Zamfara State governor, Bello Mohammed Matawalle has told how over N900 million was paid to bandits in eight years by the state government.
He also asserted that there are 30,000 bandits in different camps in Zamfara and neighbouring states’ forests. The state shares borders with Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger and Katsina states.
Governor Matawalle disclosed this via his Information Commissioner, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, yesterday, at a press conference held in Kaduna.
The governor explained that the bandits killed 2, 619 persons and kidnapped 1,190 between 2011 and 2019 while over 100,000 people were displaced from their homes.
This is in addition to the hundreds of houses that were burned to ashes with foodstuffs and other valuables worth billions of Naira destroyed by the bandits.
He lamented that Zamfara’s forest alone harbours over 4,000 bandits without enough security forces to withstand their firepower.
“The economy of the state was devastated by the crisis. This is in addition to the proliferation of both light and heavy weapons, with a high influx of bandits from the neighbouring countries, with no solution in sight. The crisis defied all forms of solution.
“This is in addition to a large number of bandits camps across the state and beyond. At least there are almost one hundred (100) different bandit camps with no fewer than 300 bandits in each of these camps having sophisticated weapons with them.
“Coupled with the shortage of manpower in the security sector and a very poor intelligence network. Yet, the governor must ensure the protection of the lives and property of the people.
“Now tell me, which is the best option for the governor? To fold his arms to watch his people being killed or to go for dialogue and continue to use the repentant bandits to convince the recalcitrant bandits to save the lives of the governed?”