From Fred Itua, Abuja
Zamfara State Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle explained on Tuesday his role in the negotiations that led to the release of the over 300 schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State, last week.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, the Governor revealed that the schoolboys were released in Zamfara State before they were moved to Katsina State, where they were received by officials of Government.
The Governor spoke while reacting to claims made by the acting spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, where he alleged that Matawalle was sponsoring banditry in the North West.
Matawalle said repentant bandits were contacted, who in turn, played a major role in the negotiations and the eventual release of the boys.
‘As soon as the boys were kidnapped, we stepped in. We reached out to repentant bandits in the State. Negotiations were made and that was how they were released. They were released in Zamfara before the boys were moved to Katsina,’ the Governor revealed.
The Governor, while speaking on banditry in Zamfara State, said until he assumed office, over 7,000 civilians were killed by bandits in eight years. He thousands were kidnapped freely.
He said: ‘Before I came on board as the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, over seven thousand people were killed in such crisis and a dozen of hundreds of others were kidnapped by bandits within the 8 years of my predecessor.
‘Records have also shown that almost a million cattle and related animals were rustled by bandits in the State. Property and farm produce worth billions of Naira belonging to innocent citizens were either destroyed, vandalised or carted away by these criminals.
‘All these calamities and catastrophic consequences occurred in the hands of the APC government that ruled Zamfara State for almost a decade.
‘However, between May 29th, 2019 when I took over the leadership of the State to date, I rescued more than 2,000 kidnapped victims from their abductors. I collected over a thousand weapons from both the bandits and the members of the vigilante groups operating in the State.
‘It is also worth noting here that, for almost two years of my administration now, Zamfara State has not recorded such number of deaths, as was the case before my administration when hundreds of innocent people were been massacred almost on daily basis.’