Zamfara: Why We are Negotiating with Bandits

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Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto

Zamfara State Government has said it would continue to negotiate with bandits operating in the state untill peace fully returns to the state.

The state Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar stated this in his office at Gusau, the state capital at the weekend.

According to Abubakar , the talks between government and bandits have been yielding positive results with the release of a number of people held captive by the bandits on several occasions.

“We are making progress and have achieved much in the reconciliation as many gunmen and their leaders are accepting to put down their weapons.

“Before now, hardly a day passed without Zamfara making a headline of daily or multiple attacks by armed bandits, especially in the rural areas,” the commissioner said.

He disclosed that as part of efforts to sustain this peace initiative, the state government had held three townhall meetings with security agencies, vigilante groups, civilian joint task force , Myetti Allah Association and all major stakeholders with a view to reconciling and healing the past wounds.

He said with these meetings, the Fulani people were able to go to the markets, ceremonies and any place they desired without fear of being harassed as before.

He further disclosed that government has put some machinery in place to rehabilitate and resettle repentant bandits.

According to him, the state government has provided 500 hectares of land in major Fulani settlements where special varieties of fodder would be planted for grazing of their livestocks.

He also said schools and health facilities as well as portable water would be provided in all Fulani settlements across the state.

Abubakar further divulged that the state government has started building Ruga settlement in the three Senatoral districts with a components of schools, veterinary clinic, markets , watering points, mosque, one-bedroom and two-bedroom housing units.

He added that money would be given to repentant bandits to start a new life

He averred that since the commencement of the peace initiative, 525 kidnapped victims have been unconditionally released by their captives, with over 100 AK-47 riffles , 770 rounds of 7.62MM ammunition, 120 assorted guns, and 1, 500 rustled cattle were surrendered by bandits, and Yankassai vigilantes