From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Zamfara State governor, Bello Mohammed Matawalle has called on individual, nongovernmental organisations to assist over 700,000 persons dislodged from their homes by bandits dated back to the immediate past administration.
Matawalle said, “I hold the belief that lots of you sympathize with the people of Zamfara considering the bad stories bordering on cruel acts perpetrated by some unpatriotic, inhumane Nigerians against their brothers and sisters. Killing, maiming, kidnapping and demand for ransom, rape, cattle rustling and other cruel acts then, remain the order of the day in Zamfara State”.
Speaking through his Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara and the Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs, Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe at a press conference on Sunday in Kaduna, the governor noted payment of ransom to secure the release of innocent victims, amounting to billions of naira was a cog in the wheel of uplifting the State and its people higher.
He said his administration has recruited 4,200 Community Protection Guards (CPG), comprising of ex-servicemen, volunteer able bodied men and other patriotic citizens to support security operatives to confront bandits in their enclaves, with a view to curtailing the menace.
“The unwholesome acts of bandits consequently created yet another problem of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who left their homes looking for a safe haven in major towns and villages. Women, children from almost all nooks and crannies of the state were compelled to migrate, sometime to a strange location and strange people leaving all their belongings behind.
“Obviously, these people need the help and assistance of every one. In this regard, Zamfara state government has created the State Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which is saddled with the responsibilities to take good care of all IDPs as well as people affected as a result of banditry, natural or any other disaster. The ministry has been up and doing to assist victims of both man made and natural disasters in the state.
“The Humanitarian Ministry has established 8 centres across Zamfara state to take care of the over 700,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Zamfara state. Each of the 14 local government areas of the state currently has emergency relief desk officers shouldering the responsibilities of assisting the IDP in their respective local government.
“In addition to provision of food items, clothing, bed, mattresses etc by the state government, the Ministry appreciates the untiring efforts of the international donor agencies in this regard. These donor agencies complement the efforts of the state government through cash transfer to our IDP’s ranging from N30,000 to N40,000 periodically to these victims. The federal government too has been committing huge sum in this regard.
“The Zamfara state government remains grateful to all who contributes in relieving the worries of these innocent people across the state.
“As the adage goes “teach a man how to catch fish is better than to give him fish”, the Zamfara state government through the Ministry for Humanitarian has embarked on training some of the victims of the banditry on skills acquisition programmes, bordering on tailoring, barbing saloon, pure water making and providing Keke-Nafef to some beneficiaries.
“It may also interest you to note, inspite of the enormous security challenges confronting the government, other critical sectors of the state economy are not left behind government efforts to better the lots of the people.
“I will use this opportunity to plead to even the bandits themselves, people across Zamfara state to note that Zamfara is our state and our home. Zamfara needs the contribution of all to develop it and no state, country or even community can develop without peace. Vulcanization of Zamfara tantamount to destroying our homes and future.
“The government also recruited 4,200 Community Protection Guards (CPG), comprising of our ex-servicemen, volunteer able bodied men and other patriotic citizens with Zamfara state at their heart, to support our security operatives to confront these bandits in their enclaves, with a view to curtailing the menace.
“It may interest you to know that these 4,200 CPGs have already commenced the basic training and are now collaborating with our security operatives chasing the bandits.
“At the initial dialogue with the bandits or peace reconciliation with the bandits, there was a relative peace as majority of the bandits succumbed to the peace process with few who turned down the request of the government to down arms. Those few turned to be thorn in the flesh, still causing mayhem, blood birth, kidnapping etc of the innocent Zamfara citizenry.
“The boycott of the source of supplies of the bandits no doubt created serious pressure against them forcing others to flee to neighbouring states. Yet others among them surrendered their weapons voluntarily and pronounced dumping bandit activities.
“Unknown to many Nigerians, bandits apart, there are some unpatriotic, conflict entrepreneurs politicians hell bent to sabotage peace process out of their selfish desire either to gain power or to deter the successes of His Excellency, inconsiderate of the consequences of their action to Zamfara state and its citizenry.
“Coming to the crux of the matter, I wish to announce that Insha-Allah soon Zamfara state will regain back its lost glory as one of the states in forefront as the most peaceful states in the federation. It may interest you all to note that there is relative peace in almost all the northern part of the state, with some few skirmishes here and there. I hold the belief that to succeed 100% in making crime-free state will never be a one day affair. The government and people of Zamfara are nowadays very hopeful as peace returns back to our community gradually.
“To buttress this claim, recently the Zamfara state government hosted a mammoth crowd in Gusau, the state capital from within and outside the state who came and lived in Gusau for a week without a single act of banditry against our visitors. Similar ceremony where the daughter of a prominent politician in Gusau got married to another prominent personality in Abuja with heavy turn-out from people across all states of the federation. Interestingly, and Alhamdulillah not a single visitor was victimized either on his way coming or going back to his destination.
“In a nutshell, peace is gradually returning back to our dear state. We remain very grateful to the Almighty Allah (SWT) and continue to seek for his support and intervention. The Zamfara state government will never forget the untiring efforts of the federal government’s moral and material supports, the supports of our traditional rulers, imams and Islamic scholars, politicians, civil servants, military and paramilitary officers, vigilante groups etc who contributed immensely in one way or the other to attain this feat”. He said.