Chuks Okocha and Deji Elumoye in Abuja
A former presidential adviser to the late President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, and some prominent Northerners have mounted pressure on the Zamfara State Governor, Mr. Bello Matawalle, to name those behind the killings in the state by revealing their identity to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor had a fortnight ago said that Nigerians would be shocked if he disclosed the names of those behind the violence in the state.
Speaking exclusively to THISDAY at the weekend, Yakassai said: “I hope he is not trying to blackmail some people. This is because as a governor if he knows people behind the insecurity in the state, why is he keeping quiet?
“As the chief security officer of the state, he should be worried about the level of insecurity in the state. Why is he keeping quiet? He should come up or talk to the president who is the Commander-in-Chief. He should confide in the president; even the president is not happy with what is happening.”
Yakassai urged the governor to give the details about the alleged sponsors to Buhari, so that the president should know how to handle the matter.
According to him, nobody is happy over the killing, and it will be an indictment on the president if the violence continues.
“He should confide in the president or whoever that can help solve this problem. The president is eager to solve this problem than anybody else. It is more of a serious indictment on the president than the governor because the governor has no security control under him. The president is the Commander-in-Chief,” he said.
Also, two other top Northerners who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter called on the governor to speak out as the violence is getting out of hand.
One of them, a former governor, said: “In the overall interest of the state and security, he should speak if he is aware of those behind the killings. He is the chief security officer. He should open up if he is aware of those behind the violence. He should speak up before the violence gets out of hand.”
Also, a former minister, who didn’t want to be named, urged the governor to speak out if he has no intention of blackmailing political opponents.
“What is the governor waiting for? If he is sure of those behind the violence, if he cannot speak out publicly, he can confide in the president who is the Commander-in-Chief.”
Meanwhile, some Zamfara State elders have endorsed Matawalle’s efforts at addressing the security challenges in the state.
They have also kicked against last week’s declaration of the state as a no-fly zone by the federal government, as well as the indefinite ban on mining activities, stressing that the governor is in the best position to talk about the security challenges in the state.
A cross-section of the Zamfara political stakeholders who spoke to THISDAY at the weekend, commended the efforts taken so far by the governor to tackle headlong the security problems facing the state.
Those who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity stated that the governor should be given kudos for the way he has tackled banditry since he assumed office.
According to them, Matawalle is in a better position to talk about the security situation in the state than the presidency.
They also condemned the indefinite ban on mining activities in the state.
One of the elders and a prominent politician said the elders were on the same page with the governor on security.
He said: “We have it on good authority that the governor was always in touch with the presidency over the security issues facing the state. So, it was even surprising to our governor when the federal government took those decisions because even as of the morning of that announcement, the governor was still in touch with the presidency.
“What do you expect Governor Matawalle to do? He was caught off guard because he believed he had briefed the president adequately about happenings in his state. He doesn’t necessarily need to be physically present in Aso Rock to brief the president; there are various communication means to reach the presidency.”
One of the elders advised the federal government to revisit the steps taken so far to address the security issues facing the state “because it is not as bad as being painted outside the state.”
The stakeholders pledged support for Matawalle in his moves to tackle the security challenges facing the state.