Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara on Wednesday met with officials of the Fulani umbrella body, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, in his push to end banditry and kidnappings in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Fulani are largely blamed for the continuing banditry in the state and have been declared persona non grata in some communities.
Mr Matawalle said that the meeting was at the instance of President Muhammad Buhari who directed that all stakeholders be engaged in the search for end of the criminality.
“You know, I met with President Muhammad Buhari recently over security challenges facing the state.
“Part of the promise I made to Mr President is to meet and discuss with stakeholders on how to end banditry activities in the state, so I m complying with Mr President directives over his concern to the people in this state.
“The security challenges in Zamfara is my concern even before I became a governor, I thank Allah for giving me the oppurtunity to lead this state.
“It is very unfortunate; Fulanis were known to be a peace loving, there was good relationship with fulani, and any law abiding fulani today is not happy with what is happening in Zamfara and other parts of the country.
“Some bad elements among us are fond of smearing the image of the fulanis. As I heard in some towns in this state, fulanis cannot come out, so we want to stop that, we want to carry every one along.”
The governor said all responsible Fulani people must help to “restore back their culture of peace, stability, tolerance and understanding.
“As I said during my inauguration, I will not allow extra judicial killings in this state. I promise to do justice to everyone and ensure maintenance of law and order.
“We are presenting a bill on death penalty to the state House of Assembly against bandits and their informants.
“I have the plan to import grass seeds from China to be given to fulanis to enhance feeds for their animals.
“I have various plans to address security challenges in this state through various economic and social services.
“We are going to provide infrastructures to fulani herders in the state such as hospitals, schools and roads among others.
“I declare free education and health care in the state, I have plans to provide rural roads for all rural dwellers, but without peace there is nothing we can do.”, the governor said.
He therefore urged MACABAN to work with the government in seeing to the fruition of the government programmes and in engaging the bandits to repent.
The MACBAN National President, Muhammad Kiruwa, appealed to the state government to involve its members in to Civilian Joint Task Force and Vigilante groups in the state.
Kiruwa who thanked the state government for organising the meeting, promised to support the initiative in order to address the security challenges facing the state.
According to him, insecurity had affected all the tribes in the state, “whether Fulani or Hausa we are all affected as a result of this ugly trend”.
“MACBAN as law-abiding association is ever ready to partner with all stakeholders in addressing the security challenges facing the state.
“We have been up and doing during previous administration together with the state government Peace, Reconciliation and Disarmament committee led by the former deputy governor, Malam Ibrhim Wakkala which resulted to various successes.
“Despite the successes recorded, the move failed to address the situation due to some challenges”, he said.
He added: “We appreciate the state government for reengaging us in this task, we are ready to support government and security outfits in the state towards addressing the challenges.
“We want fulani members to be involved in the Civilian JTF and vigilante group in the state so that every tribe will be involved in the work against banditry and criminal activities.
“Our members should be given fair treatment in all activities of government, we suffered a lot from extra judicial killings especially in the rural communities.
“We are appealing to the state government to extend some of its projects to our communities,” he said.