The Governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, has said that there are no fewer than 30, 000 bandits operating in the North, even as N970 million has so far been paid in ransom to rescue victims in the last eight years.
The governor said that within the same period, 2,619 people were killed, 1,190 others kidnapped and N970 million paid as ransom between 2011 and 2019 in the six northern states.
Governor Bello Matawalle, who spoke to news men today, April 2 in Kaduna, said that with about 6,000 soldiers in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto and Kebbi states to tackle over 30,000 bandits, it became imperative for him to find an enduring solution to the security challenges in his state hence, he resorted to dialogue with the bandits.
According to the governor, who spoke through his Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, with 14,378 animals rustled and over 100,000 people displaced within the eight years, the greatest challenge faced by his administration was insecurity.
“Before the coming of the present administration of Dr Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun on May 29, 2019, as the Governor of Zamfara state, Zamfara people were in a devastated state of dilemma and fear of the unknown due to rural banditry.
“Over 2,619 people were killed between 2011 and 2019. This is in addition to the 1,190 people kidnapped by the bandits. The records also show that the sum of N970 million was paid as ransom, while 14,378 animals were rustled within the period.
“With the coming of Governor Bello Matawalle drastic measures were put in place to control the situation. The peace and reconciliation process undertaken by the government has yielded positive result.
“At least, there are almost 100 different bandit camps with no fewer than 300 bandits in each of these camps having sophisticated weapons with them.
“This is coupled with the shortage of manpower in the security section.”