Zamfara Concerned Citizens Accuse Ex-Gov Matawalle of Aiding Banditry During His Tenure

Zamfara Concerned Citizens Accuse Ex-Gov Matawalle of Aiding Banditry During His Tenure

A Zamfara group, Concerned Citizens for Peace, Security and Development, has called on government and anti-corruption agencies in the country to look into  activities of the immediate past Governor of Zamfara  State,  Bello Mohammed Matawalle, during his tenure.

The group said, “we call on the security agencies and anti-corruption commissions to, as a matter of urgency, arrest, investigate, and prosecute the former Governor of Zamfara  or hand him over to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to answer for his (alleged) heinous crimes against humanity.”

“We have it on good authority that the Governor may have  perfected a plan to exit the country in order to evade arrest and prosecution days after the inauguration of  Bola Tinubu as President.”

The group in a statement signed by its Secretary, Abdullahi Sani Anka, said since 2020, they have followed the rise and trajectory of banditry especially in parts of the North West,  comprising  Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states with a special focus on Zamfara State, which has undoubtedly remained the epicentre of banditry in Nigeria.

He said, “we have equally x-rayed Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle’s peace accord and its attendant achievements or otherwise since his assumption of office in 2019. 

“In a twist of event, we have uncovered a strong collaboration between state officials including traditional rulers and security agents with bandits.

“The peace accords the former Governor paraded as his major achievement was nothing but a high-wired deception to divert attention from the real issues behind the root cause of banditry, its sponsors, and enablers. 

“You may recall sometime in 2009, the Governor set up a fact-finding committee on the remote and immediate causes of banditry to unravel actors, agents, and triggers of the banditry. 

“The committee was constituted and headed by a former Inspector-General of Police, MD Abubakar, other members of the committee included Senator Saidu Dansadau, Dr. Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, among others. 

“The committee has since concluded its reports and submitted same to the former Governor with far-reaching recommendations including but not limited to dethroning of some indicted Emirs, District Heads, and Village Heads. 

“Some other recommendations included dismissal and decommissioning of some security agents found to have aided banditry in one way or the other. 

“But, the reports never saw the light of day because those indicted had allegedly threatened to expose the role of some government officials  in the escalation of banditry in the state.

“The committee further recommended the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to address all forms of banditry in Zamfara State.

“However, three  years after the submission of the reports, then Governor Bello Matawalle  turned a blind eye as he neither set up a judicial commission nor implemented  any of the recommendations of the MD Abubakar’s committee report.” 

The group alleged that the former governor allegedly used the peace accord to get into the good books of President Muhammadu Buhari and through an effective media suppression strategy that involved financial inducement and the instigation of transfer of journalists whose conscience could not be bought over. 

“The resurgence of banditry in Zamfara State is on a scale never witnessed before his assumption of office as thousands of refugees wander in parts of Zamfara State with no one to cater for them.

“Matawalle’s strategy had empowered and emboldened bandits to carry more heinous crimes against humanity in the way and manner he related with them through regular phone calls and monetary and vehicular gifts to bandits’ kingpins operating in Zamfara State.

“Until recently it was alleged that one of the notorious bandits’ kingpins allegedly housed in a 4-bedroom apartment at the Zamfara State Government House. The apartment is called Kebbi House where he allegedly stayed for about two years,” the group alleged.

The group also alleged that during the Jangebe school girls’ abduction, Governor Matawalle through the help of some of the bandits’ leaders doled out over N100 million to the abductors and emissaries with hundreds of bags of rice, jerry cans of palm oil and groundnut oil and other assorted food items to several bandits’ camps as a means of pacifying them. 

The group lamented that during the administration of Governor Matawalle, payment for ransom was instituted  as a state policy, especially as hundreds of ransom payments were handled through the Government House and the Ministry of Security and Home Affairs.

 “In 2019 and 2020 the Governor gifted many assorted vehicles ranging from Volkswagen Golf saloons and Sharon buses to Toyota Hilux to different bandits’ kingpins within and outside Zamfara State,” the group alleged.

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