From Mohammed Munirat Nasir, Gusau
Zamfara state governor, Dr Bello Mohammed Matawalle has attacked his Katsina state counterpart, Aminu Bello Masari and the All Progressives Congress, APC over their comments on the abduction of school pupils from Katsina State.
The APC had in a statement accused a Northwest state governor of funding bandits in the region without mentioning Matawalle’s name. But a statement by the governor’s Special Adviser, Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications, Zailani Bappa decried the statement by the APC describing it as an attempt to cause confusion in the polity.
“Governor Matawalle, who has dedicated the whole of his precious time and efforts in the last 100 hours to ensure the release of these innocent children was taken aback when immediately after their release, a statement in the media credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC accuses him of harbouring bandits who terrorise the North-west.
“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.
“Although Governor Bello Mohammed has resisted temptation to join issues with anyone on these developments, the unfounded accusations are becoming one too many. To correct this jaundiced perception, therefore, the records need to be straightened once and for all.
“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 heartwarming 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.
“Govern of 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 counterproductive,” he said.