Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has criticised the All Progressives Congress, APC, for accusing him of sponsoring banditry in the North-western part of the country.
Recall that on the heels of the abduction of hundreds of students of the Government Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State, the APC, in a veiled reference to Mr Matawalle, had accused a PDP governor of masterminding banditry in the North-West.
Reacting, the governor, through a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Zailani Bappa, described the allegation as unfounded, saying the party’s accusations are becoming one too many.
According to him, it is surprising how he would be accused of sponsoring banditry after dedicating his precious time and efforts in the last 100 hours to ensure the release of the abducted schoolboys.
He said: “This is incidentally a similar statement credited to the Katsina State Governor Hon Aminu Bello Masari sometimes ago when in a similar effort, Governor Matawalle rescued 26 innocent girls abducted by bandits in Faskari Local Government Area of the same Katsina State.”
Setting the record straight, the governor said: “It is a known fact that Zamfara State under the APC was the worst hit in terms of banditry in the North-west until the coming of Governor Bello Mohammed on board.
“His peace initiatives, which is in tandem with proven records in history across the globe as a viable and necessary option to ending guerilla warfare and similar menace of its kind, is hated and rejected by those who fail or lack the capacity to implement it with honesty, resilience and tact.
“Today, Zamfara state is more peaceful than most of its neighbours because Governor Bello Mohammed has been honest in the approach, a path which could have been the final solution to the problem the region is facing.
“It is very uncharitable due political differences to attribute the semblance of peace enjoyed in Zamfara state to criminality of harbouring the bandits to terrorise neighbouring States.
“It is heart-warming to note that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari is quite in tune with every step being taken by Governor Matawalle and has more than once, commended him for the measures he’s been taking to end banditry in the state.
“Governor Bello Mohammed wishes to inform the General public that his “carrot and Stick” approach to dealing with the bandits has succeeded in the recent past by settling with those who accepted the deal and has dealt with the recalcitrant ones leading to the elimination of over 300 bandits in only two months.
“It is therefore, ignorance or mischief to attribute the Zamfara forests as safe haven for criminals. It is also an unfortunate and indirect indictment of the Nigerian Military which is in control of the Federal Government.
“Governor Matawalle wishes to also call on all stakeholders, especially those of the region, to join hands together and find a lasting solution to the problem at hand instead of the blame game which is totally diversionary and counter-productive.”