*As APC Presidential Aspirant donates N50m to Zamfara victims
By IBRAHIM KANOMA, Gusau
Governor of Zamfara State, Hon. Mohammed Bello, Matawallen Maradun, has thanked the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for coming to check him and his people following recent bandit attacks in the state.
The governor was particularly appreciative of the APC presidential aspirant for finding the time to visit the state to commiserate with the people over the attacks which left 58 persons dead in some communities of Anka and Bukkuyum Local Government Areas.
While receiving Tinubu and his entourage at the Government House, Gusau, Governor Bello Matawalle described him as a doyen of contemporary Nigerian politics, dedicated leader and a bridge builder, who has spent the past 23 years of democracy in the nation fostering unity, nurturing and raising individuals, who have equally distinguished themselves in various spheres of human endeavour.
The governor also noted that, “since the sad incident of attacks in Anka and Bukkuyum Local Government areas, we’ve been inundated with messages and visitations from all over the country. The sympathy visit by this political colossus, a towering personality and leader in many fields of human endeavour, will further console the bereaved communities and the entire people of the State.”
Commenting on the prevailing insecurity in the state, the Matawallen Maradun said, the problem of banditry in Zamfara state has persisted for over a decade now, noting that on assuming office in 2019, he made it an utmost priority to address the issue as no meaningful development could be achieved in an atmosphere of insecurity.
Considering the reality that the conflict is tied to ethnic fault lines, Governor Bello Matawalle said he initiated a reconciliation programme which leaders of thought overwhelmingly accepted all over the state.
As a result of the programme of dialogue and reconciliation, hostilities ceased for a period of over nine months. Also, hundreds of kidnapped persons were unconditionally released by their captors.
The disarmament process, he said, started the glorious era of brotherliness, love, and mutual coexistence among all segments of the community and for the first time in more than a decade, the annual Fulani festival of Sharu was held in Gusau in 2019.
He explained that the effort by his administration to end banditry ravaging the state started yielding positive result but that it was, however, a bad news for some self-serving politicians to see the menace curtailed.
According to the governor, “such self-serving politicians, whose stock in trade is inciting violence and sowing discontent in our communities as was evident in their media interviews and remarks at various events. They, therefore, perfected plans to sabotage the peace process. In some cases, security reports have fingered them as having direct involvement in the planning and execution of kidnapping, ostensibly to embarrass the government.”
In a statement by Press Secretary to the Governor, Jamilu Iliyasu Birnin Magaji, governor Bellow, who is Shattiman Sokoto, further, said “the same crop of politicians will always try to paint a gloomy picture of the situation in Zamfara, often by exaggerating the figures of casualty in the event of attacks.”
For instance, he cited, based on the figures confirmed leaders when he visited the affected communities after the recent attacks, a total of 58 people were officially confirmed by both the security and Emirs to have lost their lives in contrast with the outrageous figures being brandished in the media by the opposition, who chose to play politics with the lives lost.
In furtherance of the government intervention, Governor Matawalle noted that under the dialogue process, the state government have also been committing enormous resources in the provision of logistics and allowances for the security forces.
These include, among others, the procurement and distribution of 200 brand new Hilux pickups for the security forces barely a few months after his swearing-into office in 2019.
Similarly, with the escalation of the situation in recent months, he stated that the government adopted more stringent measures, including the shutting down of telecommunication networks for four months as essentially doing everything within to bring the sad chapter in the history of the state to a close.
He assured that these measures will continue with dedication and stronger vigour until the the state is fully secured.
“As we get closer to 2023, we will be more vigilant and proactive, knowing that these destabilising forces are not likely to tone down their antics. They may continue to plot nefarious schemes in order to obtain political gains,” he noted.
The governor, on behalf of the government of Zamfara State, thanked Senator Tinubu for taking time to visit and commiserating with the state, praying Allah to richly reward him and fulfill his desire for building a strong bond among Nigerians across all the divides.
Earlier in his address, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu said he was in Zamfara State to commiserate with his brother, Governor Matawalle and the entire people of the state, describing the governor as a bridge builder, bold, and capable, whose leadership acumen to lead in challenging times are unquantifiable, promising to support him and security forces in their efforts to rid the state of the bedevilling insecurity.
While donating N50 million to the victims of the attacks, the APC leader, who was accompanied by the former Governor of Borno state, Senator Kashim Shetima, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, among others, commended President Muhammadu Buhari on his support and resilience to bring to history kidnapping, banditry and other security threats in various parts of the country.