Gov Bello refused my advice to negotiate with bandits –Matawalle
The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has accused his Niger Stare counterpart, Abubakar Bello, of refusing to take his advice to negotiate with bandits in the state.
Matawalle, who made this remark on Wednesday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja, insisted that only negotiations with bandits by governors will bring an end to cases of criminality and kidnapping.
Matawalle added that negotiation was not a sign of weakness but part of peace efforts because he realised that not all bandits are criminals.
Matawalle who has been in the forefront of advocating for negotiations with bandits and giving them amnesty, further added:
“It (banditry) had been in Zamfara for almost eight years before I came. Following the dialogue I initiated with the bandits, Zamfara is now very calm.
“I have advised the Governor of Niger State to meet with all stakeholders and find out the root cause of the crisis so as to initiate dialogue and ensure reconciliation. But he refused to take my advice.
“That is the only way to achieve what I have been able to achieve in my state.
“Most of the criminals that caused trouble in Zamfara were not from my state. Two months ago, we had some repentant bandits who surrendered their weapons.
“One was from Yobe, two from Kaduna, two from Niger; so, you see, it is a gang.”
Matawalle also confirmed that talks were still ongoing with Bello concerning the situation in his state, disclosing that if his counterpartshould follow his footsteps, issues of banditry will be a thing of the past.