The Governor of Zamfara State, Muhammed Matawalle on Sunday warned that the banditry activities in the North may tarry if the leaders in the region failed to address its root cause.
He also clarified that the much talked about mining in Zamfara was not responsible for bandits as many were made to believe as the bandit’s activities in Shinkafi and Zurmi local government areas remain the hotbed even when there are no mining activities in these local councils.
Matawalle spoke in Kaduna while presenting a lead paper titled, “The Fight Against Banditry in Northwest Nigeria: Challenges and Solutions” during the inauguration of the new executives of Arewa Media Writers Association, held at Kabir Gymnasium.
Represented by the Commissioner for Information, Zamfara State, Alh Ibrahim Magaji, the governor said, his administration had put a lot of efforts in place to rid the state of bandits.
According to him, “when I took office on May 29th, 2019, Zamfara State had already been mired in a serious security crisis for over a decade, marked by banditry, livestock rustling, kidnapping, and a host of other crimes. On an almost daily basis, the State was in the news for bloodletting, fire, pillage, and significant displacement of people, particularly those living in rural areas.
“The historical economic, social and cultural ties between the dominant communities of Fulani and Hausa were ruptured; farming
activities across the State were halted, and commercial activities were crippled.
“With poverty on the increase and food security seriously affected by the crisis, the State was on the verge of a catastrophic social eruption capable of destabilising our communities and the northwest subregion.
“Rural banditry in Zamfara and other parts of the North, in my opinion, is a result of the progressive degradation of our moral
standards and a culture of greed fed by an unfettered need for material goods.
“It is evident, therefore, that we, the leaders, are responsible for the plight of the North.
The North lacks responsible leadership to
steer it through our time’s uncharted waters.
“Our ruling elite has no vision for the region beyond gaining political power. We have all seen how the elites in the Southeast and Southwest respond in unison to all matters concerning their regions’ development.
“We have seen how they have a defined agenda and are relentless in their pursuit of
regional development”, he said.
The governor highlighted reluctance by the affected states to embrace peace dialogue, lack of support from a section of politicians that wish to take advantage of the situation to achieve political ends as top challenges slowing down his peace efforts in the region.
He however concluded that unless the region wakes up, the war against banditry will remain a significant security challenge that has the potential to swallow the region and the country with the level of unfathomable destruction the bandits are wreaking on the people and economy.
“This is a siren appeal to leaders of the region to wake up from their lethargy and unite in combating this grave challenge. We need to get to the roots of the situation, stop politicising it and act decisively”, he said.