The governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, has made it clear that the combined forces of federal and State governments as well as the sister countries are determined to clean up bandits that have ravaged Northeastern part of Nigeria, vowing that there will be no more dialogue with them.
The governor, who spoke to news men today, Tuesday, shortly after an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, stressed that dialogue with the bandits will no longer take place during his second term, “because, I have done that three times but it did not work.”
He said that his State had resolved to collaborate with Katsina, and part of Niger Republic to curb banditry, adding that the problem has become a regional problem.
“Because, we are surrounded by forests. We have Kuyambana to Rugu down to Maradi Republic. The bandits are taking advantage of the fact that we are living like an Island because we a surrounded by forests from Sokoto we have Basuguma around, in Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Niger, we have Kuyambana Dansado forest there, in Katsina, we have Rugu and at South East of Zamfara where we have Maradi, we have forest there.”
The governor suggested that the military operations to flush out bandits should be carried out simultaneously because the affected areas are surrounded by a forest.
“The point is, when Katsina puts pressure on the bandits they will run into the forest in Zamfara, if Zamfara puts pressure on them, then to move to Minna or Birnin Gwari. So this is the issue, so there is need for collaboration.”
Governor Yari stressed the urgent need and importance of properly arming the soldiers fighting the bandits, adding: “we are definitely going to collaborate, especially since I am running on the last lap of my full tenure, I will ensure that in these months that is left, we will leave behind a peaceful state for the new administration that is coming in.
“The federal government has already given procurement contracts, inter-government transaction to the United States, China and other European countries. Recall that in 2017, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), approved $1 billion to support the federal government’s effort in equipping the security agencies. We believe the equipment will soon come into the country and it is our hope that the equipment will be used so that this worrying situation that we are will become history.
The governor insisted that dialogue with the bandits cannot longer work, saying that during the first dialogue, some of the team from the State: army, DSS, police and his chief security officer as well as some traditional rulers representatives were invited for dialogue.
According to him, during the dialogue, the government team discovered that the bandits were well armed.
“They are in control of the kind of weapons that the Command In Zamfara State does not have. “In one armory alone, they have over 500 AK47, we saw it. Our people were even given chance to take pictures. But when we said we will dialogue, offer amnesty, that they should surrender their arms, I can tell you till date we did not get up to 90 AK47. So, it is a deceit.
“That is why I said no more dialogue during my tenure. During dry season they will look for dialogue because they know the security can get access to anywhere in the forest and they have no place to hide. But when the rainy season comes and the forest becomes thicker, they will return to their normal practice.
“That is why I said there has to be show of force before anything else. I know that in any war, eventually you have to come to the table and dialogue but the situation we are right now sincerely speaking, dialogue is not needed at this point in time.”