are almost one hundred (100) different bandit camps with no fewer than 300 bandits in each of these camps having sophisticated weapons with them.
” Coupled with the shortage of manpower in the security sector and a very poor intelligence network. Yet, the governor must ensure the protection of the lives and property of the people.
” Gentleman of the press, it is against this background that when the government of Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun came on board, it decided to summon special stakeholders meeting comprising members of the state Assembly, Traditional Rulers, Security Chiefs in the state, Local Council Chairmen, the Council of Ulamas, Fulani and Yansakai leaders, Community and Opinion Leaders, and other critical stakeholders to discuss on the way forward to bring lasting peace in the state.
” The meeting resolved at adopting the ongoing peace process, leading to the setting up of a special committee under the chairmanship of the state Commissioner of Police.
” Now tell me, which is the best option for the governor? To fold his arms to watch his people being killed or to go for dialogue and continue to use the repentant bandits to convince the recalcitrant bandits to save the lives of the governed?”