By Ed Malik, A | November 8, 2022
Leading civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Tuesday, slammed Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, for his government’s alleged aiding and abetting banditry, kidnapping and sundry crimes in the North-West State through the patronizing carrot approach that the government has adopted to dealing with the bandit kingpins.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the security situation in Zamfara has so worsened that bandits operate freely in the State, kidnapping scores and terrorizing defenceless and unprotected citizens, to the extent of now imposing taxes on them and making demands for food and ransom payment from hapless citizens.
The group said Matawalle has failed the people as the chief security officer of the State and does not deserve to be remembered on the positive pages of history going by the ceaseless abductions recorded in Zamfara State, which is a major connecting transit point to other far Northern States.
Recall that bandits on Monday freed five children of a former Accountant General of Zamfara State, Abubakar Bello Furfuri, after spending five months and one day in their enclave.
Just on Monday, bandits also kidnapped Muhammad Galadima, the district head of Kwangami village and six others in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara.
In October, 27 persons were kidnapped from Kawa, Gwashi, Tungar Rogo, and Anka towns in the Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of the state were said to have regained freedom after grueling weeks in the den of their abductors.
In September, bandits kidnapped an unspecfied number of worshippers observing Friday Jummat prayers in Zugu town of Bukkuyum Local Government Area in Zamfara.
While the State government did not admit that it paid ransom to secure the release of the victims, many families and parents have been outspoken in their ordeal to ransom-mongering bandits who have enslaved the people of the State and turned it to a thriving industry under Matawalle government, with no effective plan to end the scourge, as there seem to be an ascendency in the activities of the marauders.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Governor Bello Matawalle is to be blamed for these incessant attacks by bandits because, for a long time, his administration lies in bed with bandits through illegal and counterproductive peace deals and amnesty programs. What deal does a State governor has to make with killers and bloodsucking demons but to crush them through the instrumentality of the state in collaboration with security agencies, queried the rights group?
“Matawalle’s sins are many and crimson and Nigerians are painstakingly taking a catalogue of it for posterity to judge the crass insensitivity and callousness of the prese t administration in Zamfara State towards the plight of residents of Zmafara.
“For instance, in April 2022, despite frequently blaming traditional rulers in the state for aggravating the security and humanitarian crisis in the state, Matawalle distributed 260 luxury cars to these traditional rulers.
“In July, under the nose of the state government, the Emir of Sabon Birnin Yandoto of Tsafe local government area of the state, Aliyu Garba Marafa, turbaned a notorious repentant bandits’ leader, Adamu Aliero, as Sarkin Fulani (leader of Fulani).
“Like controversial Islamic cleric and bandit-sympathizer, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Matawalle and his Katsina State counterpart, Aminu Masari, have been pictured many times receiving so-called repentant bandits who supposedly laid down their arms then returned to it after collecting cash and other gifts from the governments.
“In February 2021, Matawalle said negotiation with bandits is not a sign of failure on the part of government but one of the ways of ensuring peace in the society.
“In August 2022, the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Hassan Nasiha announced that notorious bandit kingpin, Bello Turji, has embraced the peace initiative of the state government and therefore granted amnesty. What a scandal!
“Matawalle also granted so called amnesty deal to Auwal Daudawa, who was accused of spearheading the abduction of over 300 schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State. However, like a dog going back to its vomit, Daudawa went back to his heinous trade and met his waterloo in the forest during a superiority fight with a rival gang in the forest of Zamfara.
“Yet, Matawalle’s administration continues to grandstand and commune with terrorists and bandits under the guise of extending an olive branch.
“HURIWA condemns this despicable and soft approach of the government of Matawalle. Criminals are to be crushed by the might and firepower of the State’ security apparatchiks and not to be encouraged or pampered in whatever ways after killing and abducting thousands in the State.
“Also, the Armed forces must show Nigerians proof that what they tell us as success in terminating and decimating terrorists isn’t a wishy-washy propaganda laced with falsehoods”, stressed the group.