Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has assured that the state government, in collaboration with all the security agencies, would not rest on its oars until all abducted Zamfara citizens are rescued from their captives in the state.
The governor gave the assurance in a statement on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Zailani Bappa, in response to a newspaper report which claimed that the state government was not doing enough to fight banditry in the state.
The governor, however, frowned at the frequent payment of ransoms to kidnappers, saying that doing so “only encourages and empowers the bandits to acquire more arms to further terrorise the people”.
He said: “The government wishes to draw the attention of the General public that the fight against banditry must be a collective affair and that payments of ransoms must not be a priority, rather, the support to the security operatives to rescue abducted citizens must be.
“Payments of ransoms on selected victims by their respective families only encourage and empower the bandits to acquire more arms to further terrorise the people.”
“The Government wishes to assure the public that all those who have been abducted by bandits will be freed if the total support is granted to the security operatives,” the statement noted.
Mr Matawalle also dismissed the publication of The Punch which reported that some families of victims of banditry in the state were raising appeal funds to pay ransoms, “ostensibly to portray the inadequacies of Government and Security operatives in the fight against the bandits”.
He recalled that in the last few weeks, the operation of the Nigerian Air Force and the Army resulted in the wiping out of at least seven camps of bandits in the forests and the rescuing of over100 abductees after the killing more than 100 bandits in the operations.
“It is, therefore, advised that all citizens, especially families of abductees, should give their total support to the Government and security operatives in their efforts at finding a lasting solution to the security challenges facing the state,” the governor stressed.