• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

“They don’t show up when needed”, Zamfara governor laments police, military’s attitude to banditry

Bandits steal 73 cows belonging to Chief Imam in Kaduna

Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State expressed concern over the police and military response to banditry ravaging his state and the entire North West.

He attributed the formation of the Community Protection Guards by his administration in January to the lack of action from federal security agencies.

The governor stated this during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday, lamenting the absence of security personnel when needed. He also noted political factors influencing security issues in the state.

“We, as governors, don’t have control over the military, we don’t have control over the police as well as the civil defence. In most cases, we get frustrated.

“When you need these people, they are nowhere to be found and the best thing to do is to set up that kind of security outfit,” he stated.

Lawal said that with decisive action, the state could address banditry within two weeks, but such action is missing. He believes negotiations with bandits have been counterproductive and has ruled out further talks.

“Sometimes, when you’re really helpless. When you need them (security agents), they are not there. Even when they are there, they are given certain instructions on what to do and not what to do.

“In two weeks, we can take care of the situation but the political will are not there. We know who they (bandits) are. We know where they live. It’s just that there is no political will,” Lawal said.

The governor accused unnamed political foes of unauthorised negotiations with bandits. He acknowledged knowing some negotiators’ identities and has sought assistance from service chiefs, but to no avail.

“At a point, I had to really come and say it clearly because when we are trying to take care of the situation, somebody somewhere is negotiating with the bandits without my knowledge,” he lamented.

Lawal described Zamfara as the hub of banditry in Nigeria, suggesting that resolving issues there would significantly impact the northern region.

“Zamfara State has become the hub of banditry in Nigeria. If you are able to take care of Zamfara today, you have solved more than 90% issues in northern Nigeria as a whole,” he said.

Regarding the role of his predecessor, Bello Matawalle, who is now the minister of state for defence in addressing the crisis, Lawal said, “It is always interesting when this Minister of Defence thing comes up. Yeah, he is Minister of State, Defence, but of what benefit to us? Just about few weeks ago, bandits went to his hometown, killed many people, what has he done about it? Yes, we have Minister of Defence but of what benefit to Zamfara State?”